• Between Men, Mourning: Time, Love and the Gift in the "Roman de la Rose"

    Masha Raskolnikov (see profile)
    Medieval Studies
    Critical theory, Death, French literature, Literature, Medieval, Queer theory
    Item Type:
    #gift, #homosociality, #medievallove, authors, mourning, Medieval literature
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    My article takes up the thirteenth-century French allegorical poem, the Roman de la Rose, a poem that was begun by one author and continued by another after the death of the first. I consider how the second part of the poem foregrounds its status as a continuation, arguing that the work exemplifies a model of literary succession marked by mourning and by a rhetoric of romantic attachment between men. The poem’s discussion of continuing the work of another, of gift-giving and giving time, is read as a way of expressing same-sex bonds which only later come to be called “homosexual.” In figuring its authorship thus, I argue, the Rose offers its own unusual, immanent theory of the relationship between authors and commentators, mourners and those mourned, a theory that relies for its intelligibility on the possibility, indeed, the necessity, of romance between men. In making my argument, I examine Jacques Derrida’s lectures mourning the death of Paul de Man, and Derrida’s writings about the ethics of the gift and the ethics of mourning. The mode of allegory in the Roman de la Rose performs the kind of mourning that Derrida demands, I argue, working against the interiorization of the image of the one who has died, keeping the other alive through keeping his text intact and yet at the same time extending the text, and the one who created it, in time.
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    Journal article    
    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
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