A number of medieval texts, beginning with the 12th century Perceval or Le Conte del Graal by Chrétien de Troyes, describe a visit to a castle, chapel or temple dedicated to the Holy Grail. It is evident that simply to visit these places is to effect a profound change upon the visitor. In effect the places were the Grail is housed are chambers of initiation.
In this talk John will look at several neglected texts, some previously untranslated, which offer detailed accounts of buildings constructed to house the Grail, and a possible source for a physical site which may have influenced the writers and architects who saw the Grail as a symbol of spiritual gnosis.
John Matthews is an independent scholar who has published over a hundred titles on the Arthurian Legends, Traditional Wisdom, and Grail Studies. He was recently guest editor of the journal Arthuriana, for which he edited a special issue on Modern & Post Modern Arthurian Fiction.
John has been involved in a number of media projects, as an advisor and contributor, including the Jerry Bruckheimer film King Arthur (2004). He shared a BAFTA award for his work on the Educational DVD made to accompany the film. Much in demand as a speaker both in Europe and the USA, he has taught at (among others) the Temenos Academy in London, Oriel College, Oxford, and at the University of Seattle in Washington. He lives in Oxford with his wife, the writer Caitlin Matthews, and 2 literary cats.