Lorris is a village near Orleans but nothing is known about the life of Guillaume, author of the first section of the Romance of the Rose (c1240 AD). The poem is beautifully written and modelled on Ovid's Art of Love (Ars amatoria). It is an allegory of of love, using the image of a rosebud to symbolise the maiden and a garden to symbolise courtly society. The suitor exeriences many setbacks in gaining entry to the garden. The sexual imagery is less explicit than in Ovid. The poem was translated into English by Geoffrey Chaucer and became an important influence on him. A great many editions of the Romance of the Rose were published. Many were beautifully illustrated. Like the text, the illustrations were symbolic and allegorical but they provide some of the best visual records of medieval gardens.
There are excerpts from the Romance of the Rose on the CD.ï¾ ï¾