From Ritual to Romance
From Ritual to Romance is a 1920 landmark study of anthropology and folklore that examines the roots of the King Arthur-Holy Grail legends. Jessie Weston's revolutionary theory holds that most elements of the Grail story are actually the remnants of incredibly old fertility rites -- with the lance and the cup serving as sexual symbols. Drawing on James George Frazer's seminal works on folklore, magic, and religion, Weston seeks to make connections between the legend's early pagan elements and its later Christian influences, uniting the quest for fertility with the striving for mystical oneness with God. T.S. Elliot cited this work as a major influence for his famous epic poem, "The Waste Land." JESSIE LAIDLAY WESTON (1850-1928) was an independent scholar and folklorist who specialized in mediaeval Arthurian texts.