Arthurian Romance: A Short Introduction (Blackwell by Derek Pearsall

By Derek Pearsall

This witty and obtainable ebook lines the background of Arthurian romance from medieval to trendy instances, explaining its enduring appeal.Traces the background of Arthurian romance from medieval to trendy instances. Covers paintings and movies in addition to the good literary works of Arthurian romance. attracts out the altering political, ethical and emotional makes use of of the tale. Explains the iconic allure of the Arthurian legend. Written by way of an writer with sizeable wisdom of medieval literature.

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Extra info for Arthurian Romance: A Short Introduction (Blackwell Introductions to Literature)

Example text

It is easy to make the romance of Lancelot sound funny, and maybe to overstate the pervasiveness of its irony. For it is a beautiful and mysterious poem, and one that inaugurates all the characteristic strategies of the high Arthurian romance. Everything is enigmatic and unexplained – or at least not explained in any way that is clear until much later, by which time the explanation has been overtaken by other events. Meaning is always elusively beyond reach; the reader’s quest mirrors the knight’s.

The lance is not explained, but a spiritual meaning, in relation to the blood of Christ, seems to be implied, and is suggested in a beautiful later passage (p. 432) where Perceval grows lost in contemplation of three drops of blood upon the snow, while all around him the daily business of challenging and fighting goes on unnoticed. At the midpoint of the poem’s 9000 lines, a series of quests is inaugurated at Arthur’s court, including that of Perceval, who will not rest till he finds the meaning of the grail and the bleeding lance, and that of Gawain, who will rescue the maiden besieged at Montesclere.

They were to provide rich material for more explicitly Christian development in the works of the continuators of the Conte and the compilers of the vast cyclic prose Arthurian romances of the thirteenth century. Perceval is brought up in isolation in the Welsh woods by his mother, in ignorance of his lineage since she does not want him killed like her husband and two other sons. But he needs only the sight of a group of knights to be stirred to emulation, and he leaves home, rudely clad and ill provided, to become a knight.

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