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THE TALE OF CHARLEMAGNE AND RALPH THE COLLIER:
A TRANSLATION
(2007)

In 2007, I translated the 15th-century romance “The Taill of Rauf Coilyear,” a 972-line Middle Scots poem about the kerfuffle that ensues when Charlemagne, separated from his entourage by a snowstorm at Christmastime, seeks refuge in the home of a proud and irascible collier. Combining folklore motifs with burlesque humor and elements of chansons and chivalric romances, “Rauf Coilyear” is a lively tale of courtesy, hospitality, and knighthood.

My version of this little-known romance was an experiment: I wanted to see if I could imitate all 75 of the original poem’s tricky rhyming, alliterative, 13-line stanzas in a translation that was both readable and entertaining. I was delighted when scholars in New York and Scotland told me they were using the translation in their undergraduate classrooms.

The Tale of Charlemagne and Ralph the Collier is available on Amazon as a paperback and as a Kindle e-book.