Who is this larger-than-life figure who keeps cropping up throughout Western literature?
Here is the answer: in many guises.
From Polyphemus to Papageno, a single figure demonstrates continuity in Greek, Celtic and European literature. The Wandering Giant illustrates a fundamental literary (and pre-literary) process whereby fictional material is passed down and adapted over the centuries. It offers original insights into major authors and works (including Chrétien de Troyes, the Roman de la Rose, Fergus, Aucassin et Nicolette and Voltaire in French and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in English, not to mention The Magic Flute) as well as adding a footnote to French history; and in doing so it demonstrates some of the links between Classical, Celtic and later European literatures.
Author: D.D.R.Owen is Professor Emeritus of French at the University of St Andrews