Kalamazoo 2018  (May 10-13)

La SIAM y présente une session sur 

Merlin and Time - The Time of Merlins 

Myrddin, Merlin’s Welsh probable prototype, is already a diviner, or better maybe, a seer: he is able to foresee the future, including his own death, which is not, naturally, pleasant. Geoffrey of Monmouth endows his Merlinus with a gift of prophecy that makes him almost the equal of Old Testament prophets. At the same time, however, he makes him the depositary of past memories—a character at the crossroad of past and future.

The French prose Roman de Merlin (ca. 1210) capitalizes on this ambiguity: Merlin knows the past, thanks to his demon father, but also, thanks to God, “a large part of” the future. He dictates to Blaise both the “Gospel of the Grail”, as it happened during Christ’s sojourn on earth, and the future of Britain, which means the advent of Arthur and of the Chosen knight of the Grail, Galaad or Perceval. This dual talent also allows the devil’s son to control the narrative, since he knows everything that will happen and sometimes seems to confuse the present and the immediate future.

From the point of view of subsequent writers, Merlin’s knowledge is both a boon, to solve all narrative problems with a neat prophecy, and a curse, since having an omniscient character renders invalid the notion of narrative suspense. This session will address the different ways some writers, medieval or modern, have tried to represent or to interpret Merlin’s relationship to time, from straightforward prophecy to T.H. White’s bizarre but immensely popular idea that the wizard lives backward (i.e. the future is his past…).

Si cela vous tente, envoyez un titre et un résumé d’environ 150 mots à:


avant le 15 septembre 2017.

© Anne Berthelot 2014