This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.
The poem was written in two stages. The first 4058 lines, written by Guillaume de Lorris circa 1230, describe the attempts of a courtier to woo his beloved. This part of the story is set in a walled garden or locus amoenus, one of the traditional topoi of epic and chivalric literature. Around 1275, Jean de Meun composed an additional 17,724 lines. In this enormous coda, allegorical personages (Reason, Genius, and so on) hold forth on love. Genius, who is introduced as Nature's priestly confessor, launches a polemic against sodomites. In praising procreation, Genius castigates those "who do not write with their styluses [penises] ... on the beautiful precious tablets" Nature has prepared for them. These men, Genius complains, follow the bad example of Orpheus, who "did not know how to plow or write or forge in the true forge-- may he be hanged by the throat!" Genius then goes on to wish that such men may, "in addition to the excommunication that sends them all to damnation, suffer, before their death, the loss of their purse [scrotum] and testicles, the signs that they are male! May they lose the pendants on which the purse hangs! May they have the hammers that are attached within torn out! ... May they have their bones broken without their ever being mended! ... May their dirty, horrible sin be sorrowful and painful to them; may it cause them to be beaten with sticks everywhere."
- Manuscripts and incunabula
- Translation and influence