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|Title:||The Innovative and Unifying Vision of Sir Thomas Malory in THE TALE OF THE SANKGREAL|
|Authors:||Cragg, Geoffrey W.|
|Keywords:||English Language and Literature;English Language and Literature|
|Abstract:||<p>Malory's Quest of the Holy Grail has generally been regarded as a rather inept translation of the Quest del Saint Graal, Malory's source. Critics, especially Vinaver, have usually maintained that Malory did not understand the theology of the original and consequently 'secularized' it, missing its essential point. In defense of this argument, they have pointed out that Malory reduced the length and number of the many speeches and homilies, delivered by monks and hermits, found in the French Quest. They have also accused Malory of exonerating Lancelot, saving him from the humiliations he encounters in the French and failing to present him as a good penitent. This argument can be challenged, however. The incidents and passages frequently used to demonstrate Malory's secular outlook either do not stand up to close examination or else establish merely that Malory's purpose differed from the French author's. In no way do they prove that Malory diminished the religious significance of the tale.</p> <p>A further case can be made that Malory in fact added a further level of meaning to the Quest. Most literary critics, and many historians, have assumed that chivalry was essentially dead and gone in Malory's time, and that his interest in knighthood could only have been nostalgic. Recent historical evidence, however, suggests the opposite--that knighthood was very much alive in the fifteenth century. The literary evidence supports this stand. On the basis of a close comparison of Malory's Quest and its source, an argument can be made that Malory had a lively interest in chivalry and was actively involved in the attempt to define an ideal of knighthood which was in harmony with Christian standards. To complete this argument, a number of differences between the two versions of the Quest suggest that Malory was influenced by the ideal of political or mixed rule advanced by Sir John Fortescue, and that Malory incorporated political responsibilities into his chivalric ideal.</p> <p>On the basis of this evidence, it appears that Malory's Quest deserves to be treated, not as an inadequate translation of the French, but as an innovative and coherent work with considerable merits of its own.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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