The Song of Roland
Based on the massacre in 778 of Charlemagne's rearguard at Roncesvalles in northern Spain, The Song of Roland transforms a legendary defeat into an epic clash between Christianity and paganism. At the heart of this epic poem is the account of the warrior Roland, Charlemagne's nephew and captain of his rearguard, who valiantly leads his men into battle against a vast pagan host and dies, defiant and triumphant, on a hill facing the enemy. The scene that recounts his death is one of the greatest in world literature. Recommended for grade 10. 1990, Penguin Books. 218 pp.