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The Romance of the Rose

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,383 ratings  ·  48 reviews
This is a new translation of The Romance of the Rose, an allegorical account of the progress of a courtly love affair which became the most popular and influential of all medieval romances. In the hands of Jean de Meun, who continued de Lorris's work, it assumed vast proportions and embraced almost every aspect of medieval life from predestination and optics, to the Franci ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 19th 1999 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1250)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Yann
Le Roman de la Rose est l’œuvre commune de Guillaume de Lorris et de Jean de Meun, deux poètes du treizième siècle, et a définitivement détruit les préjugés qui me restaient sur la prétendue épaisseur de l’esprit des hommes de ce temps. L’abondance de ce poème, plus de vingt mille vers, n’est nullement un obstacle à l’attention du lecteur, laquelle est également soutenu du début à la fin. La première partie de Guillaume s’apparente au Livre du cœur d’amour épris du mélancolique et désabusé René ...more
Nikki
The Romance of the Rose is worth reading mainly if you have an interest in medieval texts and particularly in those that express 'courtly love' (or fin'amours, whichever you think more accurate). It's one massive allegorical dream sequence, the work of two writers, and it was massively influential on later medieval writers.

This translation, by Charles Dahlberg, is very readable, though it is a prose translation. Obviously this isn't a modern novel, but I found it quite fun to read -- this transl
...more
Teri Anderson
This was a book C. S. Lewis taught in his medieval classes (he discusses it in The Allegory of Love):

“This is a point I would press on anyone dealing with the Middle Ages, that the first es-sential is to read the relevant classics over and over: the key to everything-- allegory, courtly love, etc. – is there. After that the two things to know really well are the Divine Comedy and the Romance of the Rose. The student who has really digested these with good commentaries, and who also knows the Cl
...more
Beth
There are many things not to like about this poem. Allegories tend to feel stilted, and this book is populated almost entirely by allegories: embodied virtues, vices, emotions, and mythological deities. The poem itself is an expression of the tenets of the medieval ideal of courtly love - an ideal that tends to offend modern sensibilities on love and relationships. It's a concept of love that seems based in games and artifice. We find the god of love advising the narrator to stay well groomed an ...more
J. Alfred
I'm not sure where, but I vaguely remember C.S. Lewis mentioning this book as though it were distasteful. The man knows what he's talking about: this is a strange fourteenth-century allegory where Cupid and Venus help a man make war on a girl's Chastity and her attendants, Shame, Fear, and Jealousy (not making this up) while dodging the superfluity of marriage. The book ends when the guy finishes his pilgrimage and picks the rose in the center of the once-defended garden. There are some odd digr ...more
Vladana Perlić
Da ne znam da je ovaj roman napisan u XIII vijeku, nikada ne bih pogodila! Zaista, i poslije hiljadu godina, on sadrži u sebi nešto savremeno. Izuzetno mi se dopala sama ideja, alegorični likovi, stil pisanja (koji je neočekivano pitak za djelo nastalo u srednjem vijeku) i ono što najviše začuđuje - poprilično napredno razmišljanje za to vrijeme. Zapravo, sve što odlikuje ovaj roman, čini mi se, tako odudara od srednjeg vijeka - ili samo nisam čitala dovoljno fin'amor literature? Prije će biti o ...more
Elisabeth G. Wolfe
The first part of the Roman, the original section written by Guillaume de Lorris (R1), isn't bad... a bit risque for my taste, but the allegory is clear enough, and the imagery is nicely fanciful and suits the pleasant little story of a love affair gone wrong. There's certainly room to argue that Guillaume intended to continue R1 at some point or write a sequel but never got around to it, but R1 stands alone well enough.
Then Jean de Meun got hold of it.
Jean de Meun, to use modern parlance, was a
...more
Elaine
Jan 15, 2015 Elaine rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elaine by: Professor Root
I fully admit, first of all, that I am judging this novel by a modern perspective. But, here I am, the reader, and I bring to this what I have lived and therefore do I really have to justify judging it by a modern-day perspective? I live in the year 2010!

And, in the year 2010, this is racist, sexist and homophobic and it was painful to read. It made me not happy to have come from the European tradition, genetically and culturally. I feel such empathy for people who read this who are of color and
...more
عائشة آل
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Sarah
3 stars for pure genius in able to single-handedly compile TONS of information and characteristic arguments about... well, Love. the -2 stars is for... long sighs in confused frustration and a bit of discomfort with the nasty ending.

But I think this work is really rewarding if you take the time to read closely, and ready sharply, noting where it digresses, where it answers itself through the different characters, and why. One could probably spend a lifetime...
Maan Kawas
A very beautiful medieval poem in the form of an allegorical dream vision about courtly love which takes you to unique world and events! The poem was written by two authors; Guillaume de Lorris composed the first part (interrupted), while Jean de Meun composed the second part years later. The first part was more idealistic and sublime, whereas the continuation by de Meun took more philosophical and sexual and sensual dimensions, and was in many places misogynic. The symbol of the rose took vario ...more
Jessica
Undoubtedly, The Romance of the Rose is overly long, rambling, and dry. It is certainly not a page-turner. The main narrative is a cute and somewhat clever allegorical story about a man who kisses his love but then is rejected because of her sense of shame, chastity, etc. He calls upon his allies (including deceit and female sexual desire) to convince her to make love to him. Unfortunately this main story is drowned out by very lengthy philosophical and theological ramblings, used most likely so ...more
Seyf
On a réuni sous ce titre deux oeuvres différentes qui n'ont de commun qu'une intrique insignifiante: le poète (Amant) cherche à conquérir la Rose dont son coeur s'est épris, symbole de la jeune fille qu'il aime. La première partie, écrite par Guillaume de Lorris entre 1225 et 1230, dessine avec grâce les étapes du parcours amoureux; la seconde, rédigée par Jean de Meung vers 1270, est une suite de développements satiriques et cyniques sur le mariage, la richesse, la liberté, la royauté; mais c'e ...more
James Violand
Apr 04, 2015 James Violand rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one.
Shelves: own
This book has much to recommend it and much to damn it. First, this translation is terrible despite the intention by the translator to hew close to the original meter. He accomplishes a muddied and confusing rhythm that detracts from what probably is a good book in French. Secondly, the entire effort by the two authors - yes, two. One took up where the other left off - to give a dissertation on Love is a task best left to those who are better writers. This work is a paradigm with layers upon lay ...more
Raúl
Un libro nada adecuado para este siglo apresurado y monocorde. Un libro al cuál pocos lectores de hoy en día se acercarían. Un libro que te puede interesar, te puede aburrir, te puede fascinar, un libro que se puede convertir en tu libro de cabecera si superas sus 100 primeras páginas.
Un extenso poema sin personajes y en el que la trama se difumina para ser el bastidor del juego de los autores. Autores, porque fue comenzado por Guillaume de Loris, que murió con 25 años dejándolo inacabado, para
...more
Sarah Bilodeau
Il s'agit d'un d=code de l'amour courtois sous forme allegorique . . . C'est la narration a la fois de la conquete de la rose at d'un songe de l'auteur. C'est la personnification, une allegorie de l'art d'aimer. L'ART D'AIMER SELON LE CANON DE LA FIN'AMOR.

Ce texte enorme de 4000 vers publie au debut du treizieme siecle est le nge raconte par le poete . . . Il s'shit de la conquete de la rose qui symbolise le coeur d'une jeune femme dont ceratins entites favorisent l'approche (Bel Avvueil, Franc
...more
Matt
Heh. Heh. That's dirty, Beavis.
While this work has a lot going for it, digressions abound, and they serve no noticeable purpose in many cases. The problem is, the text is long enough, and the addition of many irrelevant philosophical treatises (perhaps only irrelevant because I'm not astute enough to catch them) water down the text, making it at times difficult to stay with it. I think there should be an excerpted version of the text for those interested in the meat of this one. Heh. Heh. Meat.
Alice
I'm rating this 3 stars not because the content was any good - it was dry and weighed down with philosophical rambling (or maybe it was a philosophy book masked in the facade of a narrative). It gets this good a rating because I found it illuminating. Anyone who believes that things were better for women and wooing when things were simpler and chivalry was in place only needs to read one chapter of this woman-hating, anti-marriage screed.

I found some comfort in the fact that this seemed to be a
...more
Brooke
Great read. Interesting look into the 17th century. Loved the metaphorical characters and the general comments on the struggles of love.
Eunice
Initially when I first read this book, like one year ago, I rated it with 2 stars. The reason was simple. although i enjoyed Lorris part, i hated Jean de Meun. I still enjoy the first part most, but i have read a lot of romances since the first time i pick The romance of the rose and now I can see why this book was so influential. Not only for medieval writers, but for myself... The imagery of the romance of the rose is one of THE richest and more impresive in literature. I am sure that the next ...more
Martin
the introduction describes this as being like a gothic cathedral - started by one vision, completed by another. and that's true. what guillaume de lorris started, jean de meun didn't so much complete as completely ignore to write an elaborate series of scholastic disputations. this grew wearisome and often, to this simple 21st century reader, fairly incomprehensible.

that said, it does present interesting insights into the way the medieval mind thought, and for those who find that interesting (a
...more
Anna
I am compelled to write a review of this book. It was a gift for graduation, and I started to read it soon after. I would normally give a book like this two stars, but I have my reasons for giving it a four. First, some of the chapters were titled hilariously. That improved the enjoyment of the book. Also near the end, it refers to itself. Now, I understand why it could refer to itself. Jean de Muen was most likely referring to Guillaume de Lorris. It still was pretty awesome in my book.
Jocelyn
Another book that I am not sure about where are I stand. The allegory is interesting and fun to dissect, but the rampant misogyny of the era can be hard to slog through.
Daniel Wright
I read this because I'm trying to read the complete works of C. S. Lewis, and you can't really read The Allegory of Love without first reading all the works he comments on, one of which is this one. I read this, and then read Lewis' chapter on it, and was pleased to discover that he was as unimpressed with it as I was. Although a lot of the imagery is interesting, this work is no longer of any except scholarly interest.
Maha
Such an amazing book. Played a huge role in future literature as it was imitated endlessly. But, by far my favorite part was somewhere in the last few pages. Such a sexual metaphor I've never had the pleasure of reading. The continued use of allegory at that point makes the passage all the more funny and dark. If you've read it you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't and don't plan to, at least read the last page!
Patrick
I'm not at all qualified to "rate" this book, but what the hell. De Meun’s continuation of de Lorris’s paragon of courtly love literature is essentially both a rapturous rape allegory, and a mammoth theological denunciation of celibacy as practiced by the mendicant orders. The poem is interesting enough if one is looking into thirteenth-century Western culture(s).
Christina

I never realized the medieval times were so sexually liberated and forward in thinking (compared to what I've been told). Also I have a new appreciation for the word testicale. The first thirty pages or so were a bit heavy and dragged, but once the god of Love begins his speech the rest reads like the dream it's meant to be a narrative of.
Qursheedali
The original love story which captured the essence of love. Eventhough the book is a college level book, it still grabs your attention and makes you want to read it. "Songs are written and sung, Books are written and learned."Q.

"Recommended of buying it, Le roman de la rose(french).
Scarlett Sims
This book was alright. There were several really interesting passages, including a really cool theological argument, but it was really tedious to read. The ending was the most amusing part. Using a staff as a metaphor for a penis.... take some cullions.
H
Some powerful descriptions and imagery, but the coquettish digressions are seldom very charming or interesting. This is a book for reading in excerpts, for enjoying the fantastically beautiful illuminations, and for making great lectures out of.
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Is the Romance of the Rose relevant in today's culture 2 8 Jul 28, 2015 04:47PM  
  • The Lais of Marie de France
  • Piers Plowman
  • Yvain, or The Knight with the Lion
  • The Quest of the Holy Grail
  • The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse
  • The Heptameron
  • Tristan: With the Tristran of Thomas
  • Chronicles
  • The Treasure of the City of Ladies
  • Chronicles of the Crusades
  • The Romance of Tristan
  • Troilus and Criseyde
  • The History of the Franks
  • Parzival
  • The Art of Courtly Love
  • Silence
  • King Harald's Saga
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Guillaume de Lorris (fl. 1230) was a French scholar and poet, and was the author of the first section of the Romance of the Rose. Little is known about him, other than that he wrote the earlier section of the poem around 1230, and that the work was completed forty years later by Jean de Meun.

From Wikipedia
More about Guillaume de Lorris...
Le Roman de La Rose Il Romanzo della rosa. Tomo I e II Le Roman de la Rose: Illustrations Le roman de la rose Leurs yeux se rencontrèrent

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“The more a man gazes on what he loves, the more he sets fire to his heart and bastes it with bacon fat.” 3 likes
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