The Romance of the Rose

The Romance of the Rose

by Guillaume de Lorris, A. S. Kline

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  • A translation into English by A. S. Kline
  • Published with illuminations, courtesy of the British Library

Jean de Meung (c1240-c1305) wrote a long continuation (dated to between 1268 and 1285 by internal references) to this, the original Roman de la Rose. Jean claimed that it had been conceived by Guillaume de Lorris (c1200?-c1240?) some forty years earlier. Guillaume, it is presumed, came from the village of Lorris, near Orléans, in France; otherwise nothing is known of his life. Clearly he was educated and literate, and therefore likely to have been of the minor aristocracy. He produced in this Romance a dream allegory of courtly love, in a poetic, reflective and elegant style, but his world-view is also shrewd, with his reflections on love partly derived from Ovid's Ars Amatoria: The Art of Love. Here Guillaume's work is allowed to stand free of the later work, as an epitome of the allegorical style and a fine development of the courtly tradition of 'fin amour'.

This and other texts available from Poetry in Translation.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940160930916
Publisher: Poetry in Translation
Publication date: 10/10/2019
Series: The Romance of the Rose & The Continuation , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 14 MB
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About the Author

Anthony Kline lives in England. He graduated in Mathematics from the University of Manchester, and was Chief Information Officer (Systems Director) of a large UK Company, before dedicating himself to his literary work and interests. He was born in 1947. His work consists of translations of poetry; critical works, biographical history with poetry as a central theme; and his own original poetry. He has translated into English from Latin, Ancient Greek, Classical Chinese and the European languages. He also maintains a deep interest in developments in Mathematics and the Sciences.

He continues to write predominantly for the Internet, making all works available in download format, with an added focus on the rapidly developing area of electronic books. His most extensive works are complete translations of Ovid's Metamorphoses and Dante's Divine Comedy.

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The Romance of the Rose 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
charlie68 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At times hard to read lots of long speeches and discourses. I find allegories at times tiring. This one though has a goodly share of wisdom and insight in its pages. To read literature from the Middle Ages it is interesting to note the references they make and what they were familiar with. Lots of Greek, Roman and even Pagan myths were very well known, and of course the Bible.
baswood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a best seller in its day. Perhaps the most widely read and controversial poem of the late middle ages and early renaissance. It was quarrelled over and moralised about; not surprising since its subject matter is amorous desire, but does it still have any relevance for the modern reader?It helps that the version I read was the prose translation in English by Frances Horgan, which is accessible to the modern reader, but still maintains a feel for the medieval text. There appears to be no liberties taken with the language and no modern idioms jump out at you. It is one of the great allegorical dream visions of the middle ages started by Guillaume de Lorris in the middle of the 13th century and then enlarged and enhanced by Jean de Meun some forty years later. Part I opens with a twenty year old man dreaming that as he is walking along a river bank he comes across a walled enclosure. Idleness invites him inside to a beautiful garden owned by Pleasure. The dreamer is invited to join in with a group of dancers and then as he gazes into a clear stream he spots the reflection of a rosebud. At that moment he is shot by five arrows released by the God of Love and from then on he is the Lover with only one thought in his head: to pluck the Rosebud. He is helped initially by Fair Welcome, but Rebuff bellows at him to leave the garden. Sorrowful and lonely the Lover is counselled by Reason and then a Friend suggests he try again in the garden. He gets inside the garden and finds the Rosebud, but when he kisses her all hell breaks loose and Evil Tongue, Rebuff and Jealousy drive him back out of the garden. Jealousy then erects a castle around the roses and imprisons Fair Welcome. Jean De Meun then picks up the story in part II where the Lover is again counselled by Reason. He rejects her advice and again seeks advice from Friend. He fails in an attempt to get Wealth to help him, but finally the God of Love summons his barons to launch an attack on the castle. They have False Seeming and Constrained Abstinence now on their side and with the help of Old Woman liberate Fair Welcome from his prison. A pitched battle ensues with Jealousy and her minions and it is only with the help of Nature and Genius that the Lover gets to pluck the Rose.Part I written by Guillaume De Lorris is a medieval romance based on the provisions of courtly love. In this version the Lover only manages to kiss the Rose and the feeling is that this is as far as he should go. It is a charming story written in the first person and has some beautiful descriptions of the garden and the dancers. It has a dream like quality, but there are some disquieting undertones which come to life with the appearance of the hideous Evil Tongue and the rough Rebuff. This part ends with a soliloquy as the Lover bemoans his fate in typical medieval fashion:"love is so capricious that he robbed me of everything at once, just when I thought I had won. It is the same with Fortune, who fills men's hearts with bitterness but at other times flatters and caresses them. Her appearance changes swiftly, smiling one moment sad the next. She has a wheel that turns and when she wishes, she raises the lowest to the very highest place, while he who is at the top is plunged with one turn into the mud"Part II written by Jean De Meun is five times longer and picks up the story where De Lorris left it. In De Meun's hands the charming tale of courtly love becomes something entirely different. It becomes a story of how a Lover will use all possible ways and means to get into bed with the Rose. The allegorical framework is preserved with the personifications introduced by De Lorris continuing to play their parts. This time however False Seeming and Constrained Abstinence play crucial roles. The innocence of the dream vision that was so much a part of De Lorris's tale has gone for good. The text becomes more wordy, less unified, there are now digressions, sermons and debates. De Meun starts his story with a
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