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Studies and Texts (ST 120)
Robert de Boron
Joseph d'Arimathie

R. O'Gorman (ed.)
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587 p., 175 x 260 mm, 1995
ISBN: 978-0-88844-120-1
Languages: English
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In search of the Holy Grail: Robert de Boron's grail romance: Joseph d'Arimathie Around the turn of the twelfth century, a certain Robert de Boron, a writer from the Franche-Comté, composed what scholars believe to be a trilogy of romances in octosyllabic verse. Despite their many imperfections, these poems constitute one of the boldes t attempts to achieve a broad syntesis of sacred history and secular narrative to survive from the French Middle Ages. Taken as a whole, the work amounts to a universal history that tells of the creation, fall and redemption of man and ends in the dissolution of the Arthurian world. Robert placed the mysterious and splendid Grail at the centre of the first part of this ambitious undertaking, the Joseph d'Arimathie. Whether or not he knew the Perceval of Chrétien de Troyes and whatver interpretation we choose to give to the vessel of that romance, one thing is certain: Robert transforms the "grail" into the Holy Grail. It thus acquires, in the words of William Roach, "religious symbolical and allegorical overtones, which deepened its meaning and enhanced its appeal to the readers of later centuries". The twice-hallowed relic of the Precious Blood occupies a prominent place in the romance, first as the vessel of the LAst Supper in which Joseph of Arimathea collected the blood flowing from the wounds of the crucified Christ, then as representation of the real presence of divinity in the eucharist sacrifice. As the Grail the vessel becomes the instrument of communication between God and man, brings about the separation of the righteous from the sinful and frees Joseph's people from the famine that had plagued them. Finally, as the eucharist cult spreads in the West, the Grail migrates to the Vales of Avalon in the company of the Grail fellowship and thence to the world of King Arthur. All Grail narratives after Robert derive in some fashion or other from his inspiration. Robert's original Jos
Interest Classification:
Medieval & Modern (Indo-European) Languages & Literatures
Romance literatures
Old & Middle French literature

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