Mixing Memory and Desire: Nine
IX. End Notes
i. Curiously, Philip is said to have brought the “Precious Blood” to Bruges. It is possible that Philip acquired this book during one of his trips to England. Philip was friends with Thomas Beckett, and visited England in 1170 and 1174. As a first cousin to the king and friend to the Archbishop of Canterbury, he would certainly have access to all sorts of books, even including a hypothetical intermediate text which is the missing link between the Celtic stories and Chrètien de Troyes. Of course, the book could also have been written by an educated Breton, or by someone who had heard the stories of the Breton minstrels, perhaps even Bledhericus himself. However, it is impossible to know.
ii For another example, here is testimony from workers during the nineteenth century:
Examiner: Will you state the hours of labour at the period when you first went to the factory, in ordinary times?
Crabtree: From 6 in the morning to 8 at night.
Examiner: Fourteen hours?
Examiner: When trade was brisk what were your hours?
Crabtree: From 5 in the morning to 9 in the evening.
Examiner: What was the consequence if you had been too late?
Crabtree: I was most commonly beaten (Scott, para 21-23)
Or this observation by a doctor:
Their complexion is sallow and pallid--with a peculiar flatness of feature, caused by the want of a proper quantity of adipose substance to cushion out the cheeks. Their stature low--the average height of four hundred men, measured at different times, and different places, being five feet six inches. Their limbs slender, and playing badly and ungracefully. A very general bowing of the legs. Great numbers of girls and women walking lamely or awkwardly, with raised chests and spinal flexures. Nearly all have flat feet, accompanied with a down-tread, differing very widely from the elasticity of action in the foot and ankle, attendant upon perfect formation (Gaskell 161-162).
Or these, Edwin Chadwick’s observations on the sanitary conditions of London:
That high prosperity in respect to employment and wages, and various and abundant food, have afforded to the labouring classes no exemptions from attacks of epidemic disease, which have been as frequent and as fatal in periods of commercial and manufacturing prosperity as in any others.
That the formation of all habits of cleanliness is obstructed by defective supplies of water.
That the annual loss of life from filth and bad ventilation are greater than the loss from death or wounds in any wars in which the country has been engaged in modern times.
That of the 43,000 cases of widowhood, and 112,000 cases of destitute orphanage relieved from the poor's rates in England and Wales alone, it appears that the greatest proportion of deaths of the heads of families occurred from the above specified and other removable causes; that their ages were under 45 years; that is to say, 13 years below the natural probabilities of life as shown by the experience of the whole population of Sweden. (para 5-8)
iii. Cornwall was often mined by the Roman occupiers as the main source for tin; while totally improbable, it is not impossible that a man from Palestine could visit Cornwall—both were at opposite ends of the same empire.
iv. There is some debate over which came first, Perceval, or the story Peredur in The Mabinogion. Though the manuscript of the Red Book of Hergest is of a later date, there are many elements in Peredur which mark it as being older than Chrètien’s poem. Still, the text which we have now may be only a copy of an older version, with some borrowings from Chrètien.
v. J.R.R. Tolkien used them in his fantasy epic Lord of the Rings for the same purpose. The rise of fantasy literature in the 20th century is related to the return of the Grail legend—occurring for the same reasons, but instead of retreading old ground, men like Tolkien and C.S. Lewis invented their own worlds, with have a great debt to both Celtic and Norse myth. The Runic alphabet is called Futhark, as those are the first six letters (“th” being one letter).
vi. Finally, Kurtz quotes from "The Hollow Men"; "The Hollow Men" quotes from Heart of Darkness; Heart of Darkness inspired Apocalypse Now.
Mixing Memory and Desire: Ten