From Ritual to Romance
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From Ritual to Romance by Jessie L. Weston
Book DescriptionAcknowledged by T. S. Eliot as crucial to understanding "The Waste Land," Jessie Weston's book has continued to attract readers interested in ancient religion, myth, and especially Arthurian legend. Weston examines the saga of the Grail, which, in many versions, begins when the wounded king of a famished land sees a procession of objects including a bleeding lance and a bejewelled cup. She maintains that all versions defy uniform applications of Celtic and Christian interpretations, and explores the legend's Gnostic roots. Drawing from J. G. Frazer, who studied ancient nature cults that associated the physical condition of the king with the productivity of the land, Weston considers how the legend of the Grail related to fertility rites--with the lance and the cup serving as sexual symbols. She traces its origins to a Gnostic text that served as a link between ancient vegetation cults and the Celts and Christians who embellished the story. Conceiving of the Grail saga as a literary outgrowth of ancient ritual, she seeks a Gnostic Christian interpretation that unites the quest for fertility with the striving for mystical oneness with God.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691021072
(216mm x 140mm x 14mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 19-Apr-1993
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Jessie L. Weston
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Paperback (January 2003)» View all books by Jessie L. Weston
This interpretation by a distinguished scholar of one of English medieval literature's gems translates Middle English poetry into modern prose for a retelling that both preserves the spirit of the original and makes it accessible to modern readers.
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