chapter  2
31 Pages

Merlin: Prophet and Magician

In his synthesis of contemporary studies on Arthurian tradition, J.D.Bruce gives an overview of the principal manifestations of the Merlin “legend” in literature.1 He emphasizes the fact that according to many scholars, among them Ward, Phillimore, Brugger, Jeanroy and Lot, Merlin should no longer be seen as representing a true Celtic tradition, but rather as the purely literary creation of clerks who consciously selected and reworked their source materials, most of them unknown. Such, at least, is the case of the texts studied here: the Welsh poems, the Historia Regum Britanniae, the Vita Merlini, Robert de Boron’s romance and its prose continuations-in short, not all the works that popularized the name of Merlin, but only those classified as narrative literature.