Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The 'Roman De la Rose': An Annotated Bibliography

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The 'Roman De la Rose': An Annotated Bibliography

Article excerpt

Heather M. Arden, The 'Roman de la Rose': An Annotated Bibliography, Garland Medieval Bibliographies (New York and London: Garland, 1993). xxx + 385 pp. ISBN 0-8240-5799-6. $59.00.

This book fills an obvious gap in the vast repertoire of publications on the Roman de la Rose. Its main focus is modern scholarship (i 8 50-1992), although major studies from earlier periods are also covered. Over 80% of the items in the bibliography are contained in chapters iii (critical studies) and iv (influence). Other chapters are devoted to the text, namely, editions, translations, manuscript studies (i), other works by or attributed to Jean de Meun (ii), miscellaneous items, mainly artistic (v). Only chapter iii sets out to be comprehensive; the others aim to provide scholars with a basis for further inquiry. Given the controversial nature of the poem, Heather M. Arden is justified in providing an introduction to Rose scholarship, which among other things treats both generally acknowledged advances and continuing divergences in critical opinion.

The main criterion for appraising such a book must be the extent to which it is user-friendly. I personally would have preferred some sort of thematic divisions within the two central chapters rather than an alphabetical list of works by scholar. Arden does provide subdivisions in the first two chapters, but with limited success: in chapter i the distinction between 'Translations' and Other translations and edition-translations' is neither explained nor self-evident, while in the second, very short, chapter a heading is provided for each of Jean de Meun's other works twice over, first for editions and then for studies. …

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