Geoffrey of Monmouth's Life of Merlin - Mark Walker

Life of Merlin - Geoffrey of Monmouth, Mark Walker

So this is a translation of one of the first attributable, "literary" (ie non-folk-tale) stories about Merlin, the West's most famous wizard. It's quite surprising in many ways: there's very little actual magic here, apart from prophecy, and Merlin is a madman and not very nice to his wife or sister.

The translation itself is reasonably skilled. I've not read the original, so am obviously not qualified to comment on faithfulness in letter or in spirit, but I liked the fact that Walker uses hexameters and alliteration to highlight the fact that hey, this is, after all, a poem, people. And the introductions at the beginning of each chapter are REALLY helpful, as I have a tendency to stop concentrating when I'm reading a narrative poem.

An excellent introduction to Merlin as a literary figure, and to a severely under-read author.