chapter  III
Merlin Beatified: The Vita Merlini
Pages 11

With respect to later Arthurian literature, the Vita Merlini

(VM), written approximately ten to fifteen years after the HRB, has

negligible importance. But although the contents are relatively

obscure, the attitudes and portraits the work reveals are

significant. The overview of Celtic vitae in Chapter 1 gives a

basic grounding in the type of local tradition Geoffrey might have

known, and the VM can be treated (as the title invites, whether of

Geoffrey's concoction or not) essentially as a "secular saint's

life." The Norman period would later produce other secular, if

somewhat fictionalized, lives of prominent men, such as that of

William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke.* The VM, however, is a unique

piece, treating material garnered from the saints' life tradition

together with secular tradition; the technique is (perhaps not

sarprisingly) much like that of the HRB, with Its combination of

legitimate sources and authorial imagination to create a new type of

work.