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Knowing PoetryVerse in Medieval France from the Rose to the Rhétoriqueurs$
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Adrian Armstrong and Sarah Kay

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449734

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449734.001.0001

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Poetry and Thought

Poetry and Thought

(p.71) Chapter Three Poetry and Thought
Knowing Poetry

Adrian Armstrong

Sarah Kay

Rebecca Dixon

Miranda Griffin

Sylvia Huot

Francesca Nicholson

Finn Sinclair

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the sustained association between poetry and intellectual inquiry in late medieval French writing inspired by three crucial works: the Roman de la rose in the form continued by Jean de Meun; Ovid's Metamorphoses, especially by way of the Ovide moralisé; and Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy. It argues that the Rose, the Moralisé, and the French reception of the Consolation of Philosophy together consecrate verse as a means of both furthering and shaping philosophical reflection, stimulating especially those compositions conceived of as poetrie in which rhetorical complexity and intellectual challenge are combined. The use of verse as such interacts with the trajectories of thought generated within this textual matrix. All three texts, in their different ways, show the extent to which reason and understanding are conceived in relation to the body, so that any attempt to separate knowledge from the body inevitably reinscribes the body. As a result, they infuse philosophical inquiry with an erotic charge that leavens it with playfulness and humor while encouraging poetic reflection on generation and the place of humanity in nature.

Keywords:   poetry, intellectual writing, Roman de la rose, Jean de Meun, Ovid, Metamorphoses, Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, philosophical inquiry, poetrie

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