5 - Romance appropriations  pp. 171-211

Romance appropriations

By Sarah Kay

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This chapter examines the reception by three romances, two of them Northern French and the third Occitan, of the subject position created by the troubadour lyric. All three could be seen as exemplifying many of the contentions of the last three chapters, but it is clearer and simpler to adopt a narrower focus in the treatment of each. The Roman de la Rose attributed to Guillaume de Lorris will therefore be considered in connection with the discussion of allegory in Chapter 2, Jean Renart's Guillaume de Dole with that of gender and status in Chapter 3, and Flamenca with that of performance in Chapter 4. When the lyric subject is adopted by romance, its narrative construction as a ‘self’ or a ‘character’ confirms tendencies perceived in the cansos, while the lyric background can illuminate the preoccupations of the romance writers who draw on it.

The Roman de la Rose by Guillaume de Lorris

The author named by Jean de Meun as Guillaume de Lorris composed an apparently unfinished 4000-line text at some time in the period between 1220 and 1245. Although the work can be read on the literal level as a romance, on the allegorical level it is an extended lyrical exposition of the mysteries and tensions of the love experience.