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Narcissus and Melancholy: René d’Anjou’s Book of the Love-Smitten Heart

  • Nicholas Ealy
Chapter
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

This chapter treats narcissism and selfhood, through the lens of melancholy, in René d’Anjou’s Book of the Love-Smitten Heart (c. 1457). Wounded by Love’s arrow upon seeing his beloved, René remains melancholic, incapable of satisfying his longing. Melancholy works to keep this wound open, creating a space where René can fixate upon his “loss” as fulfillment seems attainable. This chapter examines through text and illuminations the scenes where René’s heart (1) is removed by Love, (2) encounters the Fountain of Fortune, a spring of melancholic bile that allows him to fixate upon his beloved’s image, and (3) discovers he must submit to Love before the Diamond Mirror, a double of Narcissus’s fountain, realizing his selfhood is forever wounded by frustrated desires which, nonetheless, appear achievable.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas Ealy
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HartfordWest HartfordUSA

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