Grail Narratives: Castration as a Thematic Site

  • Anna Kłosowska
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


The episode of the Fisher King is one of the defining moments of Perceval, leading the hero to finally say his own name (ll.3575–77).1 In that episode, Perceval encounters men in a fishing boat, who direct him to a mysterious Grail Castle. His host is an exquisitely dressed, invalid man. Seated by his side, Perceval witnesses a candle-lit procession with a bleed¬ing lance, a magnificent grail or cup, and a tailleoir (platter):

Uns vaslez d’une chanbre vint,

Qui une blanche lance tint

Anpoigniee par le mileu…

Un graal antre ses deus mains

Une dameisele tenoit…

Aprés celi an revint une

Qui tint un tailleor d’argent…

Tot autresi com de la lance

Par de devant lui trespasserent

Et d’une chanbre en autre alerent. (ll.3,191–243)

[From a room came a young man holding a white lance by the middle…a young woman was holding a cup in both hands…after her came another holding a silver platter…just as with the lance, they walked in front of him, and went from one room to another.]


Symbolic Order French Translation Thematic Site Genital Wound French Commentary 
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© Anna Kłosowska 2005

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