This paper will compare two important manuscripts of Le Roman d’Enéas, a 12th-century adaptation of Virgil’s Aeneid: the late12th- / early 13th-century MS A, and the late 14th-century MS D, which generally demonstrates both a greater fidelity to Virgil than MS A and greater interest in love as a courtly behaviour. In order to explore both trends, this paper will examine the episode in which Dido falls in love with Enéas, a romantic downfall facilitated by a magically altered Ascanius in MS A and a disguised Amor in MS D (as in Virgil). Investigating this episode in D as a deliberate change both from Virgil and from earlier versions of the Enéas may illuminate previously unexplored aspects of the Enéas‘s revision over time, as well as the development of a more cohesive, codified vision of romantic love more broadly.
Die Rose (Brabant, before 1325) is one of the two Middle Dutch translations of the Roman de la Rose. Die Rose is considered a close but shortened translation of the Old French source. This paper will shed more light on the reception of this translation by combining two analyses. The first analysis aims at discovering the rationale underlying the omissions. The second analysis deals with the profile of the two oldest (14th century) miscellanies containing a version of Die Rose.
This paper invites a fundamental rethinking of the role of Virgil in Dante’s Commedia, both in his capacity as Dante’s poetic mentor, and as the representative of a literary tradition based on clear generic boundaries, specifically those between lyric (pastoral) and epic. When read as Dante’s vehicle for introducing a Christian epic, the Commedia becomes, in part, a study in the limits of the Aeneid. Indeed, the places where Dante’s poem echoes Virgil’s most closely (the bleeding tree in Inferno XIII and the drinking of the waters of Lethe and Eunoe in Purgatorio XXVIII and XXXIII) are exactly the places where Dante showcases the Aeneid‘s inherent deficiency, not only because Virgil is not Christian, but because epic as Virgil writes it cannot accommodate Dante’s vision. If, on the other hand, we focus on Virgil as a lyric poet, his role becomes more expansive, and we see that the Eclogues bridge the gaps that the Aeneid cannot. This focus accounts more fully for Dante’s story of Statius’s conversion after his reading Eclogue IV and for the placement of Virgil’s discourse on love at the structural and thematic center of the Commedia. It also offers a revolutionary way of understanding the Commedia‘s relationship to the lyric tradition. From his declaration of poetic goals at the end of La Vita Nuova, to his letters to Giovanni Del Virgilio, to his characterization of Virgil, Dante suggests that the Commedia can and perhaps should be read most fruitfully as a lyric taken to new heights.