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Romance of the Grail: The Magic and Mystery of Arthurian Myth

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  262 ratings  ·  35 reviews
The first collection of Joseph Campbell’s writings and lectures on the Arthurian romances of the Middle Ages, a central focus of his celebrated scholarship, edited and introduced by Arthurian scholar Evans Lansing Smith, PhD, the chair of Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Throughout his life, Joseph Campbell was deeply engaged in the study of the Grai
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published December 15th 2015 by New World Library (first published October 13th 2015)
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Nandakishore Mridula
I first encountered the ‘Knights of the Round Table’ in – believe it or not – a Walt Disney comic book. It was about “King Mickey and the Knights of the Round Table”, a delightfully juvenile version of the great British legend. But it piqued my interest and I started reading up on anything and everything connected with knights, as well as watching movies containing medieval themes. I loved those guys, running into one another, lances at ready till – wham! – one of them is unseated and thrown fro ...more
Julian Worker
May 22, 2022 rated it it was amazing
A book by Joseph Campbell on the Arthurian myths. Therefore, it's learned, authoritative, and riveting to read as Campbell brings together myths from Wales, Ireland, the European continent, the Middle East, and even further afield to support the explanation of the tales featured in the book.

The book starts with explanations of the Neolithic, Celtic, Roman, and German backgrounds for the myths. Then the voyages of St Brendan are explained and the life of St Patrick as well as the roles of trouba
Nick Imrie
A perfect gem of a book for Arthuriana nerds. Anyone with a love of heroism would enjoy it, I'm sure. Campbell does some neat and entertaining recaps of the myths he discusses, and the discussions are entertaining. This is a collection of talks and essays collected together after his death, so the tone ranges from the witty and conversational to dense academese.

There are certainly moments that get deep into the nitty-gritty of divine and mythical genealogies, which will only satisfy the dedicate
Christine Beverly
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Mind...blown... I have to take Joseph Campbell's work in small doses; it is so dense and packed with revelations that to take the book at a sitting or two would be absolutely overwhelming. I loved how he traced the origins of the Arthurian myths back to Neolithic, Celtic, Roman, and German and even Asian backgrounds.

I was stunned by his revelation that 432 (the year of St. Patrick's mission) is a mythological number tying to the Indian Puranas "Great Cycle" ("the world's creation, flowering, an
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have read and appreciated Arthurian Legend for decades...but not as a scholar. Mythology is not my field but Campbell's scholarship and philosophy has become a very important part of my spiritual outlook. I have always been inspired and intrigued by the deeds and lessons of the Arthurian tales. They always resonated with truths that I could use to interpret, evaluate, and/or guide my life. This book is yet another facet of Cambell's work that will impress you with it's ingenuity, depth and fra ...more
Sam Torode
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thought the well of unpublished Campbell lectures & essays may be dry after "Goddesses," so "Romance of the Grail" is a great surprise. I'm enjoying these reflections on individualism and love in the Middle Ages. I hope there are more books yet to come in the Collected Works... ...more
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Because of the PBS shows I will always see and hear this man when I read his books. Nor a bad thing.
Greg Lico
I have loved Arthurian legends since I took a course on Medieval Literature in my junior year of high school. The romantic stories of brave knights in shining armor accomplishing great deeds in the name of God, king, and love thrilled me. I loved to imagine myself as a knight errant in these tales. My particular favorite Arthurian story was that of Yvain by the French poet Chretien de Troyes. It told the personal transformation of a knight who must win back the love of his wife. He does this by ...more
Aileen Montero
Dec 20, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Este libro es producto de la recopilación del trabajo realizado por Joseph Campbell a lo largo de su vida en torno al mito Artúrico. No lo califico con 5 estrellas pues al ser una recopilación de varios trabajos, carece de una progresión temática y desarrollo central de ideas, sin embargo es un privilegio poder tenerlo en nuestras manos en forma de un solo tomo.
La importancia de la Leyenda del Grial para Campbell consiste en que lo define como El Gran Mito secular del mundo moderno europeo. A pa
The layers and variations of the Grail unfold masterfully in Campbell's hands.  His analysis's of the Grail's origins is also fascinating, but his exploration of the Grail as the world's first secular mythology -- a mythology concerned with the development of the self throughout the adventure of life -- is a lightning rod of insight. I am particularly fond of the connection Campbell makes between Parzival's failure and success at the Grail and the Buddha's final temptation, dharma, resisting doi ...more
This volume has been long anticipated. Campbell's foundational scholarship was on the grail stories. Much of this material has been previously unavailable. These chapters are rare gems that provide personal illumination for the reader. It is well researched, and well written, and sheds light on why the myth of Arthur resonates with everyone and explains the reason the myth came to be. If you're an Arthurian lover and a fan of Joseph Campbell I highly recommend this book for you. ...more
David Melbie
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! New World Library has been cranking out these wonderful collections for nearly two decades now and this one is top notch. This is also an important collection of Campbell's work because it is where he started in academia. And, the bonus included in the book is Campbell's Columbia University thesis, A Study of the Dolorous Stroke. I will be reading this a few more times. ...more
Mitchell Kaufman
Campbell ties all of the world's myths of the wounded king, the Fisher King, the grail, and knightly romance together in one neat package. Good reading, good research. ...more
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: folklore, middle-ages
Joseph Campbell's Romance of the Grail: The Magic and Mystery of Arthurian Myth helps bring order to a confusing series of sources that began as legitimate folklore only to be hijacked by monastic writers who imposed a Christian structure on the myth. Campbell is particularly helpful dealing with the myth of Tristan and Iseult, Parzival as seen by Eschenbach, and the elements of the Grail myth, the Fisher King, and the Waste Land.

In addition, there is a long appendix on the Dolorous Stroke (whic
Chris Esposo
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having previously read Joseph Campbell's most notable book, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, I felt the unprepared reader can come away despondent, believing the interesting works of Campbell would be beyond reach given the numerous references to varying cultures and their mythologies, much of which are not well known to the typical western reader. This is probably less true for Campbell’s “Romance of the Grail”, a critical analysis of the Grail Mythos, accomplished much in the same way as Cam ...more
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a book that you will probably have to sit and read, with a nice cup of tea. It's all about learning. Learning where the origins of a lot of the most famous stories even come from. Tracing the origins of the Arthurian myths back to Neolithic, Celtic, Roman, and German and even Asian backgrounds. Being a big "fan" of the Arthurian stories, I will probably never be able to look at these well-known characters the same ever again.
I enjoyed the stories of cultures and background I never even
Rocky VanTol
Pretty academic. Interesting if you are deep into studying European medieval literature.
Marjorie Jensen
My review of this book is now live on Spiral Nature: http://www.spiralnature.com/reviews/r... ...more
Francisco Noct
May 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
El período culminante de los relatos artúricos coincide exactamente con el de la construcción de las catedrales, el maravilloso siglo que va desde 1150 hasta 1250. A mi juicio, este período –la época gótica– es el correlato del período homérico. Tenemos dos grandes Europas: la Europa de Grecia y Roma y la Europa de los celtas y los germanos. El énfasis recae en el individuo, no como súbdito sino como ciudadano del Estado, un Estado que es vehículo de la voluntad del individuo. Se trata de una me ...more
Lis Carey
Joseph Campbell was a professor of literature at Sarah Lawrence College, and wrote extensively about comparative mythology. His "hero's journey" theory has been extremely influential.

This book is a collection of his lectures and writings on the Arthurian adventures and Grail Quests of the Middle Ages, specifically the "Matter of Britain" stories of the 12th and 13th centuries. These are the stories, or the basis of the stories, of Arthur's court and its knights and ladies that we are most famili
Jul 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
«Y Lanzarote, movido por la compasión, quiere rescatarlo, pero al intentarlo cae fulminado, porque es indigno de estar presente. ¿Por qué? Por su amor hacia Ginebra. Ahora bien, para sanar un pecado hay que hacer un verdadero acto de contrición. Pero él no puede debido a su amor por Ginebra; como Tristán, es incapaz de arrepentirse. Aquí tenemos algo hermoso. Que un monje fuera capaz de componer tal cosa habla muy bien de él».
Sep 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The beauty, of these works, --though this one in particular I skipped, as a teenager---, means they warrant multiple re-readings. What is the nature, of the human condition? What do these stories tell us? What marks, changes, in attitudes, and what is the cause? Unfortunately, I am not steeped, enough in history, at this point, to evaluate this.
Nov 15, 2021 rated it liked it
Highly readable and interesting text, but a little disjointed and assumes familiarity with the myths and related history that I didn't have, which hampered my ability to absorb Campbell's commentary I think. ...more
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books
Un poco denso en algún tramo y con alguna parte que se repite, pero en general imprescindible para indagar en los (muy antiguos) orígenes del mito artúrico y de sus reflejos en otras civilizaciones. Muy interesante.
Erv Reyes
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excelente libro para adentrarse en la gran historia de la humanidad que Joseph Campbell desarrolla a lo largo de sus obras. Su gran legado son el estudio y planteamiento de los paralelismos alrededor de los mitos que sobreviven, se transforman y perduran en toda civilización.
Nov 13, 2021 added it
Shelves: 2021
Illuminating view into Arthurian legend and its probable origins. Magic is the play of significance, and Campbell is forever dedicated to finding the depths of meaning in the warp and weft of folklore. All in all, a wonderful example of exegetical scholarship.
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ensayo
Para fans del mito artúrico. Muy académico. Algunos pasajes son bastante áridos.
Naomi Chapman
Aug 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Everything written by Campbell is so compelling. He makes the world's stories so much easier to understand and reveals how connected human societies are. ...more
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Extremely dense but interesting examination of the Arthurian legends—particularly the "Dolorous Stroke." ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
No deja de ser interesante la conexion explicada en el libro entre el mundo celta, el mundo indu junto con el cristianismo de la edad media y el cristianismo de los origenes
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Joseph Campbell was an American author and teacher best known for his work in the field of comparative mythology. He was born in New York City in 1904, and from early childhood he became interested in mythology. He loved to read books about American Indian cultures, and frequently visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where he was fascinated by the museum's collection of tote ...more

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