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Romance of the Rose

Category: Books sutras and myths

The Romance of the Rose is superficially a story of ‘courtly love’ and the ways in which a man should woo his ‘rosebud’ .  The first 4000 lines were written between 1225 and 1230 by Guillaume de Lorris and the remaining 18,000 or so were written by Jean de Meun between 1269 and 1278.

The tale is told in the first person and purports to be an allegorical description of a dream.  Guillaume de Lorris’s description, however,  compared to Jean de Meun’s much longer and rather laboured extension, has a very different ‘feel’ to it.  The second part of the story is literally a description of courtly love with a considerable amount of moralising thrown in. 

But there is something a little different about Guillaume de Loris’s that makes one suspect that the ‘love’ in question was not a person. 

His story is entirely symbolic and indeed it is of ‘courtly love’, but the ‘court’ is that of the Inner court and the Inward court, and the Egg; and the king is a completely different king to that you may think.  The Rose has its own symbolism and Guillaume has used this in the story.  It is actually a story of a man in search of his Higher spirit.  So the story is a form of spiritual journey – how to find the Rose within you.


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