Merlin Romancier: Paternity, Prophecy, and Poetics in the
The first pages of the Huth Merlin present the reader with a series of scenes in which the principal themes are birth and its consequences. Merlin, the constitutive character of the novel, is an illegitimate son conceived from the fraudulent union of an incubus and a virtuous woman. The legacy of his father is the ability to know “les choses dites, faites, et alees”1 (things said, done and past); but because of his mother’s virtue, he receives divine grace and counterbalances the diabolic aspects of his heritage. Knowledge of all things past is accompanied in the wizard by a prodigious clairvoyance, the gift of God. There is thus in Merlin a mixture of perceptions equivalent to cognitive totality: the past, the present, and the future are combined within him in such a fashion that there is no speakable link between them.