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Merlin, rémanences contemporaines d’un personnage littéraire médiéval dans la production culturelle francophone (fin 20e siècle et début 21e siècle) : origines et pouvoirs

Abstract : The character Merlin, was born a long time ago from Welsh chronicles. Its literary origins go back to texts from the 12th century, first in Latin, then in French, in which he becomes Arthur’s famous adviser and acquires a great reputation among readers. Today, nine centuries later, the traditional Merlin is reborn, after Romanticism has forgotten him. The hero is still making us dream. He has become the main character of many works of the current francophone cultural production. This work analyses the contemporary persistence of the literary figure of medieval Merlin through two main themes: the origins and the powers. As a first step, a table of the medieval hero’s portrait is made according to the study of a novel’s corpus showing Merlin in the Middle Ages. Then, based on this table, whose structure builds the study plan, the hero’s contemporary persistence is analysed in detail through a corpus composed of elements from literature, cinema, theatre, comic books and Internet. The study of the origins (which includes the themes of the conception and the Woodwose or wildman’s tradition) shows mostly a modification of Merlin’s creator status, the devil, which is rationalized, paganised or deleted. This change is made to give importance to the Woodwose’s tradition, which already existed in the Middle Ages, but has become dominant in contemporary corpus. A detailed analysis of the Christian depreciation explains these narratological changes, which also affects the theme of powers (which includes the vision, the control over time and the control over space). In addition to their de-Christianization, the powers are considerably modernized thanks to the techniques of the various media. Consequently, they are demystified, which allows a finer identification with the reader-viewer. Thus, Merlin has become reachable, he does not scare any more like in the Middle Ages where his diabolical origin made him doubtful. He appears as a spokesman of a return to nature, as he had already been in the early medieval texts before his message was lost under the weight of the Christian domination. But today more than ever, the world needs examples, models to respect and love nature, whose future seems threatened. Merlin is the ideal messenger of a " naturist " conception of life and world. The contemporary writers understand this. Through his connection to the medieval world and his revisited portrait by the contemporary cultural production, Merlin attracts us, he makes us dream while reminding us of our own being through identification with this extraordinary character
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Submitted on : Monday, March 8, 2010 - 11:09:25 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00462016, version 1



Gaëlle Zussa. Merlin, rémanences contemporaines d’un personnage littéraire médiéval dans la production culturelle francophone (fin 20e siècle et début 21e siècle) : origines et pouvoirs. Littératures. Université Paris-Est, 2008. Français. ⟨NNT : 2008PEST0051⟩. ⟨tel-00462016⟩



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