The Grail Legend in Modern Literature

The Grail Legend in Modern Literature

John B. Marino





The Grail legends have in modern times been appropriated by a number of different scholarly schools of thought; their approaches are analysed here.
This study shows how modern (including postmodern) adaptations of the Grail legend correspond to trends in the scholarly community and how the legend has been appropriated by competing world-views. There are three parallel trends in Grail scholarship and modern adaptations of the legend: controversy over Christian or pagan origins, secularization by way of humanism, and esoteric mysticism. These three trends reflect movements in popular culture. Relativism and multiculturalism influence Christian--pagan cultural conflict in the adaptations. Mythographers maintain the legend's appeal in a humanist culture by considering the Grail metaphor rather than material actuality; modern adaptations then transform the Grail from a particularly Christian symbol to one with universal application in an increasingly secular society. Modern esoteric spiritualities allow the Grail actuality with flexible meaning. This study, then, demonstrates how the Grail legend is transformed and adapted from medieval to modern cultures and continues to evolve today.
JOHN B. MARINO is adjunct instructor, Maryville University and Saint Louis University.

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October 2004
188 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Arthurian Studies
ISBN: 9781843840220
Format: Hardback
BIC DSBF, 1D, 2AB, 3JH, 4P
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Approaches the Grail legend and its treatment in modern scholarship and fiction in an admirably lucid way. ENGLISH STUDIES
A very useful book indeed. ENGLISH
A comprehensive and enlightening study. MLR
Original and often persuasive. Marino gives a clear account of the medieval texts and outlines the controversies surrounding the origins of the Grail. TLS
A very good trawl through British and American grail texts... that successfully charts how fashions in interpreting the enigma of the grail have changed over two centuries. PENDRAGON
Constructs a careful dialogue between scholarly studies and literary fiction, thereby providing his reader with a comprehensive introduction to modern Grail texts. MEDIEVAL REVIEW

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