Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Legend of the Grail

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Legend of the Grail

Article excerpt

Nigel Bryant, The Legend of the Grail, Arthurian Studies 58 (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2004). 258 pp. ISBN 1-84384-006-5. £25.00/$39.95. To amalgamate all the medieval Grail stories into one coherent story, with no anomalies or inconsistencies, is an enterprise fraught with pitfalls and traps. Nigel Bryant has nevertheless put together a surprisingly lucid version which shows how the various verse and prose versions, and the differing continuations of the elusive legend, might be seen to link together, were it not for the obvious annoyances of Chinese whispers, and of idiosyncratic scribes inserting various pieces of trivia. Read simply as a translation, this book unravels poetry and prose so that they read with fluency and dexterity; indeed, on grounds of technical ability, it is hard to find fault with the translator. It is the enterprise itself, however, that presents difficulties. It is, of course, eminently desirable to have Grail romances combined into one coherent story - but the reality is that without distortions and deletions they cannot be, as has been shown by many previous unsuccessful attempts to disentangle the frayed and knotted ends of the narratives. …

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