Holy Grail in Literature and Legend

Grail, Holy

Holy Grail, a feature of medieval legend and literature. It appears variously as a chalice, a cup, or a dish and sometimes as a stone or a caldron into which a bleeding lance drips. It was identified by Christians as the chalice of the Last Supper brought to England by St. Joseph of Arimathea. Miraculous in its powers, it could provide food and healing. However, it would be revealed only to a pure knight, and the Grail Quest appears in different stories. In Arthurian legend the purest knight is variously Parsifal or Galahad. The Grail is one of the most difficult problems of Arthurian legend, introducing as it does features of Christian story, Celtic myth, and ancient fertility cults.

See R. S. Loomis, The Grail (1963); E. Jung and M.-L. von Franz, The Grail Legend (tr. 1971).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Holy Grail in Literature and Legend: Selected full-text books and articles

Love, War, and the Grail By Helen Nicholson Brill, 2001
Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe By Richard W. Kaeuper Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "The Quest of the Holy Grail" begins on p. 253
The Holy Grail: From Romance Motif to Modern Genre By Wood, Juliette Folklore, Vol. 111, No. 2, October 2000
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Psychology of a King: Arthur in the Lancelot-Graal Cycle By Ingram, Amy L Philological Quarterly, Vol. 82, No. 4, Fall 2003
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Arthurian Legend in the Literatures of the Spanish Peninsula By William J. Entwistle Phaeton Press, 1975
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IX "The Arthurian Novels in Castile and Portugal: The 'Holy Grail,' 'Merlin,' 'Quest'"
The Unholy Grail: A Social Reading of Chraetien de Troyes's Conte Du Graal By Brigitte Cazelles Stanford University, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The World According to the Grail"
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