Laughing: Roland in his song Cover Image

Mort de rire : Roland dans sa Chanson
Laughing: Roland in his song

Author(s): Brînduşa Grigoriu
Subject(s): History, Language and Literature Studies, Cultural history, Studies of Literature, Middle Ages, French Literature, 6th to 12th Centuries, Theory of Literature
Published by: Editura Junimea
Keywords: Roland; medieval hero; tragic irony; narrative instances; relativism; rhetorical success;
Summary/Abstract: When a sacrificial hero ascends to Heaven in the company of archangels, and yet finds the resources to laugh away the death-sentence launched by his arch-enemy, it is an epic kind of irony, involving divergent instances of narrative encoding. The Song of Roland, in the celebrated version preserved by the Oxford manuscript, proposes a polemic code of wittiness transcending the contemporary paradigms of rhetorical success. Throughout the story, a pacifist kind of relativism irradiates the lances of courtesy and banter, while the spirit of “legerie” (lightness) instills in the protagonists an overwhelming sense of the vanity of human glory and divine imperatives.