By Thomas C. Moser Jr.
Thomas C. Moser, Jr. explores the interesting physique of medieval Latin erotic poetry present in English manuscripts. His examine describes the highbrow and social context from which the nice erotic songs of the 12th century emerged, and examines various erotic poems, from tuition routines to the awesome lyrics present in Arundel 384. He additionally illuminates the impression of neoplatonic philosophy in this poetry, explicating key neoplatonic texts and using that evaluation in shut readings of erotic lyrics from an analogous interval and milieu.
A Cosmos of wish will curiosity students of medieval literature in addition to experts in Latin poetry and philosophy. scholars of heart English literature will locate that it fills a huge hole in our knowing of English highbrow existence among the 12th and the fourteenth century. All Latin prose and poetry is translated, a few works for the 1st time, and the publication is generously illustrated with pictures of the manuscripts discussed.
Thomas C. Moser, Jr. is affiliate Professor of English on the college of Maryland, collage Park.
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Additional info for A Cosmos of Desire: The Medieval Latin Erotic Lyric in English Manuscripts (Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Civilization)
The poem begins with the compressed effictio ("sidereum visum... flammea labrorum... dentes candentes") of a girl who rejects the "puer insignis" who loves her and instead loves the speaker, an older man. " The result of this triangulated attraction and the speaker's personal "vesania" is a strange form of chastity: at one time the speaker would have responded to the girl's love; now his new "vice" (vitium) drives him to reject eros altogether. At the core of the speaker's decision is again the recognition of love's danger- ous ambivalence: "o res digna nota!
At times, they used their poems to confront difficult matters from a particular authorized, but daring, point of view. Not surprisingly for admirers of Ovid and Horace who were also teachers, they wrote about eros, recovering erotic material from the classics and analyzing the workings of eros in their own world. Imaginative play with classical myth and poetry provided them with one key to understanding eros in the life of the wise and educated man. They recognized the danger eros posed to an ordered and moral life, described the erotic power of male and female bodies, and observed the strug- gle between learning and erotic desire.
Milo's culpa is not his erotic desire, but the inappropriate ways he acts on it, which waste his forces and gain him nothing. Immediately after these lines, Fulcoius provides another ambiguous vision of eros, now with Dido as the subject: The Classicists of Northern France 29 lure furit Dido: Venus urget, agitque Cupido. Hinc deus, inde dea: sola resistet ea? Est ueniale quidem cum sit bonus et malus idem. Tela, uenena, dapes dant quoque lumen apes. [Dido rightly rages: Venus impels her and Cupid drives her.