The Roman de la Rose and the Poetics of Contingency
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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This work has benefited from the thoughts and comments of many readers, and it is a pleasure to be able to thank them here. My greatest debt is to the two scholars who codirected the doctoral dissertation that lies at the origin of this book, Jacqueline...
Note on Citations
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Introduction: The Sense of a Book
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Among its collection of French manuscripts, the National Library of Paris possesses an early-fourteenth-century codex containing the text of a poem divided in two parts. At the point in the manuscript in which the two sections of the text are joined, the...
1 Inventio Linguae: The Language of Contingency
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At the opening of De Interpretatione Aristotle defines the nature of speech in terms that are both logical and metaphysical and which, to a large extent, determine the ancient, medieval, and many of the most modern theories of language and its operation...
2 The Nameless Lover, or The Contingent Subject
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It would be difficult to find a figure that has attracted more attention among historians and critics of medieval literature than the one in the poem that, with an apparently simple gesture, says “I.” Since Leo Spitzer’s early essay “Note on the Poetic and..
3 Fortune, or The Contingent Figure
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Form is not the only element of the Roman de la Rose defined by the power of mutability and metamorphosis that the medieval philosophers and theologians called “contingency.” The capacity to be otherwise marks what is perhaps the most fundamental register of the work’s language, which defines the poem as...
4 Through the Looking-Glass: The Knowledge of Contingency
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Toward the end of the Roman de la Rose Nature, encouraged by Genius, gives her “confession” (v. 16696), which the narrator of the romance, in turn, recounts “word for word, just as she said it” (mot a mot, si conme el l’a dite, v. 16698).1 Nature’s first...
Conclusion: Diverse Verses
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Close to the center of the Roman de la Rose a new figure emerges on the scene of the medieval psychomachia: “False Seeming” (Faussemblant, v. 10429), son of “trickery” (Barat) and “hypocrisy” (Hypocrisie), clothed in the “habit of religion” (v. 10444) and...
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Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2003
Series Title: Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society