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2. France, la chançon de geste, and the Song of Roland


  • Birth of Romance Languages
  • Language of oïl / Language of oc
  • Writing and Speaking
  • First texts in vernacular
  • Clerck vs Jongleur
  • Chanson de geste: origins, topics, trends, form and content

Song of Roland (Chanson de Roland)

  • Date (1098)
  • Manuscripts
  • Historical events
  • Close reading
  • Explore texts with AntConc


Primary Texts:

  • The Song of Roland. An Analytical Edition. Trans. Gerard J. Brault. University Park and London: Pensilvania University Press, 1978 (bilingual edition).
  • The Song of Roland, Oxford World’s Classics. Trans. Simon Gaunt and Karen Pratt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.


  1. Jay Ruud, Enclyclopedia of Medieval Literature. Facts On File: New York, 2006:
    • chansons de geste, p. 124
    • Charlemagne, p. 125-126
    • Song of Roland, pp. 594-596
  2. Michel Zink, Medieval French Literature: An Introduction. Trans. Jeff Rider. Binghamton, NY: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1995.
  3. Jane Gilbert. “The Chanson de Roland.” In: Simon Gaunt & Sarah Kay (eds). The Cambridge Companion to Medieval French Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  4. Sharon Kinoshita, “Pagans Are Wrong and Christians Are Right,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 31.1 (2001): 79-111.

Digital Sources to explore: