Cultural events

The art of loving in the Middle-Ages: the Roman de la Rose


  • Boccace, Le Livre des cleres femmes, BnF, Français 598, f. 92v, Paris 1402-1403

    For daring to criticize the Roman de la rose, by Jean de Meun, Christine de Pisan was compared to the Greek courtesan Léonce. Boccace, Le Livre des cleres femmes, Paris 1402-1403

  • Practical information

  • Arsenal Library

    From Tuesday to Sunday
    noon - 7 p.m.
    closed monday and on public holidays

    Free access

from November 6, 2012 to February 17, 2013 Arsenal Library

The Roman de la Rose is a courtly and learned “Art d’aimer”. There are about 22 000 lines in this poem written in the 13th century by Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun. The poem takes the form of an allegorical fantasy telling how a young man, the lover, conquered the heart of a Rose, the young girl.

The framework of the story is rather loose, underpinned by cynical pieces of advice worthy of Ovide and peppered with scholarly considerations.

At the end of a well-argued debate, the “Roman” invites readers to favour life forces and ignore tensions inherent to courtly love and conjugal morality. Both a charming, misogynous, codified and subversive poem, the Roman de la Rose gave rise, in the early 15th century, to a literary quarrel in which Christine de Pisan, the first “feminist” author distinguished herself.

Discovering the BnF’s illuminated manuscripts of the Roman de la Rose, visitors will also discover the literary and cultural material of this major piece of medieval literature.

Friday, November 9, 2012