This review relates to the work, -The Romance of the
Rose- by Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun,
Translated by Charles Dahlberg, Princeton Univ.
Press, Third Edition, 1995. 484 pp.
This edition of -The Romance of the Rose- is interesting
for it contains all 3 Prefaces which Charles Dahlberg
wrote. In the Preface to the 1st edition, published
in 1971, Dahlberg says: "This translation of the -Romance
of the Rose-, the first in modern English prose, is one of
nearly a dozen volumes during the past decade to present
an edition, a translation, or a major commentary on the
Old French poem. The aim of this book is to provide a
clear, readable text that is as faithful as possible to
the original, particularly in terms of imagery. Because
translations have their pitfalls and because thirteenth-
century assumptions about the use of imagery, indeed of
poetry, are very different from ours, I have provided a
variety of materials that may help the reader to approach
the poem with an approximation of the perspective of that
time. The Introduction, Notes, and Illustrations are
designed primarily to elaborate and clarify such a view
of the poem."
In the 2nd Preface, to the 1983 edition, Dahlberg says:
[after saying that minor errors have been corrected
and additions have been made to the Bibliography]
"During recent years, a number of writers have reemphasized
the contrast between the two authors in their treatment
of the poem's allegory. Such is the case even in the
relatively small space devoted to the poem in Jung's
important book on Latin and French allegory, a work that
parallels the series of essays by Hans Robert Jauss
on the origins and development of allegorical poetry up
to the -Romance-."
In the Preface to the 1995 edition, Dahlberg again
deals with the scholarly publications concerning the
poem which have occurred since the last edition. He
cites works in the Preface which deal with Sources and
Influences ["Among source studies, the greatest attention
has been givven To Ovid: in the Narcissus episode, the
Pygmalion episode, or both. Huot studies the relation of
the Medusa interpolation to these spisodes and to the
Deucalion-Pyrrha passage, Browlee studies the relation
of the Pygmalion and Adonis passages, and Steinle adds
the Narcissus passages to these two."]; The Two Authors;
The Nature of the Allegorical Narrative; The Use of the
First Person; and Early Reception.
This work is in two parts. Part I [The Dream of Love]
is authored by Guillaume de Lorris and comprises some 4,000
plus lines. Part II [The Overthrow of Reason] is authored by Jean de Meun.
The sections of Part I are titled by Dahlberg as: (1) The Garden, The Fountain,
and the Rose; (2) The God of Love and the Affair of the
Heart; (3) The Involvement of Reason and the Castle of
Part II [The Overthrow of Reason] by Jean de Meun, is
titled in sections by Dahlberg as: (4) Discourse of
Reason; (5) The Advice of Friend; (6) The Assault on
the Castle. False Seeming's Contribution; (7) The Old
Woman's Intercession; (8) Attack and Repulse;
(9)Nature's Confession; (10) Genius's Solution;
(11) Venus's Conflagration and the Winning of the Rose.
There are excellent Notes from p. 357 to p. 425 and
an excellent Bibliography. There are also 64 "miniature
illustrations from thirteenth- and fourteenth-century
This is an excellent edition, especially for the
wealth of suggested additional schoarly works
available and their approaches to the poem.
-- Robert Kilgore.