A Discourse for the Holy Grail in Old French Romance
The Holy Grail made its first literary appearance in the work of the twelfth-century French poet, Chrétien de Troyes, and continues to fascinate authors and audiences alike. This study, supported by a theoretical framework based on the psychoanalytic works of Jacques Lacan and the cultural theory of Slavoj Zizek, aims to strip the legend of much of the mythological and folkloric association that it has acquired over the centuries, arguing that the Grail should be read as a symptom of disruption and obscurity rather than fulfilment and revelation. Focusing on two thirteenth-century Arthurian prose romances, ‘La Queste del Saint Graal’ and ‘Perlesvaus’, and drawing extensively on the wider field of Old French Grail literature including the works of Chrétien and Robert de Boron, the book examines the personal, social and textual effects produced by encounters with the Grail in order to suggest that the Grail itself is instrumental not only in creating but also in disturbing, the discursive, psychic and cultural bonds that are represented in this complex and captivating literary tradition. BEN RAMM is Research Fellow in French, St. Catharine's College, Cambridge.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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