Link between Ariosto & ancient chansons de geste. Cinque Canti ends with disaster for Charlemagne. Echoes that ur-chanson, the Chanson de Roland (many of Ariosto's characters - in both Cinque Canti & Orlando Furioso - are drawn from the geste-legends around Charlemagne).

Mandelstam, in Voronezh, was reading Old French epics about Guillaume d'Orange (ie. Guillem de Gellone), one of Charlemagne's officers.

What does all this have to do with anything?

Good question. I dunno.

The atmosphere in some of these poems is one of anxiety & dread. One of their pervasive themes is the conflict (& the interrelations) between Islam & Christendom. Very old things & very new things - & old threads taken up from poet to poet.

Plus reading this kind of thing helps me avoid my contemporaries & the youngsters.

[Plus - & I'm sorry to repeat myself - I can trace my ancestry through my maternal grandmother's family back to Guillem de Gellone.]

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