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From Ritual to Romance (1920)

por Jessie L. Weston

Otros autores: Ver la sección otros autores.

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530434,236 (3.61)13
Acknowledged by T. S. Eliot as crucial to understanding "The Waste Land," Jessie Weston's book has continued to attract readers interested in ancient religion, myth, and especially Arthurian legend. Weston examines the saga of the Grail, which, in many versions, begins when the wounded king of a famished land sees a procession of objects including a bleeding lance and a bejewelled cup. She maintains that all versions defy uniform applications of Celtic and Christian interpretations, and explores the legend's Gnostic roots. Drawing from J. G. Frazer, who studied ancient nature cults that associated the physical condition of the king with the productivity of the land, Weston considers how the legend of the Grail related to fertility rites--with the lance and the cup serving as sexual symbols. She traces its origins to a Gnostic text that served as a link between ancient vegetation cults and the Celts and Christians who embellished the story. Conceiving of the Grail saga as a literary outgrowth of ancient ritual, she seeks a Gnostic Christian interpretation that unites the quest for fertility with the striving for mystical oneness with God.… (más)
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Mostrando 4 de 4
As for other reviews: the limitations are not in Weston's language; they are in the contemporary reader.

To assert otherwise is akin to blaming a language one doesn't understand for one's lack of understanding of the language, instead of taking responsibility for the fact one doesn't understand the language because of one's illiteracy in the language.
  JNagarya | Jul 27, 2015 |
This book belongs on the bookshelf of anyone seriously interested in the evolution of religion. It is well-documented with plenty of footnotes. The book includes an index that any researcher could find useful.

Although well written, as some readers have commented on different reviews, the book uses a style of English that is no longer common on either side of the Atlantic. I imagine it was the norm when Jessie L. Weston (1850–1928) wrote this book (1920). I typed one of Weston’s long sentences (from page 62) in Grammarly.com. I selected “General Academic” as the style to correct. It received a score of 5 out of 100. Most likely, that would have been the standard for her time.

Other readers commented on Weston’s frequent use of Latin and French words without any translation. There is also German. For example, on page 114 there is a paragraph with 179 words in four sentences. Out of the 179 words, four are Latin or French words. Although most are recognizable to a monolingual readership, words such as “Manqué,” might require a dictionary. And let me not forget "gar keinem Verhältniss" (of all proportion). I would assume that when she wrote this book, many English-speaking book lovers could also read French and Latin, and possibly Ancient Greek and German, without much difficulty.

"In Indian cosmogony Manu finds a little fish in the water in which he would wash his hands; it asks, and received, his protection, asserting that when grown to full size it will save Manu from the universal deluge. This is Lhasa, the greatest of all fish.” (Pg. 126) Now, that story from the ancient Mahabharata, which Weston quotes, reminds me of more than one Bible story. Notwithstanding the limitations that Weston’s style may present to today’s audience, I would stress that this little book is a jewel for the serious researcher. ( )
1 vota Carlelis | May 1, 2015 |
This little book is Jessie Weston's argument that the Grail quest is an ancient vegetation ritual told in story form. She goes into a lot of detail about elements and symbols found in the story, how they relate to the Adonis/Attis/Osiris rituals, which versions were probably earliest, and how the story changed and was adapted to its later form as a romance.

I thought the book was interesting and that she made a good case for her theory. Her focus was the Grail story, so she didn't deal with Arthurian legends except as they related to it, though she wrote about other aspects and legends in other articles. Parts of the book were quite clear, but other passages contained some of the most complex and convoluted sentences that I have ever seen.
2 vota ivyd | Jan 25, 2012 |
An important work about research into the Holy Grail and the Grail problem. `The Grail is a living force, it will never die', p. 177. ( )
  jon1lambert | Dec 28, 2008 |
Mostrando 4 de 4

» Añade otros autores (5 posible)

Nombre del autorRolTipo de autor¿Trabajo?Estado
Weston, Jessie L.autor principaltodas las edicionesconfirmado
Baskin, LeonardDiseñador de cubiertaautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Gorey, EdwardTypographerautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
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Many literary critics seem to think that an hypothesis about obscure and remote questions of history can be refuted by a simple demand for the production of more evidence than in fact exists, --But the true test of an hypothesis, if it cannot be shewn to conflict with know truths, is the number facts that it correlates, and explains. - (Cornford, Origins of Attic Comedy.)
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In view of the extensive literature to which the Grail legend has already given birth it may seem that the addition of another volume to the already existing corpus calls for some words of apology and explanation.
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Acknowledged by T. S. Eliot as crucial to understanding "The Waste Land," Jessie Weston's book has continued to attract readers interested in ancient religion, myth, and especially Arthurian legend. Weston examines the saga of the Grail, which, in many versions, begins when the wounded king of a famished land sees a procession of objects including a bleeding lance and a bejewelled cup. She maintains that all versions defy uniform applications of Celtic and Christian interpretations, and explores the legend's Gnostic roots. Drawing from J. G. Frazer, who studied ancient nature cults that associated the physical condition of the king with the productivity of the land, Weston considers how the legend of the Grail related to fertility rites--with the lance and the cup serving as sexual symbols. She traces its origins to a Gnostic text that served as a link between ancient vegetation cults and the Celts and Christians who embellished the story. Conceiving of the Grail saga as a literary outgrowth of ancient ritual, she seeks a Gnostic Christian interpretation that unites the quest for fertility with the striving for mystical oneness with God.

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