We are a little behind on our reading schedule (due to some family illness), so we are just beginning to read "The Song of Roland." This will be one of our first Medieval Literature stories.
"The Song of Roland (French: La Chanson de Roland) is the oldest surviving major work of French literature. It exists in various different manuscript versions, which testify to its enormous and enduring popularity in the 12th to 14th centuries. The oldest of these versions is the one in the Oxford manuscript, which contains a text of some 4,004 lines (the number varies slightly in different modern editions) and is usually dated to the middle of the twelfth century (between 1140 and 1170). The epic poem is the first and most outstanding example of the chanson de geste, a literary form that flourished between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries and celebrated the legendary deeds of a hero." - Wikipedia
Read the entire entry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_of_roland
There are a number of translations for this text available online. I have linked to several below. Feel free to read which ever text you find enjoyable. Sparknotes.com offers a free online study guide with some background and plot summaries -- good to use for review.
From the Medieval Internet sourcebook (O'Hagan trans.)
From Harvard Classics (O'Hagan trans.)
From Sunsite (UC Berkeley - Moncreif trans.)
Librivox (Moncreif trans) - Audio
Schedule of Readings
I have adjusted our readings since we lost two weeks between reading Heloise's Letter and the start of this poem.
The Song of Roland
Verses I - LXXXVII
Verses LXXXVIII - CLXI
September 28-October 2
Verses CLXII - CCXXXIII
Verses CCXXXIV -CCXCI
I will be posting study questions as we move through this story. Enjoy!
Update - November 9, 2009
Our readers are behind, so we are going to stay with this poem for a few more weeks. If you are just joining us, feel free to begin with this study!