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medieval vernacular literature

Melusine (or Melusina) is a figure of European legends and folklore, a feminine spirit of fresh waters in sacred springs and rivers.

She is usually depicted as a woman who is a serpent or fish (much like a mermaid) from the waist down. She is also sometimes illustrated with wings, two tails or both, and sometimes referred to as a nixie.

References in the arts

Felix Mendelssohn depicted the character in his overture The Fair Melusina (Zum Märchen von der Schönen Melusine), opus 32.

Marcel Proust's main character compares Gilberte to a Melusine in "Within a Budding Grove." She is also compared on several occasions to the Duchesse de Guermantes who was (according to the Duc de Guermantes) directly descended from the Lusignan dynasty. In the Guermantes Way for example, the narrator observes that the Lusignan family "was fated to become extinct on the day when the fairy Melusine should disappear." (Volume II, Page 5, Vintage Edition.)

Melusine is a recurring metaphor in André Breton's Arcanum 17 and Nadja.

The Melusine legend plays a prominent role in A. S. Byatt's Possession. One of the main characters, Christabel LaMotte, writes an epic poem about Melusina.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Melusine" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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