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Nature, Sex, and Goodness in a Medieval Literary Tradition$
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Hugh White

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198187301

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198187301.001.0001

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Further French Natures

Further French Natures

(p.139) Chapter Five Further French Natures
Nature, Sex, and Goodness in a Medieval Literary Tradition

Hugh White

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers some writings in French on which the impact of the Roman de la Rose is apparent and examines how they respond to the idea of a Nature who condones and encourages behaviour generally regarded as sinful. The inevitable tendency of the treatment of Nature in the Roman de la Rose is to promote a less than sanguine attitude to claims that what is natural is good. Given the potential moral and spiritual repercussions of such an attitude, it is no surprise that Jean Gerson was alarmed and indignant at what Jean de Meun had done to Alan's Nature'. The subversive force of the Nature of the Roman de la Rose lies in her representing, at least primarily, the animal in the human being and in thus insisting on the naturalness to the human being of an urge to reproduce.

Keywords:   Jean Gerson, Renart Ie Contrefait, Roman de la Rose, Jean de Meun, animal nature

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