Winning The Rose

Kline, A. S. (b.1947), translated by Kline, A. S. (contact-email)

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Composed in the 13th century, The Romance of the Rose created by Guillaume de Lorris and continued, and completed, by Jean de Meung, is the finest poetic achievement of the French High Medieval period. This Commentary explains the structure of the work, and the intentions behind it, and considers the detailed content, chapter by chapter, identifying references, and elucidating the speeches and actions of the personifications brought to life by the allegory.

Both the Romance, and its Continuation, are cast in the form of a shared Dream, with Guillaume and then Jean playing the part of dreamer, Lover, and author. This triple role allows shifts of emphasis from first-person to third person narrative, from participant to commentator. The transition from Guillaume to Jean as author takes place when Jean starts his Continuation (the link word being ‘despair’), while that from Guillaume to Jean, as dreamer and Lover, takes place within or sometime after Jean’s central Chapter LX.

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Kline, A. S.

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