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The Song of Roland

by Turoldus, Anonymous (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,879371,837 (3.65)102
"A new verse translation of the "Song of Roland" intended to introduce readers to epic chanting by providing a sense of the form and feel of original performance; includes introduction, glosary and bibliography"--Provided by publisher.
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» See also 102 mentions

English (33)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
La Chanson de Roland, Old French epic poem that is probably the earliest chanson de geste and is considered the masterpiece of the genre. The poem’s probable author was a Norman poet, Turold, whose name is introduced in its last line.

The poem takes the historical Battle of Roncesvalles (Roncevaux) in 778 as its subject. Though this encounter was actually an insignificant skirmish between Charlemagne’s army and Basque forces, the poem transforms Roncesvalles into a battle against Saracens and magnifies it to the heroic stature of the Greek defense of Thermopylae against the Persians in the 5th century bc.

The poem opens as Charlemagne, having conquered all of Spain except Saragossa, receives overtures from the Saracen king and sends the knight Ganelon, Roland’s stepfather, to negotiate peace terms. Angry because Roland proposed him for the dangerous task, Ganelon plots with the Saracens to achieve his stepson’s destruction and, on his return, ensures that Roland will command the rear guard of the army when it withdraws from Spain. As the army crosses the Pyrenees, the rear guard is surrounded at the pass of Roncesvalles by an overwhelming Saracen force. Trapped against crushing odds, the headstrong hero Roland is the paragon of the unyielding warrior victorious in defeat.

The composition of the poem is firm and coherent, the style direct, sober, and, on occasion, stark. Placed in the foreground is the personality clash between the recklessly courageous Roland and his more prudent friend Oliver (Olivier), which is also a conflict between divergent conceptions of feudal loyalty. Roland, whose judgment is clouded by his personal preoccupation with renown, rejects Oliver’s advice to blow his horn and summon help from Charlemagne. On Roland’s refusal, the hopeless battle is joined, and the flower of Frankish knighthood is reduced to a handful of men. The horn is finally sounded, too late to save Oliver, Turpin, or Roland, who has been struck in error by the blinded Oliver, but in time for Charlemagne to avenge his heroic vassals. Returning to France, the emperor breaks the news to Aude, Roland’s betrothed and the sister of Oliver, who falls dead at his feet. The poem ends with the trial and execution of Ganelon. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Jan 24, 2022 |
2.5 stars
I don't seem to enjoy battle and war tragedies. I can see why it would have been popular in its time (especially with the themes of honor, betrayal, etc.), but this story just isn't for me. ( )
  ChelseaVK | Dec 10, 2021 |
Epic poem telling of the knight Roland who worked for Charlemagne and his fall at the battle of Roncevaux. Quite decent, interesting characters, magic swords etc. ( )
  wreade1872 | Nov 28, 2021 |
The 'main character' was kind of an asshole ( )
  Nikki_Sojkowski | Aug 26, 2021 |
verse translation
  lidaskoteina | Aug 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
TuroldusAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
AnonymousAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Angelo, ValentiIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Balbusso, AnnaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Balbusso, ElenaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bédier, JosephTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bengtsson, Frans G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bensi, MarioEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burgess, Glyn S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burgess, Glyn S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carlstedt, GunnarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duprez, LeifTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gautier, LéonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, DickForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jylhä, YrjöTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lo Cascio, RenzoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Luquiens, Frederick BlissTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nordenhök, JensTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rabillon, LéonceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riquer, Martín deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robertson, Howard S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sayers, Dorothy L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sayers, Dorothy L.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott Moncrieff, C. K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Segre, CesareEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smyth, Nathan A.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stengel, EdmundEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Terry, Patricia AnnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Way, Arthur S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Carlon the King, our emperor Charlemayn,
Full seven years long has been abroad in Spain...
Charles the king, our mighty emperor,

has been in Spain for all of seven years,

has won that haughty land down to the sea.
Carle our most noble Emperor and King,
Hath tarried now full seven years in Spain,
Conqu'ring the highland regions to the sea;
No fortress stands before him unsubdued,
Nor wall, nor city left, to be destroyed,

Save Sarraguce, high on a mountain set.
Carles li reis, nostre emperere magnes,

set anz tuz pleins ad estet en Espaigne:

Tresqu'en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne.
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"A new verse translation of the "Song of Roland" intended to introduce readers to epic chanting by providing a sense of the form and feel of original performance; includes introduction, glosary and bibliography"--Provided by publisher.

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Book description
38-page introduction, 2 pages on costume, 153 pages text, 2-page note.
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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