Approaches to Teaching the Song of Roland

  • Editors: William W. Kibler, Leslie Zarker Morgan
  • Pages: ix & 317 pp.
  • Published: 2006
  • ISBN: 9780873529990 (Paperback)
  • ISBN: 9780873529983 (Cloth)
Approaches to Teaching the Song of Roland Cover

“The depth and breadth of this volume are impressive, as much for the different subjects broached as for the range of specialists who participated in its creation. I particularly appreciate the attention paid, by almost all authors, to tying the Song of Roland to our contemporary world and modern artistic productions—operas, plays, movies, comics, and so on.”

—Françoise Denis, Macalester College

“The background information, the samples of how to approach this text in the academic classroom, and the handful of critical readings make this book a most welcome aid for all those who are in charge of teaching this “classical” medieval text at the university level.”

Rocky Mountain Review

Each book contains a CD featuring performances of the Song of Roland.

The Song of Roland is a well-known hallmark of medieval French literature, yet students often read only excerpts and receive general introductions to the poem and its context. The challenges of teaching Roland include its age and subject matter, its form and composition in Old French, and its representation of Christians and Muslims. This volume in the MLA series Approaches to Teaching World Literature aims to help nonspecialist instructors teach Roland more comprehensively and to offer seasoned medievalists ways to invigorate their pedagogical tactics. Part 1, “Materials,” surveys available editions, a wide range of secondary studies devoted to the poem, and electronic aids to teaching. Essays in part 2, “Approaches,” elaborate on the poem’s contexts, avatars, language techniques, and characters and episodes; describe the diverse classroom strategies that experienced instructors have implemented; and review the voluminous critical canon about the poem.

The musical quality of the Song of Roland is vital for students to grasp. A compact disc accompanying the volume showcases reconstructions of sung performances of the Song of Roland in Old French. The examples offered here illuminate the rich quality of Roland’s archaic language and demonstrate a few efforts to recover its lost music. Paired with performances of Roland are melodies used as models for singing the poem.

Matthew Bailey
George T. Beech
Philip E. Bennett
Patricia Black
Gerard J. Brault
Mark Burde
Kimberlee Campbell
Alice M. Colby-Hall
Robert Francis Cook
Kelly DeVries
Joseph J. Duggan
Ann W. Engar
Jane E. Everson
Edward A. Heinemann
Catherine M. Jones
Sharon Kinoshita
Emanuel Mickel
Ellen Peel
Lynn T. Ramey
Joel T. Rosenthal
Mary Jane Schenck
Ian Short
Deborah M. Sinnreich-Levi
Barbara Stevenson
Margaret Switten
Patricia Terry
Eugene Vance
Michelle R. Warren