Anonymous: Chanson de Roland [Song of Roland] (2900 words)


The narrative of the Chanson de Roland was one of the most widespread tales of the medieval period and an important strand in medieval popular culture. The text normally referred to as “the” Chanson de Roland is contained in a somewhat nondescript manuscript in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. The manuscript probably dates to the later twelfth century, but the poem it contains was composed around 1100. Its status as the iconic text of medieval French literature has led to extensive research and analysis, but also to quasi-political manipulation, particularly in the nineteenth century when it was presented as the French national epic. Since the discovery of this manuscript and its first edition by Francisque Michel in …

Citation: Ailes, Marianne. "Chanson de Roland". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 January 2011 [, accessed 10 April 2021.]

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