The Medieval Merlin Tradition in France and Italy
Title Details

17th November 2017

223 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

Series: Gallica

Imprint: D.S.Brewer

The Medieval Merlin Tradition in France and Italy

Prophecy, Paradox, and Translatio

by Laura Chuhan Campbell

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
Ideas of translation and adaptation in the middle ages investigated through the lens of the Merlin tradition.
The medieval figure of Merlin is intriguing, enigmatic, and riddled with contradictions. Half human, half devil, he possesses a supernatural knowledge that allows him to prophesy the future. This book examines the reinterpretationof Merlin's character in French and Italian Arthurian literature, in which chivalric romance and political prophecy become increasingly intertwined. As the Merlin story crosses the fluid cultural and linguistic boundaries between vernacular dialects on either side of the Alps, the protagonist accumulates histories, futures, and discourses from multiple texts within his omniscient knowledge. From his first appearance in Geoffrey of Monmouth's HistoriaRegum Britanniae, through thirteenth-century French romance, to fifteenth-century Venice, Merlin is the voice of political and spiritual truths that originate beyond the sphere of human comprehension. The study also shows howthe conversion of Merlin's prophetic speech from his omniscient mind into human languages parallels the work of the medieval translator. At the same time, the transmission of the Merlin story between vernacular French and Italiandialects presents an alternative model of translation, one that relies not on the displacement of previous texts, but instead on the accretion of information from text to text.

Laura Chuhan Campbell is Assistant Professor of French at Durham University.
Introduction
Sympathy for a Devil? Merlin's Conception According to Robert de Boron and Paulino Pieri
Death of the Author: Merlin's Imprisonment by the Dame du Lac
Beyond The Limits of Interpretation: Rewriting Prophetic Discourse in the Estoire de Merlin and the Suite du Merlin
'Ce dit Merlin': Open and Closed Prophecies in the Italian Merlin Tradition
Conclusion
Appendix 1: Chronology of Primary Texts
Appendix 2: Summaries of the Principle Texts Discussed
Bibliography
"This book estalishes a valuable theoretical framework for a new consideration of medieval translation from a hermeneutic perspective and contributes to the debate on the French of medieval Italy." FRENCH STUDIES
"Campbell's work offers an insightful reading of French and Italian versions of Merlin's story and prophecies, focusing on reciprocal relations between vernacular languages and texts." SPECULUM

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Title Details

17th November 2017

223 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

Series: Gallica

Imprint: D.S.Brewer