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Download The Song of Roland Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Song of Roland (Unabridged), by Michael A. H. Newth
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,331 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael A. H. Newth Narrator: Greg Marston, Summe Williams, Julian DouglasSmith Publisher: Italica Press Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2011 ISBN:
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The Song of Roland is acknowledged today as the first masterpiece of French vernacular literature and one of the world's greatest epic poems. Written down around the year 1090, The Song of Roland finely crafted verses tell of the betrayal and defeat of Charlemagne's beloved nephew at the Pass of Roncevaux in the Pyrenees and of the revenge subsequently sought on his behalf. Although the identity of the surviving work's author cannot be known with certainty, his poetic genius cannot be doubted. His mastery of chanson de geste compositional techniques transformed an historically minor military setback - the ambush and slaughter of the great emperor's rearguard by a band of Basque highlanders in August 778 - into the most immediately popular and subsequently cherished artistic expression of medieval chivalry, kingship, national pride, feudal and Christian service in the Western world. The earliest extant example of a medieval chanson de geste (song of deeds), The Song of Roland's 4,000 lines represent the most famous literary celebration of Carolingian mythology from the Middle Ages.

Michael Newth's new verse translation of the Chanson de Roland - the first in English in over 50 years to preserve the full poetic diction of the medieval composition - recaptures the form, feel and flow of the original work in performance by restoring the genre's verbal music to the The Song of Roland. This translation of the Chanson de Roland meets the need for a new version of the great poem for English readers of the 21st century, and it also highlights its potential as a viable piece of performance art. The audio book includes brief selections of medieval music interspersed between various sections.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ian | 2/19/2014

    " My favourite translation of Roland remains the one available for free on Project Gutenberg, but that hasn't stopped me from collecting various print editions over the past year. The first time I'd read Roland was the Merwin tranlation, a version which sacrifices poetry for getting to the bare bones of the story; it's hardly a chanson at this point. The upside to this is that it was much easier to understand the tale in terms of narrative. I like Sayers' more poetic approach though, being familiar with the story I can now appreciate the truly beautiful verse of the song. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 2/14/2014

    " Rereading this great prose translation by one of my favorite poets for my class's project on epic heroes from around the world. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aimee | 2/6/2014

    " Ok, so a lot of contemporary readers get hung up on the whole Christian vs Muslim ideology. Putting that aside, however, there's lots to enjoy (even in translation): battles, brotherhood, men willing to swoon and faint and pour their hearts out, not just physically. Also, lots of time and description spent on swords and battle gear. Anyone who's anyone's decked out in gold & rubies; and, they name their swords. (The edition I read was actually the Glyn Burgess translation. It has a useful glossary & key passages in the original archaic French for reference.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 1/24/2014

    " A Medieval epic dating from c 1100. Translated by Dorothy Sayers who was the author of the Peter Wimsey novels. The epic is full of battles, traitors and vengeance. Comparable to the Arthurian legends as well as The Niebelungenlied. This is an easy read and a great introduction to the genre. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caeuj | 1/7/2014

    " also for college! i loved this book "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanna | 12/31/2013

    " Interesting read. As a classical studies student, fun to read with comparisons to Homer & Virgil in mind. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark Adderley | 12/28/2013

    " There's not much to say about The Song of Roland. It's a great epic, of course. Dorothy L. Sayers' translation is a little more poetic than accurate. She also disconcertingly changes the spellings of character names for metrical reasons or else for assonance. That's confusing. The introduction is excellent, though. And, once you've got used to the name thing, the translation is very readable. I prefer Glyn S. Burgess' translation that has essentially replaced Sayers'. Perhaps it's not as literary (he doesn't try to reproduce the assonance of the original, for example), but it's also a very readable translation with an informative introduction. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie Ricker | 12/28/2013

    " An epic in Old French (translated, obviously, as I don't speak French, Old or modern), which was interesting and wholly politically incorrect by today's standards. Er, more so than your usual epic. On the whole, I prefer Beowulf, but it was still pretty great. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 12/14/2013

    " Had to read it for school, and loved it. Roland is a beast. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maxfield | 12/13/2013

    " spoiler: Roland dies. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 11/20/2013

    " As with most Penguin medieval translations, the classic French epic suffers somewhat under a mediocre interpertation. I'm not a huge fan of Roland anyways (knights should NOT swoon as often as the warriors in this poem!), but it should be better treated than this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cody Wells | 11/8/2013

    " why is this not more widely read? maybe the best picture of medieval chivalry. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew | 9/16/2013

    " This was an interesting study. I wish I could read it in the original language. I wonder how much is lost in the translation. Footnotes were helpful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Casey Nicholson | 9/13/2013

    " As an honest person I cannot say this book is bad. I cannot say this book is good. It is medieval literature and it's hard and it's intriguing and it's frustrating. I am glad I read it though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brittany Petruzzi | 8/31/2013

    " I hated this book when I read it in high school. Then I hated it in college, too, mostly because of Roland's obnoxious character qualities and the overall "Rah-rah! War!" feel of it. But then I read Gwen's thesis and it all made sense. Now I love it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nathan Spear | 11/7/2012

    " Oh, how excellently bloody a book is this! And completely ridiculous as well! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Holly | 9/15/2012

    " My version was from Harvard Classics translated by John O'Hagan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brent | 9/3/2012

    " As a professor once said, the French equivalent of King Arthur. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rob Roy | 8/24/2012

    " Interesting from a historical prospective, but a dull read. The reality is that the modern mind could care less about a brave knight's death. Instead we ask why Charlemagne invaded to begin with. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan | 7/20/2012

    " In my kick on Medieval Literature, I picked up this classic. In terms of a story, I liked Sigurd and Gudrun and The Tain better. The medieval concept of Christendom and crusade seemed to tie the gospel too much to political empire. Typical of the theology of the time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anna | 6/14/2012

    " felt it necessary to read as a french major, but didn't get super amped on it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori Ann | 6/9/2012

    " i'm reading this for medieval lit class... i'll have more of an opinion on it once i'm finished "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Charles | 4/23/2012

    " Some of this is fairly hard reading for the modern reader but it certainly is important from an historical perspective and there are some compelling images. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 3/13/2012

    " If you're in the mood for a historical epic. Go with Beowulf. Mountjoy. "

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