The OF Blog: The Matter of France, or perhaps that of Britain or Rome?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Matter of France, or perhaps that of Britain or Rome?

Here is a copy/paste of a query I just posted on a SF forum, as I am going to begin reading/re-reading later this month (as I said I would back a few months ago) some of the earliest extant literature on Roland, one of Charlemagne's twelve Paladins:

I'm about to resume work on a series of read/re-reads (and eventually, reviews) of some of the more famous early medieval to Renaissance-era stories that comprise the Matter of France (cycle of chansons, gestes, epic poems, and prose that deal with Charlemagne and his 12 Paladins). I thought I'd ask people here not just for the English, Spanish, French, and Italian translations/originals of those those tales, but if they are aware of modern-day fantasy tales that might be viewed as direct descendants of the Matter of France tales.

So, what books might be considered as heirs to that story cycle? Or could it be argued that Anglo-American fantasy lit in particular is more dependent upon the Matter of Britain (Arthur and his knights) or the Matter of Rome (ancient Greco-Roman mythology) or even the Scandinavian sagas, which were not part of the Matters 500 years ago?

So, any suggestions? Or any questions why I'm writing this at 2 AM before a long workday when I'm still sick?

6 comments:

Cheryl said...

I'll be going to a fantasy convention in France in a couple of weeks time. If you still need help them, remind me.

etrangere said...

You know, a couple of months ago I saw a discussion on the subject of the Geste de Roland in terms of how it influenced D&D early on, and it was pretty informative and interesting. Since this is only circumstantial (D&D did influence fantasy lit, of course, so there's that) to what you asked; want me to look it up if I can dig it back?

keele864 said...

The most obvious links I can think of are The Dark Tower and Stormbringer. The main character of The Dark Tower is named Roland and has a horn. Elric fights the reanimated body of Charlemagne's Roland in Stormbringer. Moorcock also features Meynard the Fox, another character from medieval French myth, in some of his books.

I tend to think Arthurian literature was more influential on modern fantasy, but certainly some fantasists are influenced by older French stuff.

I think I might have been more help here two years ago right when I'd finished a course on medieval French poetry...

keele864 said...

Have you read Einhard's Life of Charlemagne?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einhard

krobinett said...

Browning's classic Dark Tower poem - which probably serves as a bridge between Roland of the French myths and King's Dark Tower series...

keele864 said...

krobinett - You have made me feel very, very silly.

 
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