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Merlin Paperback – January 4, 1989

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (January 4, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060971835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060971830
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #553,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Goodrich identifies Merlin with the St. Dubricius who controlled vast lands in 6th-century Wales and founded a monastic university. She has freshly translated from the Latin Geoffrey of Monmouth's "Merlin's Prophecy" and interpreted its veiled phrases as a history of King Arthur's wars. The maps, chronologies, and bibliographical annotations are illuminating, but the text resembles notes rather than a thoroughly digested work. Those not put off by Goodrich's mixture of naivete and breathless scholarship, and who liked her King Arthur ( LJ 2/1/86), may be able to appreciate it. General readers are better advised to start with Nikolai Tolstoi's The Quest for Merlin ( LJ 8/85) or the various Arthurian books by Geoffrey Ashe. Barbara J. Dunlap, City Coll. Lib., CUNY
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Norma Lorre Goodrich, Ph.D., K.C., FSA Scot, has been teaching for forty-five years and is a professor emeritus at the Claremont Colleges. She is the author of King Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin, Heroines, Priestesses, Ancient Myths, and Medieval Myths. She lives in Claremont, California, with her husband.

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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By dwlayman@earthlink.net on June 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Goodrich claims that Merlin was a Celtic Christian scientist, political advisor and religious leader. She may well be right. Indeed, I would like to think that she is right. But if I disagreed with her conclusions, her arguments would not convince me. As other reviews of her writing have said, it is full of non sequiters. I have a Ph.D. in religious studies, and teach religion and philosophy. But I could not explain to a third party her arguments for her conclusions. If you want some exposure to ancient/medieval texts that bear on the identity of Merlin, this book might be useful. But don't expect to come to any clear conclusion (for or against her views) with the help of her writing. She mixes textual exposition and argument without stating where one leaves off and another begins. The reader is constantly wondering: is this what her sourse says? Is it what Goodrich THINKS it says? Is it evidence for her point of view? If so, how? A tangle of confused writing.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Lisa L. Linderman on January 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ms. Goodrich undoubtedly knows what she is talking about, and has done her research. However, her writing style and grammar are so horrific that I was completely unable to finish even the first quarter of the book.
Her sentences are disjointed, she makes frequent reference to events and myths without sufficient background information for the reader, and cannot seem to hold a cohesive thought in her head for more than the length of a sentence. Her writing skips off on tangents and rabbit trails, and generally fails to lead to any logical conclusions or coherent presentation.
The research is there, but she's unable to express it to her audience in either a narrative format or a reference format. A huge, huge disappointment.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sherman A. Thompson on January 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is not an easy read because it is not in narritave form, but it is loaded with the information you need to draw your own conclusions.
I had the distinct privilege of helping Dr. Goodrich prepare two of her books and she gratiously gave me mention in them, Guinevere and Priestesses. I have also counted her as a close personal friend for over 25 years and am familiar with her writing style and research methods, sometimes spanning many years on site in England, Scotland, Wales, France, and Ireland. Norma is fluent in ancient French, Latin, and the Celtic languages. She has free rein in the archives of the University of Paris and the research centers of Aachen, Germany, as well as the major universities in the United Kingdom. In short, she is more than qualified to do her research from the original manuscripts rather than rehashing the works of more recent writers, as so many other "experts" have done.
Other revierwer are quite right in saying that Norma's writing is difficult to read. To many it appears disjointed, but her style is that of a researcher, not a novelest or story teller. More than once I have suggested to her that it would be helpful to the lay reader to put a final chapter in each of her books summarizing in narritive form her beliefs and conclusions based on her foregoing research chapters. She agreed that it might be helpful but she never followed through, preferring to leave it up to the readers to form their own conclusions based on her research.
The subject matter is so esoteric and sparse, and so far into the distant past of the dark ages that details must often be teased out of legands and peripheral contemporary resources. Like her other works Merlin must be read then re-read for true understanding of the man and the world he lived in.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roger Bagula on May 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
The major problem are with the major claims of this book:
1) Camelot was Stirling, Scotland.
2) Avalon was the Isle of Man.
3) Gallia was Wales.
4) Merlin was the archbishop ( Saint) Dubricius.
This book is not your grandfather's Merlin ( or that of T. H. White).
I think maybe the worst part is that the author says Merlin was
thought to be a bastard son of a high born woman/ Nun ( a son of a demon
in church terms) and that he was a Christian and not a Celtic-Druid
as has been pretty much the accepted wisdom.
His role a a Celtic vagabond priest fits his "disguises" better
than that he was afraid of being killed.
This author does her best to empty out all the "magic"
from the King Arthur legend.
Since she uses the best "documentation" which is at best a lot of third hand stories written down several centuries after the fact
which most don't agree with each other, she has a hard case to prove.
If there were any archaeological evidence toward her case, I haven't heard of it.
The place names, language, customs and the very people of England had changed before the tale was made into high literature as poetry.
Anyone that demands fact of legendary epic poetry is bound to be disappointing.
I pretty much got disgusted with her changing places and names to suit herself and her ideas.
I'm not saying that there might not be some truth/fact to some of her claims, just that they really don't agree with the traditional story at all. And in the case of a legend what more do we really have than the traditional story? When she says Churchill, Malory, White, Tennyson, Rolleston
and many, many others had it all wrong, she is really saying a lot?
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