Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Romance of the Rose and Its Medieval Readers: Interpretations, Reception, Manuscript Transmission

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Romance of the Rose and Its Medieval Readers: Interpretations, Reception, Manuscript Transmission

Article excerpt

Sylvia Huot, The Romance of the Rose and its Medieval Readers: Interpretation, Reception, Manuscript Transmission, Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature 16 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993). xvi + 404 pp.; 21 plates; 9 figures. ISBN 0-521-41713-9. £40.00.

This book elicits a variety of medieval interpretations of the Roman de la Rose from a study of aspects of its manuscript versions. These include rubrication, readers' annotations, marginal glosses, interpolations, remaniements, illustrations and the types of text included with it in anthology codices. Given the sheer volume of materials at her disposal, Sylvia Huot has of necessity been highly selective in her approach. For example, she studies the rubrication in twenty-five manuscripts, the iconographie programme in one, and interpolations regularly included in the discourses of Reason and Genius and Jean de Meun's conclusion in the KMN families of manuscripts. Even so, her findings are impressive. They support theories previously formulated but inadequately substantiated. Langlois's hypothesis that Guillaume de Lorris's Roman was popular before the addition of Jean's continuation is corroborated by an examination of the reworking of the latter included in the ? family of manuscripts, which reveals no more than a summary conclusion to Guillaume's plot. Similarly, the way in which the Roman was glossed, annotated and crossreferenced in some manuscripts endorses Badel's suggestion that it was perceived as being comparable in stature to classical models, thereby contributing significandy to the nascent concept of French literature. Huot's findings also develop those of some of the great names in Rose scholarship. …

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