Merlin - A Thousand Heroes with One Face

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This work is an historical survey and interpretation of the complex wizard whose name was known all over Europe in the 12th century and has never been forgotten. The mythical pattern underlying Merlin's career, quite unlike that of the linear journey of the hero with a thousand faces, consists of a series of paradigmatic demonstrations of a specific power, i.e., the transformation of opposites. This study deals chronologically with Merlin's appropriations by many differing ideologies, including political, religious, psychological, and technological. Chapters deal with the medieval origins, the Renaissance, and the 18th and 19th centuries. Multiple Merlins are considered in the 20th century chapters, including T.H. White, Twain, Lewis, Cooper, Tolkien, Norton, Stewart, and LeGuin. Even more than his rival magician Faust, with whom he is contrasted in the final chapter, Merlin speaks to our age.

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