By Thomas C. Moser Jr.

Thomas C. Moser, Jr. explores the attention-grabbing physique of medieval Latin erotic poetry present in English manuscripts. His learn describes the highbrow and social context from which the nice erotic songs of the 12th century emerged, and examines various erotic poems, from tuition workouts to the significant lyrics present in Arundel 384. He additionally illuminates the impact of neoplatonic philosophy in this poetry, explicating key neoplatonic texts and utilising 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 center English literature will locate that it fills a huge hole in our figuring out 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, university Park.

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Let the taci- turn, bitter, and austere man be an exile in the woods and let him wish to be a companion to Hyrcanian tigers. ]38 30 A COSMOS OF DESIRE Odo banishes to the wintry woods those humorless contemporaries who reject the classical past for its religious errors. The grace and moderation Odo shows in his own character-his "facies mitis" and "clemens," his "forma modesta" are reflected in the style and content of carmina that avoid anything "quod corda oneret, quod pregrauet aurem" [that would oppress the heart, that would burden the ear]; permit neither "aspera, difficilis obscenaque dictio" [harsh, difficult, and obscene speech] nor the "turpis hiatus" [deformed hiatus]; and strive to flow "lepido, facili, pronoque...

Daughter of Fulco, glory of Brittany, Beautiful, pure, refined, bright, renowned, fresh, Had you not experienced the marriage bed, and birth pains, To my judgment you would be able to be Diana.... In the flock of brides, you may be thought one of the goddesses, 38 A COSMOS OF DESIRE First even among the first, oh, most beautiful one! . ]68 Such lines are the hybrid result of Marbod's efforts to renew ancient poetry: Ovidian distiches modernized by internal rhyme and a countess who combines the qualities of a Diana with the Christian virtues a cleric might imagine for a contemporary aristocratic woman.

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.

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