translated by Glyn Burgess
The Mater Amabilis™ high school plans recommend The Song of Roland for the first term's epic in Level 5 Year 2 (tenth grade).
This Penguin Classics translation had reasonably good reviews online and was available from PaperBackSwap.com. I haven't read any other translations, but this one was enjoyable and reasonably easy to follow while still reflecting some of the anachronisms of the medieval French. There's also an appendix of much of the French for the ambitious few.
You can find many excellent summaries of the poem online. What you'll find here is our schedule for the poem and a list of the questions from our exam. I'm not an expert on medieval literature or the writing of exam questions, but they may be at least a place to start for any other Mater Amabilis™ families.
The portion of the introduction assigned on the first day gives an overview of the action of the poem, which I thought would help First Son follow the events. The readings here seem of a reasonable length and are meant to be narrated each day. Finishing in seven weeks allows more time for Paradise Lost, which I anticipate being a more difficult read for First Son.
1. Introduction pp 10 (start with last paragraph) - 13 (end of page) AND stanzas 1-26
2. stanzas 27-52
1. stanzas 53-78
2. stanzas 79-92
1. stanzas 93-116
2. stanzas 117-140
1. stanzas 141-161
2. stanzas 162-182
1. stanzas 183-203
2. stanzas 204-227
1. stanzas 228-268
2. stanzas 269-298 (end of poem)
Test on The Song of Roland
1. Who is Ganelon? What does he do and what happens to him?
2. Who is Roland? What does he do in the poem?
3. Who is Charlemagne? What does he do in the poem?
4. Does Turpin fit your image of a Catholic archbishop? Explain.
5. Describe how the will of God is seen by the poet in the events of the poem.
6. What does The Song of Roland tell you about how medieval Christians thought about Muslims and Islam?
7. Compare and contrast the battles in The Song of Roland with those in The Iliad.
8. Describe your favorite part of The Song of Roland.
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