I liked most of this very much. It is a complete philosophical theory of life written with lovely language. However, at some points I found it annoyin...moreI liked most of this very much. It is a complete philosophical theory of life written with lovely language. However, at some points I found it annoying that the prophet was a supposed expert on all aspects of life. Not because a prophet couldn't be, but because I couldn't help but be aware that the prophet is simply a mouthpiece for the author, who is just a man. The prophet is speaking to those who take his word as authority, and so there is no argument as to why what he propounds as the right way to live is right the right way. It's up to the reader to either feel it or not. Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn't. Nonetheless, it is quite beautiful.(less)
8-19-2011 I just finished The Song of Roland. I had read 2/3rds of it last weekend and finished it today. It's so gory and simple. I found it interesti...more8-19-2011 I just finished The Song of Roland. I had read 2/3rds of it last weekend and finished it today. It's so gory and simple. I found it interesting, but I don't find any love in my heart or admiration for Roland or Charlemagne or any of the characters. Except, maybe a little for Oliver. Roland seemed like an arrogant jerk. I found a really fun edition of it in the library, printed in 1938 for "The Limited Edition Club" translated by Charles Scott Moncrieff and introduction by Hamish Miles. It is a hardcover and has illustrations by Valenti Angelo done after the style of medieval illuminations at the beginning of each section. They are cute. I think my very favorite part of the edition is an insert pasted in the back of "The Heritage Club Sandglass; No. VIII:19" It explains the story and brags about the edition. It's full of insights like this:
Charlemagne simply did not like Saracens. So he took his army and left his headquarters at Aix in France and crossed the Pyrenees and murdered a lot of them there Saracens. Then, having had his fun, he decided to go home." and this one If now you make the remark that you would gladly give "a Roland for an Oliver", this means that you think Roland was a foolhardy person and Oliver a wise man indeed. If however you make the remark that you will gladly take a Roland for an Oliver, this means that you think Roland was a brave hero and Oliver a confounded sissy. The latter is what Charlemagne's court thought." Guess I wouldn't have fit in with Charlemagne's court. At least according to "The Heritage Club of 595 Madison Ave. New York 22" I did think the story interesting, and I was able to envision most of the battle; something I generally find difficult. The translation isn't great poetry but it is simple enough to understand. I do wonder how the heroes of our story are able to ride from challenger to challenger unmolested and it generally seems to be one on one battle. What were all the extra Saracens doing while they watched their leaders getting skewered y Roland & co.? It sort of negates the advantage of their higher numbers - no wonder they were massacred. XCIII ... When Rollant hears, what rage he has, by God! His steed he spurs, gallops with great effort; He goes, that count, to strike with all his force, The shield he breaks, the hauberk's seam unsews, Slices the heart, and shatters up the bones, All of the spine he severs with that blow, And with his spear the soul from body throws, So well he's pinned, he shakes in the air that corse, On his spear's hilt he's flung it from the horse: So in two halves Aelroth's neck he broke, ...
That's what I mean by gory and simple, but quite easy to imagine. I'm pretty interested in learning more about the historical context of this story. Next library day I should get some history books about Roland and/or about Charlemagne. (less)
There were some poems I really liked, some I didn't get, and some in the middle. My favorite was a traditional lullabye for girls called, "She Will Ga...moreThere were some poems I really liked, some I didn't get, and some in the middle. My favorite was a traditional lullabye for girls called, "She Will Gather Roses" [Tsimshian:]. I liked "This is No Movie of Noble Savages" a modern poem by Adrian C. Louis. I also enjoyed reading the shaped poems in different ways.(less)