The Roman de la Rose is a work of ambivalence and paradox: recurring images and topics are handled in a contradictory manner by different speakers. These apparent oppositions spring, as Dr. Pelen argues in this important study, from an underlying structure of irony deriving from the poem's Latin models. The two traditions of irony examined are those of Ovidian love poetry, transmitted through goliardic lyric and dream visions, and of Boethian didactic, mediated by Alain de Lille. The impact of these traditions on the authors of Le Roman de la Rose is then analysed. What emerges is a stance from which the order of the poem and the unique ambition of its erotic dreamer can be better understood.