Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Querelle de la Rose

The previous post on profanity has, incidentally, reminded me of the Querelle de la Rose, a fierce dispute over Jean de Meun's continuation of Guillaume de Lorris's Roman de la Rose. In the continuation Jean de Meun has Lady Reason use vulgar terms in one of her discourses; the Lover is shocked at the impropriety, and gets scolded for not letting Reason speak plainly. Christine de Pizan, however, entered into the Querelle in earnest by arguing (among many other things) that Jean de Meun's placing of these vulgarities in Lady Reason's mouth was part of a larger attack on women. Noble women did not use such terms; and the author's making the great Lady to use them can be seen as part of a deeply layered misogyny in the work. Thus the Querelle de la Rose becomes a part of a larger Querelle des Femmes.

I am unable to find any of the works relevant to the Querelle online in English translation, though. Has anyone come across them? Even in French, I can only find the text under dispute (here and here).

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