The Roman de la rose in its Philosophical Context: Art, Nature, and Ethics

ISBN : 9780198816669

Jonathan Morton
224 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Feb 2018
Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs
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This book studies one of the most important works of medieval literature to show how poetry can be philosophical in the Middle Ages and how philosophy can take the form of poetry. It looks at the complex thirteenth-century Roman de la rose in the light of the philosophical ideas of its time and shows the range and scope of the poem's dialogue with pressing philosophical questions at the time it was written. This study combines literary and philosophical analysis in an original way to offer a new understanding of the text's key themes of art, nature, and ethics. The Rose had a huge influence over literary production across Europe for more than two hundred years after its composition and this study will be of value for all those studying European literature of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries.


Introduction; 1 Inconsistent Philosophy: Authority, Meaning, and the Poetics of the Indefinite; 2 The Art itself is Nature: Art, Nature, and Ethics in the Roman de la rose; 3 Rational Animals, Bestial Hypocrites: Poetry's Compromised Pedagogy; 4 The Golden Age: Primitive Fantasies of Artificial Nature; 5 Usury, Avarice, and Infinite Desire; 6 Making and Worshiping Idols: Desire, Imagination, and the End of the Rose; Conclusion: Philosophical Erotics

About the author: 

Jonathan Morton is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in French at King's College London, specializing in medieval literature and intellectual history. He completed his DPhil at New College, Oxford where he was a Junior Research Fellow while teaching at Paris-X, Sciences-Po Paris, and Columbia University. He is the co-editor of a forthcoming collection of essays entitled Medieval Thought Experiments: Poetry, Hypothesis, and Experience in the European Middle Ages and is currently working on a project about ingenuity, the imagination, and the history of medieval science and technology.

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