The Song of Roland

song of roland luquiens 1970The Song of Roland, translated by Frederick Bliss Luquiens, 5/5

This epic tale of the betrayal and death of Roland at the hands of the Saracens clearly belongs in the company of other great epics, such as Gilgamesh, the Iliad and Beowulf.   There is a timelessness and inevitability to the events in this poem that make you forget for a while that mythical heroes don’t walk the earth (though villains of mythical stature seem to).  In my opinion, Luquiens’ translation in unrhymed iambic pentameter is tasteful and conveys poetic beauty without pretension.

Why I read it: one of those famous works I’d heard about but never actually read.  Update: now I’ve read two versions–here’s a link to my review of the second.

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2 comments

    • omniRambles

      After reading your comment, I did wonder until I came across lines 2094-96 in a different edition (which I will soon review): “and so says one who was there, on that field, / the baron Saint Gilles, for whom God performs miracles…”

      Like

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