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STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER selectively. Iwasunable to find an entry for the form laneuoys (69.10, .11), and I suspect that the proper gloss for the form hosyng (233.12) is "housing" rather than "hosing;" but otherwise I found nothing with which to quibble. Fisher and his colleagues refer to their anthology as a "first step" toward fulfilling Chambers and Daunt's desideratum of "a collection of all the official documents in the English tongue, from the time ofthe Conqueror to that of Henry VI" (p. xi). One hopes that they will take the remaining steps as well, but in the meantime they have filled what their research has indicated is the most pressing need. MARTIN CAMARGO University of Missouri, Columbia JOHN V. FLEMING, Reason and the Lover. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University press, 1984. Pp. xii, 196. $20.00. In many ofthe speeches oftheRoman dela Rose, as Rosemond Tuve noted inAllegorical Imagery, "we could not hope to put a fingerexactly on where Jean starts and stops believing in what he has his creatures say in this tissue of ironies and sincerities, truths and monstrosities." It is Fleming's thesis that there is one major exception to this uncertainty, in the long speech of Reason to the lover. The unequivocal position on the moral centrality of this speech that he took in The Roman de la Rose: A Study ln Allegory and Iconography is here backed up by a study ofits Boethian and Augustinian roots; roots that link it to the most aurhoritative Christian traditions ofthe Middle Ages. Anyone who takes issue with such traditions is necessarily a heretic, and the first part of the book is devoted to a lively refutation of what Fleming names the "Ithacan heresy," since it was from there that the sharpest attacks on his original work emanated. He is delightfully blunt about what the term means within literary discourse: "It means other people's reading texts in ways with which we disagree." It is notorious, however, that heretics are rarely won over by argument, and it will be interesting to see whether Fleming's aggressive defense of his own orthodoxy is going to shake the faith of his opponents. 194 REVIEWS Fleming founds his case for rejecting the limitations that have been ascribed to Reason on the grounds of her ancestry. Like Boethius's Philo­ sophia, she speaks as a philosopher, not a theologian, but that does not cut her off from theological significance. Reason, for Alain de Lille, is "the power of the soul by which the soul moves to the contemplation ofthings heavenly"; it was universally accepted that man was made in the image of God. Moreover, Fleming argues that Reason's "direct lineal ancestress" is notso much Philosophia as the Ratio of Augustine's Soliloquia. Guillaume de Lorris had drawn a Lady Reason indebted to the Bible and Boethius, but Jean de Meun takes the further, distinctly Augustinian, step of remodeling Cicero (his Reason's favorite overt authority) into Christian patterns. A number ofother Augustinian texts are called on to support this view, along with Aelred's De spiritali amicitia-a work thatJean translated. In itself this evidence is overwhelming. Problems emerge, however, when one turns to the poem. Even Fleming admits that he finds "no escape from the uncomfortable fact that Jean de Meun repeatedly and entirely consciously invites us to mistake his poem by making rather less of Lady Reason than we should." The arguments he uses to demonstrate howJean signals his ironic intentions are less satisfying. Two examples must suffice to indicate the kind of unease that remains after Fleming's exposition. One is this: 'The obvious source of Reason's doctrine of friendship is Cicero's De amicitia. The covert source is Aelred's Augustinian reworking of Cicero, the De spiritali amicitia. It is the latter which informs the passage with its special significance, a significance we can hardly doubt that Reason and her poetic creatorJean de Meun, fully intend" (p. 82). Grant that Reason andJean intend it, and that they, and Fleming, have read their Aelred: but what about the vast majority of readers of the Roman, in the thirteenth century or now, who...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 194-197
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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