Swift yet resonant, this masterful new verse translation conveys the immediacy, intimacy, and power of this greatest of Old French epic poems. John DuVal approaches the unadorned syntax of The Song of Roland in straightforward modern English, attuned to the nuance and detail of the narrative and the poetry of the original text.
In his concise but thorough general Introduction, David Staines traces the origins of the poem and its reception in medieval society, discusses its content and its themes, and in clear, accessible prose illuminates the epic poem’s chivalric spirit.
Footnotes provide glosses on events, characters, and medieval terms. Endnotes discuss editorial and translational issues. This edition also includes a selected bibliography, a map, and a glossary and index. An appendix provides the entire text of the Old French original.
About the Author
John DuVal is Professor of English at the University of Arkansas.
David Staines is Professor of English at the University of Ottawa.
What People are Saying About This
The true poetry of the most well-known French epic springs vividly to life here in an entirely new way. DuVal's unique translation captures the meter and assonance of the original at the same time that it conveys the breathless pace, as simple as it is complex, of one of the most moving tales of all time. One can hear—and feel—the singer of tales speaking to us today. I cannot wait to teach this text in the classroom.
—Jody Enders (University of California, Santa Barbara)