Ed Smiley's Reviews > The Quest of the Holy Grail

The Quest of the Holy Grail by Anonymous
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's review
Jun 04, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: once-a-knight-is-enough
Read from April 25 to June 04, 2011

The translation is workable, and with copious footnotes for those who have't read much of the Bible. Yes, it's allegorical.

This is, in a way, thirteenth century revisionism, reworking the earlier naturalistic chivalric tradition and the Celtic mythos (can I say mythos without cracking up?... mythos, mythos, mythos, OK, it is a little pedantic, but I will let it stand).

It does not attempt to deconstruct gallantry as such, and still gives a shout out to incredible, and sometimes absurd feats of arms, but its requirements of of nobility are suffused with pretty damn rigorous demands of Christian purity. This book made me think a lot on The history and adventures of the renowned Don Quixote. Translated from the Spanish of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.By T. Smollet, M.D. The sixth edition corrected. In four volumes. Volume 1 of 4. That too is revisionist, but it is also highy deconstructive.

Anyway, it is knight errantry drenched in piety and allegory, and its charm is that it holds a rickety plotline, astonishing events, the personal spiritual journey, savage bloodshed, resonant symbols, conventional medieval theology, supernatural personalities, sacred visions, impossible achievements, and ecstatic visions all in a kind of tight-wound tension. It is very necessary to read sympathetically, and appreciate this tension with a kind of suspension, not merely of disbelief, but of modern sensibility, rational structure, and healthy mindedness, and then one starts to experience something of the uncanny, of the marvelous, something akin to dream.

I'm not sure to what degree the following is a spoiler, but I mark it as such, as it reveals a few details to let me get a foothold in doing a review. I don't think is ruins the suspense, or anything.

(view spoiler)

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Reading Progress

05/22/2011 page 170

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