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The Arthurian Tradition in Literature

The purpose of this research is to examine the continuation of the Arthurian tradition established in Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, particularly in the story line dealing with the quest for the Holy Grail, in the post-medieval juvenile novel Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper. The plan of the research will be to set forth the Grail story line in Malory's work, and then to note similarities and differences in Cooper's treatment, with a view toward suggesting the purpose Cooper had in using the Arthurian legend in her book.

To discuss the quest for the Holy Grail in Malory is to discuss the principal feature of moral content in the narrative that legitimates the entire environment of chivalric adventurism. As Malory's tale makes plain, the pull of priorities among affairs of the heart, assorted court intrigues, and the persistence of the need to reclaim the Holy Grail for the crown of England. The quest for the Grail is the basis for divine sanction of Arthur's court, symbolizing the moral obligation and the potentiality for direct religious experience entailed by the responsibilty of finding the provenance of the faith shared by the whole of Christian Europe through the fifteenth century.

The sacramental nature of the Grail is essential to understand as the basis for the blessedness of Arthur's court in general and the potential for blessedness of individual knights in particular. The terms of chivalric romance vary with narrative edition. The edition of Malory (1969) used in this research selects the term and spelling Holy Sangrail. But what is really important about the spelling of names and other terms in the various commentaries on the subject is the content. Bulfinch identifies the terms Grail, Graal, and Sangreal, as "the cup from which the Saviour drank at the Last Supper. It was taken by Joseph of Arimathea to Europe where it was lost. Its recovery became the sacred quest for King Arthur's knights" (Bulfinch 90...

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The Arthurian Tradition in Literature. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 19:39, May 26, 2020, from