This chapter introduces the writings of several figures, each of whom used Venus as the patron deity of pleasures that devolved from reading, writing, or interpreting. Only one of the works addressed, the Roman de la Rose, is central to the modern canon. However, though for long unduly ignored, Alain de Lille's De planctu Naturae, is now on the point of achieving the recognition it deserves, both for its engagement with contemporary concerns over sex, sin, and representation and for the influence it went on to bear on later authors such as Chaucer and Spencer. The chapter considers the other three texts peripheral to literary studies—the early fifth-century Neo-Platonic De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii by Martianus Capella, Remigius of Auxerre's ninth-century commentary on Martianus' work, and William's Gesta regum Anglorum. A wider critical acknowledgment of the first in particular is a matter of some urgency.
Keywords: patron deity, literary studies, Venus, Roman de la Rose, Neo-Platonic, classical past