Who Is Stephen Knight's Merlin: Knowledge And Power Through The Ages?

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Merlin: Knowledge and Power through the Ages. By Stephen Knight. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009. xvii + 275 pages. $27.95 cloth.

Merlin: Knowledge and Power through the Ages is an observation of Merlin and his different forms in the variety of literature written about him. In the books, films, poems, etc. written about him he is seen as a figure of knowledge. Knight follows the myth of Merlin and goes back to his earliest roots as the early Welsh figure of Myrddin. He traces the images of Merlin through the centuries of literature written about him. He starts by taking a look at Geoffrey of Monmouth’s rendition of Merlin in History of the Kings of Britain. Knight also touches on French and German myths and brings the audience to the present. He discusses Merlin in popular literature, film, and television arguing that his many personas represent the friction between knowledge and power in Western society. He stresses that although Merlin’s image changes throughout the literature the underlying issues are still the same no matter
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Knight primarily focuses on the French and how Merlin’s authority ranges among the spiritual, military, and political spheres. He explains that Merlin goes through a sort of rebirth by Geoffrey and even in the Arthurian legend he is cast differently as well. It is during this period that the characters of the Arthurian legend come to be. Knight looks at Robert de Boron, who was a Burgundian writer, and his rendition of Merlin. In his imagination Merlin becomes a Christian authority. He has more authority and is able to find new ways to apply his knowledge. He is depicted as a knowledgable figure but also a trickster in his cunning ways. Knight looks into Merlin’s role as a supervisory role in the England mythos. Knight argues that in Merlin’s recreation he becomes more of an overseer

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