chapter  IV
The King's Right Hand: The Vulgate Merlin
Pages 34

The first romance text completely dedicated to Merlin was that

of Robert de Boron (late twelfth century), which was intended to

serve as the central text of a Grail trilogy. Only 504 lines of the

verse text survive,* but the prose Merlin texts incorporate the

story. Alexandre Micha has edited the core of Robert's narrative

(in prose), which Micha ends with Arthur's crowning, eliminating the

divergent continuations (Robert de Boron, Merlin, 293-302). This

chapter and the next will deal with two of the continuations,

generally known as the Vulgate and Huth Merlins, as well as the

shared base from Robert. The Vulgate continuation is important

because it completes the great cycle of Arthurian texts ranging from

L'Estoire dou Graal through the Merlin, Lancelot, Queste, to the

Mort Artu. The Huth text, while surviving incomplete, has been

pointed to as Malory's chief source for the relevant books of his

work, and it forms part of another cycle J.D. Bruce calls the

"Pseudo-Robert" and, more recently, Fanni Bogdanow terms "the post-

Vulgate Roman du GraaV' (11). This cycle is similar to the Vulgate

in story line, though it emphasizes different characters and

2 events.