Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


French Studies

First Advisor

Alexandre Leupin


It is the thesis of this dissertation that there exists in the Roman de la Rose a system of contraires allegories which move in a direction opposed to the traditional readings of three facets of the text. They are (1) Amant's assault upon the statue/sanctuary, (2) his relationship with Bel Accueil, and (3) the advice which Genius gives to Amour's barons. In addition, when taken cumulatively, the readings advanced argue for the identification of the Roman de la Rose with the Evangile eternel of Joachim de Fiore. These readings depend upon the reader's recognition of Faus Semblant as a contraire protagonist and of the extent to which Jean de Meun has adopted the issues and strategies of his parent texts into his own. Thus, the assault upon the statue/sanctuary, traditionally read as the culmination of Amant's sexual conquest, becomes also the destruction of the Church by the mendicant orders. Bel Accueil is seen as Amant's other, or contraire, love interest, rather than simply a quality of the lady. Genius's sermon, which advocates vigorous heterosexual activity couched in terms of work, may also be read as criticizing the mendicant orders, whose members did not work. Finally, his description of the paradisiacal Park of the Lamb marks the text of the Roman de la Rose as the depository of Evangile eternel of Joachim de Fiore, the diabolical text which Faus Semblant and his friends, the unholy mendicants, have hidden until it can be safely brought forth again. Texts which are important to these allegorical readings are examined for their influence upon the Roman de la Rose. And as one analyzes the relevant works of Guillaume de Saint-Amour, Rutebeuf, Joachim de Fiore, Alain de Lille, and Ovid, it becomes clear that Jean de Meun incorporates their issues and strategies into the Roman de la Rose, thereby enlarging its scope. For in addition to bearing the traditional designation of a love quest (although even that may be challenged), it has become also the Evangile eternel the diabolical gospel of Faus Semblant, who, as the text states, is the devil himself.