What Is the Magic of Merlin?
The Appeal of the Wizard in the Contemporary World:
A Roundtable in Celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of the
Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages
49th International Congress on Medieval Studies
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan
8-11 May 2014
The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages was founded in 2004 in a concerted effort, as our web site explains, “to promote and foster scholarship on and teaching and discussion of representations of the medieval in post-medieval popular culture and mass media.” Much of the success of our mission has occurred through our presence at the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies, and we invite proposals from individuals interested in helping us to fulfill this undertaking as part of the commemoration of our tenth anniversary as a learned society.
For 2014, we are interested in exploring in more detail the transformations of one popular legend with ties to the medieval period as represented in our contemporary post-medieval culture. Our session, “What Is the Magic of Merlin? The Appeal of the Wizard in the Contemporary World: In Celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of the Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages (A Roundtable)”, will look at the continued popularity of the figure of Merlin and his legend, especially as evidenced by the recent television series Merlin, as well the appeal of other stories of magic-wielders (such as The Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit, The Dresden Files, Harry Potter, Legend of the Seeker, and The Wizards of Waverly Place) to suggest why the legacy of Merlin continues to endure, especially now, despite the passage of centuries.
Those interested in participating in this session must submit a 250-500 paper proposal, a copy of their CV, and a completed Participant Information Form (available at http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html) to the organizers at Popular.Culture.and.the.Middle.Ages@gmail.com by 15 September. We will make first-run decisions prior to 1 September, so please submit your materials as soon as possible.
Final papers will be included in an essay collection to be edited by the session organizers and expected to go to press in early 2015.
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