Imaging dreams in the Middle Ages: the Roman de la Rose and artistic vision, c.1275-1540
Owen, Jennifer Elizabeth Lyle
This thesis constitutes an investigation into the depiction of dreams in imagery accompanying the late-medieval manuscripts and printed editions of the Roman de la Rose. It reflects on the changing approaches to depicting dreams during the 250 years of the Rose’s popularity in central France, as well as discussing the historical theoretical understanding of the concept of dreams, and its expression in a specific Rose context. It examines the representation of dreams in a number of Rose manuscripts – in particular their prominent dreamer incipits – alongside other relevant miniatures of both a secular and religious nature. Furthermore, the alteration of trends for depicting the dream space in Rose manuscripts during the fifteenth century are also considered, as well as a case-study of the luxurious Valencia manuscript, which contains a variety of dream subjects. This is followed by a discussion of the methodology of manuscript production in the medieval period, gleaned from a number of extant Roses. This chapter underscores the important role played by artistic originality and intention in the processes of manuscript making – addressing the ‘artistic vision’ indicated in the title of this thesis. An outline of the printed editions of the Rose and their resurrection of earlier tropes of dream depiction is also included. Finally, the appendix contains a Catalogue of the Rose manuscripts studied in preparation for and throughout the production of the thesis.