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"Nostre Français n'unt talent de fuïr": The Song of Roland and the Enculturation of a Warrior Class

Benton, John F. (1979) "Nostre Français n'unt talent de fuïr": The Song of Roland and the Enculturation of a Warrior Class. Olifant, 6 (3-4). pp. 237-258.

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[Introduction] During the German siege of Paris in December 1870, a learned and patriotic medievalist, Gaston Paris, delivered a set of lectures at the Collège de France on La Chanson de Roland et la nationalité française. It would now be timely for a specialist in contemporary history and literature to prepare another study on the Song of Roland and modern nationalism, particularly in the period of World War I. Influential historians have blamed the newspapers and the popular press for inflaming public opinion on the eve of the Great War. That "yellow journalism" helped to indoctrinate the masses who marched enthusiastically to war cannot be doubted, but scholars and professors also played their part in the movement, and while the press harangued the future foot soldiers, the academic elite was addressing the officer class. Every poilu knew about Joan of Arc, but the officers had also learned in their lycées of the valor of the heroes of Roncevaux. While the greater part of this paper is devoted to the social and political values conveyed by the Chanson in the Middle Ages, the use of literature to buttress values can conveniently be illustrated by some reference to the Song in more modern times.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription ItemSocial Science Working Paper 279
Additional Information:A former publication of the American-Canadian Branch of the Société Rencesvals, Olifant published articles dedicated to the study of the Romance epic from 1973 to 2012. This is a revised version of a paper presented on October 6, 1978 at the conference Roncevaux 778-1978 held at the Pennsylvania State University. The author wishes to express his gratitude to the organizers and the participants at that fruitful gathering. In addition, he owes special thanks to Professor Joseph J. Duggan of the University of California at Berkeley for generous bibliographic and critical assistance, and to Professor James W. Greenlee of Northern Illinois University for primary research on modern aspects of the topic. Besides the older, standard tools of Roland scholarship, I have made extensive and generally unacknowledged use of Duggan’s A Guide to Studies on the "Chanson de Roland," Research Bibliographies and Checklists, 15 (London, 1976) with mimeographed supplements supplied by the compiler, and Gerard J. Brault, The Song of Roland: An Analytical Edition, 2 vols. (University Park, Pa., and London, 1978).
Issue or Number:3-4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171016-141954381
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82383
Deposited By: Katherine Johnson
Deposited On:16 Oct 2017 21:29
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:53

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