Please ponder and comment on my question below.
“Is it possible to establish chain of descent connecting early Aryan and Babylonian Ritual with Classic, Medieval and Modern forms of Nature.”
“In the process of our investigation we must retrace our steps and turn back to the early traditions of our Aryan forefathers, and see whether we cannot, even in that remote antiquity, lay our hand upon a clue, which, like the fabled thread of Ariadne, shall serve as guide through the mazes of a varying, yet curiously persistent, tradition.”
“the root of such belief and custom is imbedded in a deeper stratum of Folk-tradition than we had hitherto realized, that it is, in fact, a heritage from the far-off past of the Aryan peoples”
“When we turn from the early Aryan to the classic Greek period we find in the Kouretes, and in a minor degree in the Korybantes, a parallel so extraordinarily complete, alike in action and significance, that an essential identity of origin appears to be beyond doubt.”
In a book published in 1920 about the myth of the grail and the Fisher King do references to “our Aryan ancestors”, set off red flags of racism or worse? There are twenty eight references Aryans, “our ancestors”, predating The Greeks and Near Eastern civilizations in From Ritual to Romance by Jessie Laidley Weston. I Read this because in Lawrence Rainey in his very illuminating The Annotated Wasteland said:
“Not only the title, but the plan and a good deal of the incidental symbolism of the poem were suggested by Miss Jessie L. Weston's book on the Grail legend: From Ritual to Romance (Cambridge). Indeed, so deeply am I indebted, Miss Weston's book will elucidate the difficulties of the poem much better than my notes can do; and I recommend it (apart from the great interest of the book itself) to any who think such elucidation of the poem worth the trouble.”
Weston’s book was published just two years before The Waste Land. Maybe The social malaise of The 1920s lead to a need to believe you are descendents of a lost to history super civilization. Of course The comfort of The belief comes from excluding others. We know who seized on Aryan ancestors and maybe this is causing my reaction.
I am quite sure the research into the myth of the Grail and the Fisher King in the last near 100 years has rendered her conclusions mute, of course she did not have the scientific tools modern workers do.
I do recommend this book for sure to those want to more fully understand The Wasteland, she does say interesting things and has a seeming level of erudition high enough to intimidate most.
The quote below, from the webpage of Sacred Texts, gives a generous overview of the importance of the book:
“At the advanced age of 70, Jessie Weston, who had spent decades immersed in the Arthurian canon, wrote this relatively short book to attempt to explain the roots of the legend of the Holy Grail. She enumerates the seemingly inexplicable elements of the quest--The Fisher King, The Wasteland, the Chapel Perilous, and the Grail Cup itself--and ties them to the symbols and initiatory rites of the ancient mystery religions. She also attempts to identify the author and locality of the tale. Her thesis still inspires heated controversy among academics. It is also claimed that T.S. Elliot's The Wasteland was based on this book, although this has been questioned.
One thing is certain; although this book is one of the bullet-points of 20th century culture, probably very few have read and understood it in its entirety. Written in a formal academic style, with extensive passages in a dozen different languages, From Ritual to Romance is frankly a tough, but ultimately very rewarding read.”
You can read the book for free at the above webpage. I paid $1.95 for a kindle edition, which seem fair.
Her Obituary (she died in 1928)
THE death is announced of Miss Jessie Laidlay Weston, D.Litt., which took place in London on Sept. 29 at the age of seventy-seven. Miss Weston was born on Dec. 29, 1850, and educated at Brighton, Paris, and Hildesheim, and studied art at the Crystal Palace School. In 1890, at the suggestion of the late Alfred Nutt, and with the view of making the stories of the Wagner dramas more widely known in England, she took up the study of the Arthurian Legend. Her first work was a translation of “Parzival,” by Wolfram von Eschen-bach, and this was followed by a series of studies of the origins and development of the Arthurian Cycle. She dealt in succession with Sir Gawain, Sir Lancelot du Lac, Sir Perceval, and “The Three Days' Tournament,” her studies being published in the Grimm Library. Then followed “Seven Arthurian Romances Unrepresented in Malory,” “Romance, Vision, and Satire,” and “Chief Middle English Poets.
To add to my questioning, the Germanic myths of Wagner, particularly that of Parzival, were part of the Jungian roots of Nazism.
I am glad I read this book. Serious literary autodidacts should add this to their list.