Book Series La Chanson de Roland - The Song of Roland: The French Corpus

The Song of Roland: Translations of the Versions in Assonance and Rhyme of the Chanson de Roland

Joseph J. Duggan, Annalee Rejhon

  • Pages: 519 p.
  • Size:155 x 210 mm
  • Language(s):English, French
  • Publication Year:2012

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54464-9
  • Hardback
  • Available


« Travail de qualité, précis et solide, ce volume comble admirablement une lacune en mettant à la disposition d’un large public anglophone une version différente de celle d’Oxford, permettant ainsi une approche plus informée d’un des plus grands textes de notre littérature française. » (Françoise Denis, in : French Studies (2013) 67 (3), p. 394)

"Joseph J. Duggan deserves great praise for recruiting and international team of seasoned and respected scholars - (...) - who earlier published a long-awaited set of the entire French corpus. Like the work under review here, it is characterized by sound editorial judgment and analysis." (Gerard J. Brault, in: The Medieval Review, 13.03.09)

"(...) The Song of Roland réussit, non seulement à rendre accessibles ces deux poèmes aux lecteurs anglophones du XXIe s., mais aussi - comme le souhaitent les traducteurs (p. 19) - à réévoquer, du moins en partie, les sentiments d'un public médiéval écoutant chanter la geste pour la première fois." (Phyllis Gaffney, dans: Cahiers de Civilisation Médiévale, tome 57, n° 227, 2014, p. 318-320)


Despite its status as a masterpiece of world literature, the Song of Roland has only been available in English in translations based on the Oxford manuscript whose text dates to around 1100. But the medieval corpus of the Roland consists of seven substantial manuscripts, two in assonance and five in rhyme. The only complete text among the rhymed versions is found in two manuscripts housed respectively in Châteauroux and Venice, and thus known as CV7, which has never before been translated into a modern language. CV7 dates to the end of the twelfth century. It introduces five new episodes and expands others substantially, transforming the substance and sense of the narrative. The role of Aude is recomposed, raising her standing to one of the most important characters in the poem.  Students of the epic and those taking courses on medieval literature and history will experience the vitality and mutability of the genre in the course of the century in which many of the great French epics and romances were composed. 

The present volume contains complete translations of Oxford and CV7, plus an introduction, notes, and indices of proper names and place-names that pertain to both texts.

Joseph J. Duggan is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.  His principal publications are on medieval epic and romance, the poetry of the troubadours, and the textual criticism of medieval texts.  He is the general editor of the edition of all the French versions of the Chanson de Roland, which was published in 2005.

Annalee C. Rejhon is Lecturer in the Department of Scandinavian (Celtic Studies Program) and the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She writes on medieval French texts preserved in Middle Welsh.  She has published editions of Cân Rolant, the medieval Welsh version of the Chanson de Roland, and of the Paris version of the Chanson de Roland.




The Oxford Version

The Châteauroux-Venice 7 Version


Index of Personal Names

Index of Place-Names