Chapter

Guillaume de Lorris, <i>Le Roman de la Rose</i>: The Garden of Unhallowed Delights

David Rollo

in Kiss My Relics

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780226724614
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226724607 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226724607.003.0008
Guillaume de Lorris, Le Roman de la Rose: The Garden of Unhallowed Delights

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While critics have in the past concurred in recognizing the incontrovertible fact that the romance is a narrative of desire, few have devoted detailed analysis to the equally incontrovertible ambiguity of that desire's object. Sylvia Huot has aptly indicated that “the woman pursued by the Lover of the Rose is so deeply hidden and fortified behind multiple obstacles, so obscured beneath a proliferation of allegorical figures, that it is difficult to be certain that there even is a woman there at all.” And Sarah Kay has justifiably remarked: “The 21,000 lines of the Roman de la Rose recount the desire of the lover for union with the mysterious ‘rose,’ and the story ends when he gets it. But what is it that he has ‘got’?” In an effort—diffident, at this early stage—to answer Kay's question, this chapter considers the circumstances in which the lover first encounters the rose with which he falls in love.

Keywords: romance; desire; allegorical figures; the rose; love; Le Roman de la Rose

Chapter.  9647 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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