Subsequently, the chapter provides an overview of the project and its rationale, the sources and the methodology.
The chapter also explains the reasons for concentrating on medieval and modern periods and for leaving out the early modern and Victorian periods, because the Romantic and Victorian versions of the Grail quest differ substantially from both medieval and modern Grail quest literature.
However, there is good reason for comparing the medieval and modern Grail quest versions directly, rather than considering early modern, Romantic and Victorian manifestations of medievalism, because the latter medievalist versions of the Grail quest are very distinct from both their medieval forerunners and their modern « heirs ».
Thus, for Victorian authors, this quest is directed towards the achievement of a local and moral aim rather than towards the spiritual redemption of a particular group of people.
Chapter 4 focuses on the intersections between the world history, genealogy and the individual quester’s fortunes, using the example of Solomon’s ship episode.
The flawed couple of King Solomon and his , to use Malory’s words, is contrasted to the perfect, spiritually united couple of Galahad and Perceval’s sister.Meanwhile, in both medieval romances and modern novels considered in Chapters 5-7, the quest is aimed at the redemption of a particular group, if not of all mankind.Moreover, by focusing on minor characters, women and non-elect knights – who have previously been little studied – in Chapters 1-4, I provide a bridge between medieval and modern versions of the Grail quest.After the quest is achieved, Galahad leaves this world, followed by Perceval, but their deaths are peaceful, in difference from the violent deaths of non-elect knights.Chapter 2 demonstrates how the non-elect knights’ deaths compare to the deaths of Sir Galahad and Sir Perceval, arguing that the deaths of the non-elect and the elect knights are exemplary of contemporary ideas and practices associated with death and dying – the composition of wills, performance of the last rights and funeral practices.Unsurprisingly, modern authors prioritise the perspective of minor, marginal or ordinary, unheroic characters, which results in decentralizing the authoritative of the medieval Grail quest.The modern novel presents a new type of quester – a flawed, imperfect individual, essentially different from the superhuman Galahad, and this change encourages the reader to sympathise with the Grail questers.The thesis explores the representation and meaning of the Grail quest in medieval and modern literature, using the methodologies of historically informed criticism and gender criticism.It opens new perspectives on the Grail quest, regarding the quest as a unifying structural and moral motif that enables medieval and modern authors to engage with core existential issues – death, gender relations and history – in a unique way, influenced by the socio-historical context in which the texts were written.Studies of the Grail quest that mention both medieval and modern texts usually concentrate on one period 6.Thus, the thesis contributes to the study of medieval and modern Grail quest literary traditions in English and French.