Presenter Information

Michael Torregrossa

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Start Date

2-5-2022 3:30 PM

Description

In the 1130s, Geoffrey of Monmouth originated the character of Merlin, setting him upon the world stage as a wonder-working youth fathered (in the tradition of Greek and Latin authors of the past) by a daemon. However, later writers of the Middle Ages, beginning with Robert de Boron, reconceived Merlin within a more Christianized world, altering his heritage and transforming his sire into a demon from Hell. This shift from benign daemon to malevolent demon has impacted the representation of the wizard of Camelot for centuries. Contemporary fiction for the page as well as for the screen has adopted and adapted these two versions of Merlin’s origins in unique ways that remain largely unexplored by enthusiasts of the Matter of Britain. This presentation will build upon my previous research and highlight how both the Galfridian and Boronic traditions remain alive in depictions of Merlin in modern fantasy film and television produced for children and young adults. My focus will be in mapping out the strategies for the ways Merlin’s parentage has been received, packaged (alternately ignored, alluded to, altered, or accepted and embraced), and disseminated to audiences.

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Host: Nolan Meditz

Tech Mod: Alicia Fox Lenz

Michael Torregrossa is a graduate of the Medieval Studies program at the University of Connecticut (Storrs) and works as an adjunct instructor in English in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. His research focuses on the adaption of Arthuriana in popular culture. Michael’s previous work on Merlin appears in Film & History, The 1999 Film & History CD-ROM Annual, and The Medieval Hero on Screen: Representations from Beowulf to Buffy.

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Feb 5th, 3:30 PM

Who’s His Daddy? Approaches to Merlin’s Father in Children’s and YA Media

In the 1130s, Geoffrey of Monmouth originated the character of Merlin, setting him upon the world stage as a wonder-working youth fathered (in the tradition of Greek and Latin authors of the past) by a daemon. However, later writers of the Middle Ages, beginning with Robert de Boron, reconceived Merlin within a more Christianized world, altering his heritage and transforming his sire into a demon from Hell. This shift from benign daemon to malevolent demon has impacted the representation of the wizard of Camelot for centuries. Contemporary fiction for the page as well as for the screen has adopted and adapted these two versions of Merlin’s origins in unique ways that remain largely unexplored by enthusiasts of the Matter of Britain. This presentation will build upon my previous research and highlight how both the Galfridian and Boronic traditions remain alive in depictions of Merlin in modern fantasy film and television produced for children and young adults. My focus will be in mapping out the strategies for the ways Merlin’s parentage has been received, packaged (alternately ignored, alluded to, altered, or accepted and embraced), and disseminated to audiences.

 

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