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Recommended Arthurian Reading List


PERLESVAUS. (Otherwise known as The High History of the Holy Grail in the early translation by Sebastian Evans.

A better, modern version by Nigel Bryant was published as The High Book of the Grail by Rowman & Littlefield in 1979. The most mystical version of all. A "must".

QUESTE DEL SAINT GRAAL. From the "Vulgate Cycle", translated as The Quest of the Holy Grail by P. Matarasso. Penguin Books 1969.

The Cisterian version. Very Christian.

PARZIVAL. By Wolfram von Eschenbach. Translated by H.M. Mustard & Co. Passage, Vintage Books 1961.

The oddest of them all in some ways - very hard to read, but - there is a new translation coming from Penguin in August, 1980. This one for all the links between East and West, and the West for connecting with the Tree.

CONTE DE GRAAL. Translated as The Story of the Grail by Chretien de Troyes. W.W. Lidker, Chapel Hill (USA) 1952.

Out of print now, but still the only English translation of the first Grail text to come down to us. Very important.

PEREDUS in The Mabinogion.

The pagan version - head in the dish etc. Great stuff!


Based on his Book of the Saint Greal, on the Vulgate Grail story and a lot of other things. Full of valuable symbolism, but imperfectly understood.


Divided into four sections, Inner, Mystical, Literary and Historical. There is, of course, some overlap.

(A) Inner

The Legend of the Holy Grail. Order of the Rose Cross.

Still one of the best, but be warned; the literary side is full of mistakes.

Dion Fortune. Avalon of the Heart. Aquarian 1971.

No comment!

Hall, Manley P. Orders of the Quest - The Holy Grail.

Antroposophical Pub. Co. 1960. A bit of a mish-mash but worth reading.

Heline, Corinne. Mysteries of the Holy Grail. New Age Press, 1977.

Very Christian, but a very unusual angle. Genuine received text.

(B) Mystical

Adolf, Helen. Viscio Pacis: Holy City of the Grail. Pennsylvania State U.P.

Very important book, this. Hard to get hold of, so better place an ad in the Astral Times! A genuine attempt to put the Grail in a Mystical context.

Morduch, Anna. The Sovereign Adventure; The Grail of Mankind. Clark, 1970.

Wilkins, Eithne. The Rose-Garden Game. Gollancz, 1969.

Yes, a book about rosaries, but packed with clues and hints about the Grail of Arthur.

Williams, Charles. Arthurian Torso. Oxford University Press, 1948.

Unfinished at his death. C.W's apotheosis, and a book which says more about Arthur & Co. than a dozen others ever could. For the advanced student it could be dynamite!

(C) Literary

Bruce, J.D. The Evolution of the AA.Rom. Peter Smith (USA) 1958.

Not too easy to get and expensive. (2 vols hardbound) but still the best history of the literary development around. With this up your sleeve you can become an expert in a week!

Jung, Emma & von Franz, Marie-Heloise. The Grail Legends. Hodder, 1971.

The best historical overview so far.

Waite, A. E. The Hidden Church of the Holy Grail. Rebman, 1909.

Fowler did a re-print of this a year or so back; it is impossible to read, like A.E.W's things, but my goodness there is a lot in it!

(D) Historical

Ashe, G. King Arthur's Avalon. Collins 1957. From Caesar to Arthur. Collins 1952.

Lodmus, R. S. The Grail: from Celtic Myth to Christian Romance. University of Wales (Columbia University Press 1963).

Weston, J. L. From Ritual to Romance. Doubleday, Ancor Books 1957.

Still the best for odd-ball theories. Gave rise to Eliot of course. What better recommendation could you want!


The best is still, I think:-

Cavendish, Richard. King Arthur and the Grail. Weiderfeld & Meolson, 1978.

Barber, Richard. The Arthurian Legends. Boydell, 1979.

A lovely book, this, samples all the texts with explanations and lots of pictures.

Markale, Jean. King Arthur, King of Kings. Gordon and Cremonesi, 1978.

A bit Marxist in its leanings, but still an exciting and reliable read.


HISTORY OF THE KINGS OF BRITAIN. Av Geoffrey of Monmouth. Penguin, 1961.

A pseudo-history of Britain - though historians are beginning to wonder...

ROMANCE OF TRISTAN. Av Beroul. Penguin, 1970.

An earlier, sparser version of Gottfried.


There are dozens of translations of this, of which the best I think is that of J. R. R. Tolkien. Allen & Unwin 1975.

Also worth adding is:

THE KNIGHTLY TALES OF SIR GAWAIN. Edited and translated by L. B. Hall. Nelson-Hall. Chicago, 1976.

Contains nearly everything about the great sun-hero, including the wonderful "Wedding" of Sir G. and Dame Ragnell.

Last, (but by no means least), TRIODD YNYS PRYDEIN (TRIALS OF THE ISLAND OF BRITAIN). Edited and translated by Radell Bromwich. University of Wales Pr. 1961.

A storehouse of marvels.




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