From Ritual to Romance

From Ritual to Romance

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By (author) Jessie Laidlay Weston

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  • Publisher: Waking Lion Press
  • Format: Undefined
  • Publication date: 22 February 2009
  • ISBN 10: 1434102386
  • ISBN 13: 9781434102386

Product description

Jessie Laidlay Weston (18501928) was an independent scholar who specialized in medieval Arthurian texts. In 1920, at the age of seventy, she published From Ritual to Romance, which examines the roots of the King Arthur legends, exploring the connections between early pagan elements and later Christian influences. Its revolutionary theory holds that the basic elements of the Grail story are remnants of ancient fertility rites designed to heal the broken land. Poet T. S. Eliot acknowledged the book as crucial to understanding his poem TheWaste Land, noting, Not only the title, but the plan and a good deal of the incidental symbolism of the poem were suggested by Miss Jessie L. Weston's book on the Grail legend: From Ritual to Romance (Cambridge). Indeed, so deeply am I indebted, MissWeston's book will elucidate the difficulties of the poem much better than my notes can do; and I recommend it (apart from the great interest of the book itself) to any who think such elucidation of the poem worth the trouble. Drawing on The Golden Bough, Sir James George Frazer's seminal work on folklore, magic, and religion, Weston examines the mystical elements of the QuesttheWasteland, the Fisher King, the Chapel Perilous, and the Grail itselftying them to the symbols and rites of the ancient mystery religions. She writes, The study and the criticism of the Grail literature will possess an even deeper interest, a more absorbing fascination, when it is definitely recognized that we possess in that literature a unique example of the restatement of an ancient and august Ritual in terms of imperishable Romance. Although her style is formal and academic, the information she presents is rivetingmandatory reading for anyone interested in exploring mythology, the Arthurian legend, and the roots of religion.

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