University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Wolfson College Lunchtime Seminar Series - Wednesdays of Full Term > Roland and his Enemies: a look into the scholarly debate on La Chanson de Roland, 1830-1900

Roland and his Enemies: a look into the scholarly debate on La Chanson de Roland, 1830-1900

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To a twenty-first century scholar, the reasons why Roland is a symbol of French nationalism may seem evident. In life as well as in legend, Roland was a young soldier and nephew of Charlemagne. In the eleventh-century epic poem La Chanson de Roland, the young man had the misfortune (or the honour) of dying in combat against the Unfaithful in order to preserve the moral and religious values of his sweet France. How much of this idea of Roland can be found in the original epic poem, and how much of it is a fabrication of nineteenth-century historians and literary critics whose agendas involved a whole lot more than the simple investigation of medieval texts? This talk will try to answer this question by looking at nineteenth-century editions of Roland to understand the changes in the hero as well as in the legend of Roland in light of the convoluted political history of France.

This talk is part of the Wolfson College Lunchtime Seminar Series - Wednesdays of Full Term series.

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