Goddess and Grail

The Battle for King Arthur’s Promised Land


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About the Book

The early chroniclers of Britain presented the island as the promised land of the Roman goddess Diana. Later, when the story of Arthur was transformed by Christian mythology, a new literary concept of the island was promoted: the promised land of the Holy Grail. As the feminine enchantment of the Goddess gave way to the masculine crusade of the Grail Quest, the otherworld realms of the fays or fairy women were denigrated in favor of the heavenly afterlife. The dualism of the medieval authors was challenged by modern writers such as Blake and Tolkien. This book explores the conflict between Goddess and Grail—a rift less about paganism versus Christianity than about religious literalism versus spiritual imagination.

About the Author(s)

Jeffrey John Dixon, after studying English literature at Sussex University, travelled widely and now lives and writes in Powys, United Kingdom.

Bibliographic Details

Jeffrey John Dixon
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6866-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2928-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface  1

Introduction—The Other World of the Gods  5

Prologue—From Eden to Albion  15

Part 1. Mythological Roots  19

One: A Mighty Goddess  20

Two: The Lady of the Rings  31

Three: The Otherworld Bride  44

Four: Fate and Faerie  58

Five: A Woman’s Wiles  69

Six: The View from Fortune’s Wheel  87

Interlude • The Deceitful Savior  98

Part 2. Realms of Symbolism  123

Seven: By This Sign, Conquer  124

Eight: The Prophet of the Grail  137

Nine: Moon Magic  153

Ten: The Marvels of the Holy Grail  171

Eleven: Mountains of Heresy  186

Twelve: An End to Adventures?  203

Epilogue—From Albion to Avalon  223

Appendix—Tolkien’s Lonely Isle  231

Chapter Notes  239

Bibliography  247

Index  253

Book Reviews & Awards

“Dixon’s detailed knowledge of medieval and early modern English literature is obvious.. Dixon has created a thought-provoking, interdisciplinary view of the Arthurian tradition, one that should interest a wide audience of scholars”—The Medieval Review