|Opening of the Roman de la Rose, MS Douce 195, late 15th c.|
I've been teaching the allegorical dream poem, the Roman de la Rose, for the past two weeks and it may slowly be having its effect on me. This is my fourth time teaching it, and I think that I finally have a grip on how to teach the images in conjunction with the text, on the ethics of readership issues (how do you read misogyny? what do you do with the knowledge of bad/sad things?), and maybe even on at least how to outline problems of interpretation: must we mean what we say? the repercussions of straight or queer readings, of face value or satirical approaches. The authorship of dreams is so mysterious - somewhere between Freud and Scipio (and Cicero and Macrobius) identities and desires flicker. We want to know why we dream what we do; we'd love to know that we write the scripts. But we also know that we are not in the realm of complete consciousness, that we have left our fulsome subjectivities. And so what we wish for enters, sometimes feeling more real than the denial of the wish that reality itself insists upon. To see my father laughing and relaxed in body, to feel his delight in the midst of jovial company, to know him to be enveloped in warm welcome - it was more than a gift: it was abundant and glad, and (and I do love to continue to think this, and it does provide me with this lasting secret joy), reality was none the wiser.