Contents Index

the heroes of Roncesvalles

Why Mary Shelley felt it important to alter the legendary materials loved by Clerval is unknown. It may simply be dictated by a change in the conditions of her culture. Although Roland, the hero of Roncesvalles, is identical with the title character of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso (one of the books specified in 1818), in this rendering Clerval's interest in him is more "romantic," less bookish. His other literary passions are of a similar generic kind, rather than for specific books. On the other hand, that the Battle of Roncesvalles was fought against Saracen attackers, who are also the "infidels" who held the "holy sepulchre" of Jerusalem against the crusaders in Victor's third example of their texts of romance, indicates an early manifestation of the interest in eastern, or Mohammedan, culture Clerval will later develop.