The Bristol Merlin
Revealing the Secrets of a Medieval Fragment
Leah Tether Laura Chuhan Campbell Benjamin Pohl Michael Richardson
Amsterdam University Press
The discovery of seven manuscript fragments of the Old French Suite Vulgate du Merlin in a set of early printed books in the Bristol Central Library hit global headlines in 2019. This book contains a comprehensive study of these fascinating Arthurian fragments.
Beginning with an extensive contextual history, the authors reveal details of the fragments’ origin, their importation to England, and their subsequent journey to a waste pile in a bookbinder’s workshop, where they would be incorporated into the bindings of a four-volume edition of the works of Jean Gerson in the early sixteenth century. A full enquiry into the provenance of these host volumes sets out the possible routes from the bookbinder’s workshop to their final home in Bristol Central Library.
Using multi-spectral imaging to read the damaged sections of text, the authors also provide a full edition and translation of the narrative contained in the fragments.