Orig. pub.: Cardiff, University of Wales Press; and New York, Columbia University Press, c1963.
1 The chief romances of the Grail: a preview. 2 The origins and growth of Arthurian romance. 3 Celtic myths, their mutations and combinations. 4 The first grail story, the Conte del Graal of Chretien de Troyes. 5 The grail bearer, the question test, and the fisher king. 6 The first sequel to the Conte del Graal: the corpse on the bier and the broken sword. 7 Irish Echtrai: the waste land and the bleeding lance. 8 Manessier's sequel and Peredur: the mission of revenge. 9 Perlesvaus: Welsh talismans and a Welsh Elysium. 10 Sone de Nansai and the Mabinogi of Branwen. 11 The prose Lancelot: combat and scandal in the castle of King Pelles. 12 The Queste del Saint Graal: Celtic story-patterns in Cistercian allegory. 13 Parzival, the spiritual biography of a knight. 14 Joseph of Arimathea, an evangelist by error. 15 Glastonbury, school of forgery and Isle of Avalon. 16 The end of the quest
'The medieval legend of the Grail, a tale about the search for supreme mystical experience, has never ceased to intrigue writers and scholars by its wildly variegated forms: the settings have ranged from Britain to the Punjab to the Temple of Zeus at Dodona; the Grail itself has been described as the chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper, a stone with miraculous youth-preserving virtues, a vessel containing a man's head swimming in blood; the Grail has been kept in a castle by a beautiful damsel, been seen floating through the air in Arthur's palace, and been used as a talisman in the East to distinguish the chaste from the unchaste. In his classic exploration of the obscurities and contradictions in the major versions of this legend, Robert Sherman Loomis shows how the Grail, once a Celtic vessel of plenty, evolved into the Christian Grail with miraculous powers....'