Monday, September 14, 2009

The Song of Roland

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:


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. 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.

September 14-18
The Song of Roland
Verses I - LXXXVII

September 21-25

September 28-October 2

October 5-9

Study Questions

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!