Customer Reviews


5 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magical, mysterious & mystical
This is a translation of a text written way back, 900 years back in time. Such a book needs a different way of reading, one that invites you to enter the writer's world rather than the opposite. This world is quite different from our own, bring based in countries and with peoples who no longer exist: Logres, Caledonia, etc. To read it you need to slough off quite a bit...
Published on 18 Oct 2009 by Dr John N Sutherland

versus
6 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On the Trail of the Grail
This story of the legend of the Grail is considered one of the key works on that subject, but it failed to inspire me to saddle-up and take part in the quest. I had heard that this anonymous work from the early 13th century was rich in Celtic symbolism, but I failed to see that. What I saw was a far more Christian text where lofty ideals lead seekers to the most holy of...
Published on 1 Jan 2004 by Mr. Hugh Harkin


Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magical, mysterious & mystical, 18 Oct 2009
By 
Dr John N Sutherland (Skelmorlie, Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Quest of the Holy Grail (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This is a translation of a text written way back, 900 years back in time. Such a book needs a different way of reading, one that invites you to enter the writer's world rather than the opposite. This world is quite different from our own, bring based in countries and with peoples who no longer exist: Logres, Caledonia, etc. To read it you need to slough off quite a bit of modernism. The typical British reader will find the Christian symbolism obscure, unless he has an active High Anglican or a Roman Catholic faith that predates Vatican II. For there is so much of the richness of mediaeval Cristian catholicism in this text.

Helpfully, the translators provide a rich set of background footnotes to explain the context and meaning hidden in the imagery, as well as a thin set of scriptural references. Have a Bible nearby if you are unaware of the meaning of the Biblical references.

The story - or stories - are fundamentally about the person's journey through life to true righteousness before God. This all tied up in rich tales of knights, damsels, castles, kings, jousts, swords (but, sorry, no sandals!) The tales are double-edged. Unrighteousness brings eternal consequences, even with forgiveness. Lancelot sleeps with Arthur's wife and others, and so forfeits the right to see God's glory. Only the purest can do this.

No modern liberalism about this tale. No easy way for the knights. Death is all around, and even to be embraced if righteousness is secured. Read it as an allegory, or as a spiritual tale, but read it and take yourself to another place and another time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magical and profound narrative, 4 Mar 2008
By 
Dr. Richard M. Price (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Quest of the Holy Grail (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This is a readable and stylish translation, with most helpful annotation, of one of the supreme texts of the thirteenth century. It is the key section of the so-called `Vulgate Cycle' of Arthurian stories in French prose, revealing what is elsewhere more confused by other motifs - a radical criticism of the knightly code of the time, deploring bloodshed, sexual indulgence and class pride. Against this the text sets an ideal of self-denial to the point of asceticism, to keep the spirit keen to the opportunities providence constantly puts in our paths to step outside conventional roles in order to bear witness to the dignity of the individual, poised throughout his life between heaven and hell. The text is full of meaningful incident and evocative details. Most memorable of all are the accounts of the appearances of the Holy Grail, the supreme gift of God of which the eucharist (of which in this text it is so reminiscent) is itself but a symbol. The stress on the sheer deliciousness of the food the Grail provides shows that the author deplores sensual indulgence not out of puritanism but because it blunts mind and body to truer and more lasting delights. The text may be read today as a call either to Catholic spirituality or to the life of the imagination.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Classic, 6 Nov 2012
By 
W. Bartlett (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Quest of the Holy Grail (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
An amazing story, if read through the eyes of the 13th and not the 21st Century. Wonderfully rich prose and symbolism. If you want to understand the 13th Century view of the Grail legends this is for you. If you want to be entertained by good guys and bad guys then try Hollywood! A splendid translation, I am just buying a replacement as the 30 year-old original (cost 75p!) is falling apart.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Universal heritage, 24 Feb 2011
By 
Robert Cordy - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Quest of the Holy Grail (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
One of the most readable medieval, or rather say 'universal' stories ever. Damn to all kinds of scholars who fight with each other about origins. Damn to all fanatical religious nitwits who try to explain this their own way. I hate churches and most kind of institutions, but after reading this book, I still have tears in my eyes. It's just ... universal.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On the Trail of the Grail, 1 Jan 2004
By 
Mr. Hugh Harkin "hugh_harkin" (Worldwide) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Quest of the Holy Grail (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This story of the legend of the Grail is considered one of the key works on that subject, but it failed to inspire me to saddle-up and take part in the quest. I had heard that this anonymous work from the early 13th century was rich in Celtic symbolism, but I failed to see that. What I saw was a far more Christian text where lofty ideals lead seekers to the most holy of relics. Galahad, the hero of the tale, is so devout and pure that it was very hard to relate and empathise with him. I much preferred Lancelot, whose sin of lust barred his way to a vision of the Grail. He seemed a much more realistic character, but his love of a woman sees him flounder on the quest.
There was also a distinct lack of bad guys and battles to keep us entertained, which made it seem like an action film without a car chase! There was no Mordred or Klingsor to get our blood racing and that leaves the book rather stale. However, it’s not all bad news. I believe every book has a redeeming feature and this is no exception. When King Arthur realises the quest for the Grail will break-up the Round Table, he calls his knights to Camelot for one last gathering, one last noble joust. His short meditation on this is one of my favourite quotes from any Holy Grail book. Knowing many brave knights will die on the quest, he says “Gracious lords, we have now clear proof that you will embark very soon on the Quest of the Holy Grail. And because I know that I shall never again see you all assembled as you are today, I would have in the meadows of Camelot a tournament so splendid that after our death our heirs will talk of it still”.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xb6a08588)

This product

The Quest of the Holy Grail (Penguin Classics)
The Quest of the Holy Grail (Penguin Classics) by Pauline Matarasso (Paperback - 29 May 1975)
9.62
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews