Guillaume de Lorris Biography


(Literary Essentials: Great Poems of the World)

Most of what is known of both authors of The Romance of the Rose is inferred from their works alone. Midway through the poem, the God of Love mentions two of his most faithful servants, Guillaume de Lorris and Jean Chopinel (“the lame”) of Meung-sur-Loire. From the statement (line 10,588) that Jean will continue Guillaume’s work forty years later, critics have worked back to a date of around 1230 or 1235 for Guillaume’s portion and 1275 for that of Jean. Jean de Meung is otherwise known to have lived in Paris from 1292 until 1305. Presumably, he had left Meung-sur-Loire, a small village southwest of Orléans, for the intellectual climate surrounding the recently established University of Paris.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

In the first half of the thirteenth century, a French court poet, Guillaume de Lorris (gee-yohm duh law-rees)—also written as Loury, Lory, and Lorrys—completed some four thousand lines of The Romance of the Rose, an allegory on the psychology of love, but left the work unfinished at his death. Very little is known about this poet, who takes his name from a small village on the Loire River above Orléans in the north of France. A few details can be gleaned from the work itself. Guillaume was well read in the Latin classics, especially Ovid, and was literate in style and courtly in manner. This early thirteenth century troubadour was full of courtly ideals, and his poetic contribution is charming and frequently subtle. The Lover visits a park to which he is admitted by Idleness. Sharing the woods and lawns with him are Cupid, Pleasure, and Delight. Finally he comes upon the Rose and is given permission to kiss her. Their mutual pleasure irritates Jealousy, her guard, who forthwith drives the Lover from the park.{$S[A]Clopinel, Jehan;Jean de Meung}

Because of the unfinished state of the work at Guillaume’s death, an anonymous contributor provided a seventy-eight-line conclusion found in several manuscripts. It provides only a bare and obvious dramatization of the Lover’s attaining the Rose, but at least it rounds out the fragment on an aesthetic level.

About forty years later, The Romance of the Rose was completed by another poet of the court, named Jehan Clopinel (or Chopinel), known also as Jean...

(The entire section is 632 words.)