Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Dreams of Lovers and Lies of Poets: Poetry, Knowledge, and Desire in the 'Roman De la Rose'

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Dreams of Lovers and Lies of Poets: Poetry, Knowledge, and Desire in the 'Roman De la Rose'

Article excerpt

Sylvia Huot, Dreams of Lovers and Lies of Poets: Poetry, Knowledge, and Desire in the 'Roman de la Rose', Research Monographs in French Studies 3 1 (Oxford: Legenda, 2010). ix + 114 pp. ISBN 978-1-906540-80-7. £40.00/$75.00.

In her stimulating new monograph on the Roman de la Rose, Sylvia Huot tackles issues fundamental to the poem's composition, arising out of its initial paradox: the 'self-styled "art of love"' (p. 1) nonetheless repeatedly affirms the impossibility of capturing erotic experience in words. Huot examines how poetic form, 'a language in which what is unspoken is at least as important as what is spoken' (p. 5), operates to express a discourse of eros as a kind of 'negative shape', which emerges indirectly, and most potently, from coliisions and conflations in the Rose's implicit web of allusions to a range of Latin authors, notably Ovid, Boethius, and Virgil, but also John of Salisbury and Alain de Lille. The study first introduces the complexity of the Rose's status as love poetry by exploring how both its authors, Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, recast earlier models of erotic and philosophical discourse, examining in detail the treatment of poetic identity (chapter 1). In three central chapters, Huot anchors her elucidation of the discourses of erotic desire, pleasure, and pain in key mythographic figures: Narcissus and Orpheus, also including the characters of whom Orpheus sings: Pygmalion, Myrrha, and Adonis. Narcissus features as a lens for analysing both Rose authors' exploration of the link between erotic and desire and knowledge, especially self-knowledge and the relationship between knowledge and memory (chapter 2). Orpheus, though mentioned by name only once in the poem, is identified as a touchstone for the debate between Reason and the Lover, a 'focal point' (p. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.