Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Disability, Blood, and Liminality in Malory’s “Tale of the Sankgreal”

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2016), 10, (3), 271–286.

Abstract

Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur figures ability as the normative center of the chivalric code; therefore, characters with disabilities are often barred from full participation in the chivalric community, particularly in the acts necessary to knightly identity. At the same time, however, knights use their wounds incurred on the battlefield to demonstrate their prowess. As a result, the text construes disability as an ambiguous, even liminal state that threatens a cohesive notion of knighthood. “The Tale of the Sankgreal” disrupts this normative structure; here, disability emerges from the margins of the text, always in connection with blood. In particular the experiences of Lancelot, Perceval’s sister, and Galahad exemplify the ways in which disability, blood, and knighthood intersect within the liminal space of the Grail Quest.

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Pearman, Tory Vandeventer. Women and Disability in Medieval Literature. New York: Palgrave, 2010. Print. Women and Disability in Medieval Literature Google Scholar

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Robeson, Lisa. “Women’s Worship: Female Versions of Chivalric Honour.” Re-viewing the Morte Darthur: Texts and Contexts, Characters and Themes. Eds. K.S. Whetter and Raluca L. Radulescu. Woodbridge: D.S. Brewer, 2005. 107–18. Print. Women’s Worship: Female Versions of Chivalric Honour Re-viewing the Morte Darthur: Texts and Contexts, Characters and Themes 107 18 Google Scholar

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Archibald, Elizabeth. “Beginnings: The Tale of King Arthur and King Arthur and the Emperor Lucius.” A Companion to Malory. Eds. Elizabeth Archibald and A. S. G. Edwards. Woodbridge: D.S. Brewer, 1996. 133–52. Print. Beginnings: The Tale of King Arthur and King Arthur and the Emperor Lucius The Tale of King Arthur 133 52 Google Scholar

Armstrong, Dorsey. Gender and the Chivalric Community. Gainesville: Florida UP, 2003. Print. Gender and the Chivalric Community Google Scholar

Atkinson, Stephen C. B. “Malory’s Lancelot and the Quest of the Grail.” Studies in Malory. Ed. James W. Spisak. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute, 1985. 129–52. Print. Malory’s Lancelot and the Quest of the Grail Studies in Malory 129 52 Google Scholar

Barber, Richard. The Knight and Chivalry. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1995. Print. The Knight and Chivalry Google Scholar

Batt, Catherine. Malory’s Morte Darthur: Remaking Arthurian Tradition. New York: Palgrave, 2002. Print. Malory’s Morte Darthur: Remaking Arthurian Tradition Google Scholar

Beckerling, Philippa. “Perceval’s Sister: Aspects of the Virgin in the Quest of the Holy Grail and Malory’s Sankgreal.” Constructing Gender: Feminism and Literary Studies. Ed. Hilary Fraser and R. S. White. Perth: U of Western Australia P, 1994. 39–54. Print. Perceval’s Sister: Aspects of the Virgin in the Quest of the Holy Grail and Malory’s Sankgreal Constructing Gender: Feminism and Literary Studies 39 54 Google Scholar

Bynum, Caroline Walker. Wonderful Blood: Theology and Practice in Late Medieval Northern Germany and Beyond. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2007. Print. Wonderful Blood: Theology and Practice in Late Medieval Northern Germany and Beyond Google Scholar

Cherewatuk, Karen. “Born-Again Virigns and Holy Bastards: Bors and Elyne and Lancelot and Galahad.” Arthuriana 11.2 (2001): 52–64. Print. Born-Again Virigns and Holy Bastards: Bors and Elyne and Lancelot and Galahad Arthuriana 11.2 52 64 Google Scholar

Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. Hybridity, Identity and Monstrosity in Medieval Britain. New York: Palgrave, 2006. Print. Hybridity, Identity and Monstrosity in Medieval Britain Google Scholar

Derrida, Jacques. Dissemination. London: Athlone, 1981. Print. Dissemination Google Scholar

Douglas, Mary. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo London: Routledge, 1966. Print. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo Google Scholar

Finke, Laurie, and Martin B. Shichtman. “No Pain, No Gain: Violence as Symbolic Capital in Malory’s ‘Morte d’Arthur’.” Arthuriana 8.2 (1998): 115–34. Print. No Pain, No Gain: Violence as Symbolic Capital in Malory’s ‘Morte d’Arthur’ Arthuriana 8.2 115 34 Google Scholar

Fries, Maureen.“Gender and the Grail.” Arthuriana 8.1 (1998): 67–79. Print. Gender and the Grail Arthuriana 8.1 67 79 Google Scholar

Girard, Rene. Violence and the Sacred. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1977. Print. Violence and the Sacred Google Scholar

Goddard, Rick and Jonathan Hsy. “Analytical Survey: Encountering Disability in the Middle Ages.” New Medieval Literatures 15 (2013): 313–35. Print. Analytical Survey: Encountering Disability in the Middle Ages New Medieval Literatures 15 313 35 Google Scholar

Hodges, Kenneth. “Wounded Masculinity: Injury and Gender in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur. ” Studies in Philology 106.1 (2009): 14–31. Print. Wounded Masculinity: Injury and Gender in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur. Le Morte Darthur 106.1 14 31 Google Scholar

Hoffman, Donald L. “Perceval’s Sister: Malory’s ‘Rejected’ Masculinities.” Arthuriana 6.4 (1996) 72–83. Print. Perceval’s Sister: Malory’s ‘Rejected’ Masculinities Arthuriana 6.4 72 83 Google Scholar

Ihle, Sandra Ness. Malory’s Grail Quest: Invention and Adaptation in Medieval Prose Romance. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1983. Print. Malory’s Grail Quest: Invention and Adaptation in Medieval Prose Romance Google Scholar

Jung, Emma, and Marie-Louise Von Franz. “The Central Symbol of the Legend: The Grail as Vessel.” The Grail: A Casebook. Ed. Dhira B. Mahoney. New York: Garland, 2000. 149–74. Print. The Central Symbol of the Legend: The Grail as Vessel The Grail: A Casebook 149 74 Google Scholar

Keen, Maurice. Chivalry. New Haven: Yale UP, 1984. Print. Chivalry Google Scholar

Kelly, Kathleen Coyne. “Malory’s Body Chivalric.” Arthuriana 6.4 (1996): 52–71. Print. Malory’s Body Chivalric Arthuriana 6.4 52 71 Google Scholar

Kennedy, Beverly. Knighthood in the Morte Darthur, 2nd ed. Woodbridge: D.S. Brewer, 1992. Print. Knighthood in the Morte Darthur Google Scholar

Llull, Raymond. The Book of the Order of Chivalry. Trans. William Caxton. Ed. A. T. P. Byles. London: EETS, 1926. Print. The Book of the Order of Chivalry Google Scholar

Lynch, Andrew. Malory’s Book of Arms: The Narrative of Combat in Le Morte Darthur. Woodbridge: D.S. Brewer, 1997. Print. Malory’s Book of Arms: The Narrative of Combat in Google Scholar

McCracken, Peggy. The Curse of Eve, The Wound of the Hero. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2003. Print. The Curse of Eve, The Wound of the Hero Google Scholar

Mahoney, Dhira B. “The Truest and Holiest Tale: Malory’s Transformation of the Queste. ” Studies in Malory. Ed. James W. Spisak. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute, 1985. 109–28. Print. The Truest and Holiest Tale: Malory’s Transformation of the Queste. Studies in Malory 109 28 Google Scholar

Malory, Thomas. The Works of Sir Thomas Malory, 3rd edn, 3 vols. Ed. Eugène Vinaver, rev. P.J.C. Field. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990. Print. The Works of Sir Thomas Malory Google Scholar

Mann, Jill. “Malory: Knightly Combat in ‘Le Morte D’Arthur’.” Medieval Literature: Chaucer and the Alliterative Tradition. Ed. Boris Ford. The New Pelican Guide to English Literature, vol. 1, part 1. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982. 331–39. Print. Malory: Knightly Combat in ‘Le Morte D’Arthur’ Medieval Literature: Chaucer and the Alliterative Tradition 331 39 Google Scholar

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Mann, Jill. “Malory and the Grail Legend.” A Companion to Malory. Ed. Elizabeth Archibald and A. S. G. Edwards. Woodbridge: D.S. Brewer, 1996. 203–20. Print. Malory and the Grail Legend A Companion to Malory 203 20 Google Scholar

Martin, Molly. Vision and Gender in Malory’s Morte Darthur. Woodbridge: D.S. Brewer, 2010. Print. Vision and Gender in Malory’s Google Scholar

Matarasso, Pauline. The Redemption of Chivalry: A Study of the Queste del Saint Graal. Geneva: Droz, 1979. Print. The Redemption of Chivalry: A Study of the Queste del Saint Graal Google Scholar

Metzler, Irina. A Social History of Disability in the Middle Ages: Cultural Consideration of Physical Impairment. London: Routledge, 2013. Print. A Social History of Disability in the Middle Ages: Cultural Consideration of Physical Impairment Google Scholar

Moorman, Charles. “‘Tale of the Sankgreall’: Human Frailty.” Malory’s Originality: A Critical Study of the Morte Darthur. Ed. R.M. Lumiansky. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1964. 184–204. Print. ‘Tale of the Sankgreall’: Human Frailty Malory’s Originality: A Critical Study of the 184 204 Google Scholar

Morse, Charlotte. The Pattern of Judgment in the Queste and Cleanness. Columbia: U of Missouri P, 1978. Print. The Pattern of Judgment in the Queste and Cleanness Google Scholar

Murray, Susan. “Women and Castles in Geoffrey of Monmouth and Malory.” Arthuriana 13.1 (Spring 2003): 17–41. Print. Women and Castles in Geoffrey of Monmouth and Malory Arthuriana 13.1 17 41 Google Scholar

Pauphilet, Albert. Ètudes sur la Queste del Saint Graal. Paris: H. Champion, 1980. Print. Ètudes sur la Queste del Saint Graal Google Scholar

Pauphilet, Albert, ed. La Queste del Saint Graal. Paris: Editions Champions, 1984. Print. La Queste del Saint Graal Google Scholar

Pearman, Tory Vandeventer. Women and Disability in Medieval Literature. New York: Palgrave, 2010. Print. Women and Disability in Medieval Literature Google Scholar

Rawcliffe, Carol. Leprosy in Medieval England. Woodbridge: D.S. Brewer, 2006. Print. Leprosy in Medieval England Google Scholar

Robeson, Lisa. “Women’s Worship: Female Versions of Chivalric Honour.” Re-viewing the Morte Darthur: Texts and Contexts, Characters and Themes. Eds. K.S. Whetter and Raluca L. Radulescu. Woodbridge: D.S. Brewer, 2005. 107–18. Print. Women’s Worship: Female Versions of Chivalric Honour Re-viewing the Morte Darthur: Texts and Contexts, Characters and Themes 107 18 Google Scholar

Shichtman, Martin B. “Percival’s Sister: Genealogy, Virginity, and Blood.” Arthuriana 9.2 (1999): 11–20. Print. Percival’s Sister: Genealogy, Virginity, and Blood Arthuriana 9.2 11 20 Google Scholar

Turner, Victor. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. London: Routledge, 1969. Print. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure Google Scholar

Wheatley, Edward. Stumbling Blocks Before the Blind: Medieval Constructions of a Disability. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2010. Print. Stumbling Blocks Before the Blind: Medieval Constructions of a Disability Google Scholar

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Pearman, Tory V.

Pearman, Tory V.