From Ritual to Romance by Jessie L. Weston


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Anchor, 1957.

'Acknowledged by T. S. Eliot as one of the chief sources for his great poem "The Waste Land," Jessie L. Weston's From Ritual to Romance remains a landmark of anthropological and mythological scholarship. In this book she explores the origins of the Grail legend, arguing that it dates back to a primitive vegetation cult and only later was shaped by Celtic and Christian lore.
To prove her thesis, Weston unites folkloric and Christian elements by using printed texts to prove the parallels existing between each and every feature of the legend of the Holy Grail and the recorded symbolism of the ancient mystery cults. Specifically, she finds the origin of the Grail legend in a Gnostic text that served as a link between such cults and later Celtic and Christian elaborations of the myth.'