The Romance of the Rose

Lorris, Guillaume de (1200–1238), translated by Kline, A. S. (contact-email)

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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 Jean's later work, as an epitome of the allegorical style and a fine development of the courtly tradition of ‘fin amour’.

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Kline, A. S.

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