The Phantom Cup that Comes and Goes: The Story of the Holy Grail

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 26 August 2015 | 8:20:00 pm

From noiseful arms, and acts of prowess done 
In tournament or tilt, Sir Percivale, 
Whom Arthur and his knighthood called The Pure, 
Had passed into the silent life of prayer, 
Praise, fast, and alms; and leaving for the cowl 
The helmet in an abbey far away 
From Camelot, there, and not long after, died.

The Holy Grail conjures up images of a romantic and heroic past, of magical journeys and brave knights. What do we really know of its origin and meaning? It has entered the language as a phrase that embodies an infinitely desirable but attainable goal.

Is there any truth behind this intriguing object, or is it just one of the many myths of the Middle Ages?

This talk will consider why the symbol of the Holy Grail has proved so durable. It will follow the transformations of the medieval Grail through history, art, literature and theology. 
 
The journey will take us across Europe and the Near East, and even to America as we unravel the cultural impact of Tennyson's Phantom Cup.