Anonymous, The Floure and the Leaf

Darragh Greene (University College Dublin)
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The Floure and the Leafe

is a fifteenth-century, anonymously-authored, allegorical poem in the French courtly-love debate tradition that goes back to

Le Roman de la Rose

. The poem’s language, which locates it in the general London area, has been used to date the text to


. 1460-80 (Pearsall, 1962, 19-20; Pearsall, 1990). Written in rhyme royal stanzas, the 595-line text is notable for its female narrator – rare in Middle English poetry – and that it was for almost three centuries thought to have been authored by Geoffrey Chaucer. The poem presents a literary twist on a French courtly game, whereby in Maytime knights and ladies would follow the order of the Flower if seeking out new love or the Leaf if remaining constant to a current beloved.

There is no extant manuscript witness to

2027 words

Citation: Greene, Darragh. "The Floure and the Leaf". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 May 2021 [, accessed 13 April 2024.]

39350 The Floure and the Leaf 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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