The Song of Roland

The Song of Roland Cover

The Song of Roland

By W. S. Merwin; W. S. Merwin (Translator)

Modern Library, Paperback, 9780375757112, 160pp.

Publication Date: February 13, 2001


A contemporary prose rendering of the great medieval French epic, The Song of Roland is as canonical and significant as the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf. It extols the chivalric ideals in the France of Charlemagne through the exploits of Charlemagne's nephew, the warrior Roland, who fights bravely to his death in a legendary battle. Against the bloody backdrop of the struggle between Christianity and Islam, The Song of Roland remains a vivid portrayal of medieval life, knightly adventure, and feudal politics. The first great literary works of a culture are its epic chronicles, those that create simple hero-figures about whom the imagination of a nation can crystallize, observed V. S. Pritchett.

The Song of Roland is animated by the crusading spirit and fortified by national and religious propaganda. This edition features W. S. Merwin's glowing, lyrical translation.

About the Author
W. S. Merwin was born in New York City in 1927 and grew up in Union

City, New Jersey, and in Scranton, Pennsylvania. From 1949 to 1951 he

worked as a tutor in France, Portugal, and Majorca. He has since lived in

many parts of the world, most recently on Maui in the Hawaiian Islands.

His many books of poems, prose, and translations are listed at the

beginning of this volume. He has been the recipient of many awards and

prizes, including the Fellowship of the Academy of American Poets (of

which he is now a Chancellor), the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, and the

Bollingen Prize in Poetry; most recently he has received the Governor's

Award for Literature of the state of Hawaii, the Tanning Prize for mastery in

the art of poetry, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award, and the

Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.

Praise For The Song of Roland

"The Song of Roland is not a chance assembly of popular tales: it is a deliberate and masterly work of art."