Stephen's Reviews > The Holy Grail: Imagination and Belief

The Holy Grail by Richard Barber
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's review
Jul 19, 2010

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Read from July 19 to August 24, 2010

This book is more of an examination of how the grail has been perceived through the ages than anything else. The original medieval poem involved Percival and the Fisher King and was mostly about Percival's quest to behave in a "correct" knightly manner. The poem was then extended to become an allegory for the Mass whose true meaning and mystery were hotly debated at the time. The grail then became an object of mystery used as a symbol by the Rosecrucians and Freemasons. And finally a symbol for hopeless quests inspired by misplaced idealism. The discussion of the grail in modernity even includes a paragraph or two on Monty Python! I found the first quarter of the book hard going but it picked up and became enjoyable after the medieval times were left behind.
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Reading Progress

08/06/2010 page 180
37.0% "Making progress ... I am not a big Grail fan. Medieval knights, honor, courtly love and all are a little boring. No wonder Monty Python spoofed it." 2 comments
08/19/2010 page 320
66.0% "I finally got through the medieval stuff (boring) to some modern interpretations of the grail story like Wagner's Parsifal and ties to esoteric knowledge. Way more interesting."
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Stephen I never did understand the story of the Fisher King and I still don't 50 pages into the book.

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