Merlin: Knowledge and Power through the Ages
Available in NOVEMBER, 288 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4, 25 halftones
Knight argues that Merlin in all his guises represents a conflict basic to Western societies-the clash between knowledge and power. While the Merlin story varies over time, the underlying structural tension remains the same whether it takes the form of bard versus lord, magician versus monarch, scientist versus capitalist, or academic versus politician. As Knight sees it, Merlin embodies the contentious duality inherent to organized societies. In tracing the applied meanings of knowledge in a range of social contexts, Knight reveals the four main stages of the Merlin myth: Wisdom (early Celtic British), Advice (medieval European), Cleverness (early modern English), and Education (worldwide since the nineteenth century). If a wizard can be captured within the pages of a book, Knight has accomplished the feat.
Reviews"Merlin is probably the most familiar character in the Arthurian legends, as his frequent appearances in popular culture attest. Stephen Knight's wide-ranging, thorough, insightful, and comprehensive study of the figure of Merlin should become the standard resource on the well-known wizard. Knight shows real familiarity with the major traditions relating to the figure of Merlin and to Arthurian literature in general-which is no mean feat when covering such a large body of material."—Alan Lupack, University of Rochester, author of The Oxford Guide to Arthurian Literature and Legend
"Stephen Knight's interpretations of the Arthurian sources and characters are provocative and stimulating. Knight displays much erudition herein and evaluates the literary material in new and interesting ways."—Christopher A. Snyder, Marymount University, author of The Britons and The World of King Arthur