The story of France's great medieval knight
La Chanson de Roland derives from an eight-century story, though it was written down almost four centuries later. It is the most famous French war poem from the oral tradition.
Based on events in history, Count Roland's story involves Charlemagne's campaign to annex the part of Spain, Saragossa, that is ruled by the Saracen leader Marsile. As the French king's army enters the mountain pass at Roncevaux, Roland and his men are overwhelmingly outnumbered. The story's vivid descriptions allow the reader almost to hear the knights' swords clanging and Roland's miraculous horn, the Olivant, trumpeting a warning to the French armies.
This retelling of La Chanson de Roland has been specially adapted and abridged for intermediate French-language students. This new edition features prereading sections that encourage students to use their prior knowledge and critical thinking skills to make their own connection to the story. Each section is followed by comprehension questions that ensure student understanding, including Travail de réflexion questions that promote lively classroom discussion. In addition, footglosses define unusual terms that have been collected, along with other words, in the French-English Vocabulaire at the back of the book.
This adaptation in prose reproduces the key episodes of the original version, so that students can gain a full appreciation of why La Chanson de Roland continues to be a great work of world literature.