Posted by: Mark | July 25, 2017

The Song of Roland

I thought this would take much longer but I finished The Song of Roland.

Like most literature based on historic events, it’s not very accurate. It’s also structured much differently than
modern narratives. Roland dies in laisse (basically a stanza) 176 out of 291.Several times, the narrative repeats itself like an explosion in an action movie from different angles or incidents in the Bible. Oddly enough, the repetition is much more successful here than in the Bible.

The knights burst into tears and faint easily. Thia was written long before men were supposed to refuse to show emotions but it has an odd feel to it.

They were pretty tough. Here’s what a Muslim can expect from the French knights:

“He smashes the shield, bursts apart the hauberk, rips up the breast, crushes the bones, forces the whole backbone out through the back, and with his spear drives out the soul. He spits the Saracen on his lance, and hoisting the body into the air, flings the corpse a spear’s length from its horse, and the neck splits into two pieces.”

I’m surprised this wasn’t picked up by Islamophobes. Possibly it was ignored because of its French origin.

The poem is a quick read and I’m surprised it isn’t more popular but I imagine the religious and racial elements would make it impossible to assign in most schools.


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