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the fisher king

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MadArchitect

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the fisher king

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Is this the proper forum in which to discuss mythology? Regardless...I'm looking for some information on the medieval symbol/legend of the fisher king, and I thought I'd through the question your way. In particular, I'm looking for primary sources -- that is, occurences of the fisher king motif in actual medieval literature. But references to critical works would also be appreciated, as would any random information you happen to know off the top of your head.If anyone's interested, the fisher king is a character associated with the Arthurian Grail cycle. In essence, he's a prince or king who finds himself wounded by one means or another (it varies from version to version), and is largely incapacitated but unable to die. The significance of the character has been explained in a number of ways, and the whole legend is fascinating in part because it's so enigmatic. In one version, the fisher king is a prince returning from knight errantry. He stumbles on an abandoned camp, the centerpiece of which is a salmon roasting on a spit. Overcome with hunger, the fisher king takes a bite of the salmon, but it's so hot that it wounds him, and he finds himself unable to escape the camp.I have Robert Johnson's "The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden", but it's not really suitable for my purposes. (I tend to think that it's not really suitable for much, really.) And I also have most of the Grail cycle -- "Lancelot of the Lake", "The Quest for the Holy Grail", two or three versions of "The Death of Arthur" and a collection of Chretain de Troyes' Arthurian romances. Unfortunately, none of them are equipped with indices, so I can't look up particular references within the works. If someone can point me to occurences within those works, I'd be very grateful.
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Re: the fisher king

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I think this is the proper forum...but regardless...Quote:He stumbles on an abandoned camp, the centerpiece of which is a salmon roasting on a spit. Overcome with hunger, the fisher king takes a bite of the salmon, but it's so hot that it wounds him, and he finds himself unable to escape the camp.Uh...the Fisher King sounds like a moron given this synopsis! Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.Once you perceive the irrevocable truth, you can no longer justify the irrational denial. - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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MadArchitect

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Re: the fisher king

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Gee, thanks for the help.
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Re: the fisher king

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MadIs this the proper forum in which to discuss mythology?Considering many religious folk would consider their particular religion to be true, and all others to be myth; I think Mythology has a right honored place at this table.Likewise, Philosophers have employed Myth in multiple capacities in order to better illuminate their theories and insights: Plato, Nietzsche, and Camus come to mind.
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Sorry Mad...I was just being quippy. I have nothing to offer you in this matter.Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.Once you perceive the irrevocable truth, you can no longer justify the irrational denial. - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
MadArchitect

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No problem. I don't mind the joke. I just hope it doesn't derail the thread before it has a chance to get started.
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Dissident Heart

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I know Joseph Campbell has spent a good deal of his scholarship exploring the Fisher King and Wasteland themes in mythology. In particular, his fourth volume of the Masks of God series titled, Creative Mythology is where he gives it the most attention.In Creative Mythology, Campbell traces the roots of the Fisher King and Wasteland stories across European and Occidental history; finding similar symbols, events, characters in Celtic, Greek, pre-Christian and New Testament mythic systems.Of course, Campbell's dependency upon the primacy of the psychological lens of interpretation, Jungian specifically, allows him to find Fisher King and Wasteland motifs universally in world mythology. Thus, Campbell shows how these themes arise in North American Indian or Indian sub-continent mythic systems.Campbell takes the pedagogic leap to argue for how the Wasteland takes modern shape and where the contemporary world searches for its Hero Knight to heal the wounded King of our day. Are you interested in pursuing a similar exploration of our contemporary Wasteland? Who might be our Percival? And what has wounded our Fisher King and how to heal him?
MadArchitect

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No, I'm more interested in the myth as it took expression in the specifically medieval context in which it arose. Thanks for the reference. I'll take a look at "Creative Mythology". I have "Occidental Mythology"; I was surprised that the Fisher King wasn't mentioned there.
Sara Michael

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Hello ... interesting topic. May I ask what prompted you to research the "Fisher King?" The Fisher King intrigues me as well. One aspect his slashed thighs .... I find it interesting that often "Satan / Lucifer / Devil / Diablo" is often portrayed with a limp or gimp. Thighs are also associated to fertility rituals as well as spiritual trials (Garter belts, Thigh Shields). Grooms toss bridal garters. Women wear garter belts clipped at the thighs aka chastity belts. A priest's vestments include a "thigh shield." Perpetual struggle between spiritual / physical. Or perhaps man's continuous struggle between civilized and animal instincts
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