Many English-speaking readers of the Roman de la rose, the famous dream allegory of the thirteenth century, have come to rely on Charles Dahlberg's elegant and precise translation of the Old French text. His line-by-line rendering in contemporary English is available again, this time in a third edition with an updated critical apparatus. Readers at all levels can continue to deepen their understanding of this rich tale about the Lover and his quest--against the admonishments of Reason and the obstacles set by Jealousy and Resistance--to pluck the fair Rose in the Enchanted Garden.
The original introduction by Dahlberg remains an excellent overview of the work, covering such topics as the iconographic significance of the imagery and the use of irony in developing the central theme of love. His new preface reviews selected scholarship through 1990, which examines, for example, the sources and influences of the work, the two authors, the nature of the allegorical narrative as a genre, the use of first person, and the poem's early reception. The new bibliographic material incorporates that of the earlier editions. The sixty-four miniature illustrations from thirteenth-and fifteenth-century manuscripts are retained, as are the notes keyed to the Langlois edition, on which the translation is based.
"This is a readable and reliable line-by-line translation of the Roman de la Rose, based on Ernest Langlois's 1914-24 edition. The first in modern English prose, it is particularly valuable for its faithful rendering of the imagery of the original on which . . . so much of the poem's irony depends."--The Times Literary Supplement