Rubrics and the Rose

Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, Roman de la rose
France, thirteenth century

Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 169, f. 17v
France?, late fourteenth/early fifteenth century
Vellum, 338 x 246 mm (219 x 144 mm), IV + 140 + III ff.

Guillaume de Lorris’s section of the Rose ends with the Lover standing at the gates of a moated castle and bewailing his misfortune, for Jealousy has built a seemingly impregnable fortress to imprison Fair Welcome and the beloved rose. The rubrics on this left-hand page identify who is speaking. They are a standard paratextual feature of Rose manuscripts and help to orient the reader among the poem’s vast array of characters. This manuscript was purchased in 1876 at the Bragge Sale.

By permission of the Syndics of the Fitzwilliam Museum. Image © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

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