A treat for Melbourne medievalists: Friday, 29th June at 4.00 pm...
Professor Stephen Knight
“Marvellous Merlin: Knowledge and Power, from Cumbria to Baghdad”
This paper will look at the meanings, and the changes of meanings, focused by the figure of Merlin. Originally a British Celtic sage known as Myrddin, he set out on a long journey of signification. Renamed as Merlin, he was an adviser to medieval monarchs, then a figure of the renaissance mage, then a symbol of poetic inspiration then, poor fellow, an educator to the modern lordly, whether kings or individuals. Merlin has always represented the type of knowledge that is most valued by the dominant power, but there is also a recurrent tension that causes difficulties for Merlin, as power seeks to appropriate but not be controlled by knowledge. Professor Merlin has a lot to tell us today.
Stephen Knight is Research Professor in English Literature at Cardiff University, Wales. Formerly he worked at Sydney University and the ANU and was Professor in English at Melbourne 1987-92. He has written widely on medieval and modern literature, specialising on Chaucer, Robin Hood, Crime Fiction and Welsh fiction, and is currently working on the politics of the myth of Merlin (and Myrddin). He is the author of Continent of Mystery: A Thematic History of Australian Crime Fiction (University of Melbourne Press, 1977), and his most recent books are Robin Hood: A Mythic Biography (Cornell University Press, 2003) and A Hundred Years of Fiction: Writing Wales in English (University of Wales Press, 2004).
Friday 29 June 2007, 4.00-5.00 pm
216B, Large Seminar Room
West Tower, John Medley Building
This seminar is free of charge and open to all staff, students and members of the public.
School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne