The Holy Grail: Imagination and Belief

The Holy Grail: Imagination and Belief

by Richard Barber
     
 

ISBN-10: 067401815X

ISBN-13: 9780674018150

Pub. Date: 09/30/2005

Publisher: Harvard University Press

The elusive image of the Holy Grail has haunted the Western imagination for eight centuries. It represents the ideal of an unattainable yet infinitely desirable goal, the possibility of perfection. Initially conceived in literature, it became a Christian icon which has been re-created in a multitude of forms over time even though the Grail has no specific material

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Overview

The elusive image of the Holy Grail has haunted the Western imagination for eight centuries. It represents the ideal of an unattainable yet infinitely desirable goal, the possibility of perfection. Initially conceived in literature, it became a Christian icon which has been re-created in a multitude of forms over time even though the Grail has no specific material attributes or true religious significance.

Richard Barber traces the history of the legends surrounding the Holy Grail, beginning with Chrétien de Troyes's great romances of the twelfth century and the medieval Church's religious version of the secular ideal. He pursues the myths through Victorian obsessions and enthusiasms to the popular bestsellers of the late twentieth century that have embraced its mysteries. Crisscrossing the borders of fiction and spirituality, the quest for the Holy Grail has long attracted writers, artists, and admirers of the esoteric. It has been a recurrent theme in tales of imagination and belief which have laid claim to the highest religious and secular ideals and experiences. From Lancelot to Parsifal, chivalric romances to Wagner's Ring, T. S. Eliot to Monty Python, the Grail has fascinated and lured the Western imagination from beyond the reach of the ordinary world.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674018150
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
09/30/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
488
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements
A Note on Names
Introduction1
1Imagining the Grail: Chretien de Troyes9
2Completing the Grail: Chretien continued27
3Sanctifying the Grail Hero: Robert de Boron39
4The Old Law and the New Law: The High Book of the Grail46
5Creating the Grail Hero: The Lancelot-Grail53
6Visions of Angels, Versions of Men: Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival73
Epilogue to Part One86
7The Grail91
8The Setting of the Grail104
9Obscure Histories, Dubious Relics116
10The Eucharist and the Grail135
11The Holy Grail148
12The Secrets of the Grail161
13The Grail Outside the Romances167
14'There is a thing that's called the Gral'173
15The Adventures of the Grail: The Later German Romances187
16The Adventures of the Grail: The Last Flowering198
Epilogue to Part Two222
Interlude227
17The Scholars and the Grail231
18The Revival of the Grail256
19The Grail as Mirror290
20The Grail Today321
21The Question Answered?356
Epilogue367
App. 1The Major Grail Romances 1180-1250373
App. 2Visual Images Relating to the Medieval Grail Stories374
App. 3Theological Terms Used in Text378
App. 4Use of the Term 'Holy Grail' in Major Newspapers, 1978-2002380
Bibliography381
Abbreviations412
Notes414
Index441

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