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Conte del Graal: the Continuators of Crestien.

- Several continuations exist which, from the vague indications yielded by their authors, may be dated between 1190 and 1240. It is noteworthy that Gauvain's adventures fill nearly as much space as do those of Perceval himself; he, too, is brought to a castle, in which a dead knight lies on a bier; lance and sword and Grail appear; Gauvain asks concerning these objects, but falls asleep in the midst his host's recital. On the morrow he wakes on the sea strand, finds the country-side, heretofore desert, bursting into blossom, and is at once blessed and banned by the country folk, blessed for having partly delivered the land from its curse, banned for not having wholly succeeded. This adventure occurs in the first continuation, due to a certain GAUTIER, who relates many adventures of Perceval, which seem to have no connection with Grail and lance. Thus he has an amour with a Water-fay, inmate of a castle in which is a magic chess-board which plays by itself against the hero ('tis a work of Morghe la Fée); she sends him in pursuit of a stag which he slays, but is deprived of the fruit of his success by a "maid of ill chance." He comes again to the Fisher King, asks the necessary questions, and is then given the broken sword to weld together, a task to be accomplished by none save a lover of God and of His spouse, Holy Church. He succeeds save for one little crack, is embraced by the Fisher King, and hailed lord of his house. In another continuation, that of MANESSIER, Perceval achieves the adventure of the castle by slaying Partinaus of the Bed Tower, nephew of Espinogre, who had treacherously slain Goon Desert, the Fisher King's brother, in revenge for his uncle's death. The sword with which the foul blow was struck broke, and the pieces might only be rejoined by the destined avenger; in handling them the Fisher King was wounded. On seeing Partinaus' head the king leaps to his feet, is straightway made whole, hails Perceval as his nephew, and is succeeded by the latter at his death. In yet another continuation, that of GERBERT, stress is laid upon Perceval's forsaking Blanchefleur, whom, after avenging her uncle Gornumant upon a hideous witch, he rejoins and marries (being assured in a dream that of his seed shall be the Swan Knight and the Deliverer of the Holy Sepulchre), comes again to the Fisher King's castle and pieces together the sword.

In addition to these varying statements concerning Perceval's achievement of the task laid upon him by the hideous damsel, the continuations to Crestien (some 50,000 lines in all) yield several accounts concerning the nature, origin, and history of the Grail and lance. Before discussing these we must first examine a German, a Welsh, and an English romance, the contents of which are closely allied to Crestien's poem, and, in part, to the continuations.


Quelle: The Legends of The Holy Grail, Alfred Nutt, London 1902, S. 9ff