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The Romance of the Rose (Third Edition) [Paperback]

Guillaume De Lorris , Jean De Meun

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Book Description

3 July 1995

Many English-speaking readers of the Roman de la rose, the famous dream allegory of the thirteenth century, have come to rely on Charles Dahlberg's elegant and precise translation of the Old French text. His line-by-line rendering in contemporary English is available again, this time in a third edition with an updated critical apparatus. Readers at all levels can continue to deepen their understanding of this rich tale about the Lover and his quest--against the admonishments of Reason and the obstacles set by Jealousy and Resistance--to pluck the fair Rose in the Enchanted Garden.

The original introduction by Dahlberg remains an excellent overview of the work, covering such topics as the iconographic significance of the imagery and the use of irony in developing the central theme of love. His new preface reviews selected scholarship through 1990, which examines, for example, the sources and influences of the work, the two authors, the nature of the allegorical narrative as a genre, the use of first person, and the poem's early reception. The new bibliographic material incorporates that of the earlier editions. The sixty-four miniature illustrations from thirteenth-and fifteenth-century manuscripts are retained, as are the notes keyed to the Langlois edition, on which the translation is based.

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"This is a readable and reliable line-by-line translation of the Roman de la Rose, based on Ernest Langlois's 1914-24 edition. The first in modern English prose, it is particularly valuable for its faithful rendering of the imagery of the original on which . . . so much of the poem's irony depends."--The Times Literary Supplement

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MANY men say that there is nothing in dreams but fables and lies, but one may have dreams which are not deceitful, whose import becomes quite clear afterward. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
36 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Allegory continued 18 Mar 2000
By frumiousb - Published on Amazon.com
The Romance of the Rose is the famous and much discussed 13th century allegorical romance. It consists of two parts of unequal length-- the first shorter part by Guillaume de Lorris and the second longer part continued 40 years after de Lorris' death by Jean de Meun. Throughout the medieval period, this was one of the most widely read book in the French language.
Scholars have rather endlessly debated how unified the allegory really is, and the trend recently seems to have shifted to seeing the two authors as less in opposition, and more composing a complete treatment of courtly Love.
For the casual (non-academic) reader like myself, the experience is rather less unified. The de Lorris section is quite lyrical and fits more with what I imagine an allegorical dream poem to be. When Idleness leads the dreamer into the garden of Diversion and when Love shoots him with the five deadly arrows that bind him to the Rose, the imagery is compelling and lovely.
On the other hand, the second part, while often *very* funny is much more obviously satirical with long digressions that focus more on social mores than on the world of the Dreamer as established in the first half. The effect is sort of like a serious and literary Spike Jones song-- which is not at all a bad thing.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange Romance 18 July 2011
By RCM - Published on Amazon.com
"The Romance of the Rose" is an intriguing example of medieval literature, an allegorical poem composed by two different authors with very different intentions. It is the tale of a Dreamer who finds himself in a vast dream filled with the embodiments/personifications of all types of social expectations, states of being, and human emotion who falls in love with a Rose and tries to win her heart. Begun by Guillaume de Lorris and finished by Jean de Meun, "The Romance of the Rose" is a unique example of courtly love literature, allegory, and even satire.

As Guillaume de Lorris began it, the poem begins with the Dreamer finding himself outside a walled garden, the outside of which depicts very negative aspects of humanity, while the inside seems filled with all sorts of delight. Once he gains entrance and falls in love with the Rose, he learns from the God of Love what he should do to win her forever, even though he is thwarted along the way. De Lorris did not finish his poem, although a short, anonymous ending was added to it after his death. Forty years later, Jean de Meun expanded greatly upon the work of de Lorris, changing the tone completely from straightforward allegory to often wry, sometimes funny, satire about courtly love and its expectations and contradictions. The Dreamer continues his quest, meeting many allegorical figures who propound to speak about love, only to confuse and contradict each other so that no one seems to know what love is or have anything authoritative to say. Jean de Meun is almost too obvious in his descriptions of what love is understood to be, especially in the end when the Dreamer wins his Rose, and the poem ends all too abruptly. It will leave readers with more questions than answers.

As is typical of medieval literature, "The Romance of the Rose" abounds with digressions into explanations of classical literature. These digressions can become tiresome, especially in de Meun's section where character after character seems to repeat the same story (if only from a slightly different viewpoint). Yet de Meun did successfully contrast the direction that de Lorris seemed intent to follow in his beginning. It would be interesting to know what de Lorris thought of the author's addendum to his writing, for they are extremely different in subject and execution. This prose version is an excellent translation, one that will cause fewer headaches for any nonscholar who attempts to read it (unlike some earlier translations that kept it as a poem). Dahlberg does a commendable job in keeping the imagery and irony vivid, a hard task when translating poetry into prose.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top 3 Greatest of all books! 14 April 2014
By yarrow pallo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you ever get a chance, read it. It'll bring tears to your eyes with honesty & passion. This company delivers!
8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "By my faith, said Love,...I want him to be in my court." 4 Mar 2004
By "acominatus" - Published on Amazon.com
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.
6 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars rosa 6 July 2000
By Ramandeep Kaur - Published on Amazon.com
I really like this book because it is a romance book and i love all romance books. I really like books that are writen in the old ages. I think if a person likes to just read books they should read Romance of the Rose.
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