The few works which will be included in this section lie outside the ordinary range of scholarship, and for this reason--whatever their merits or defects--I have placed them under a sub-title which is designed to mark their particular distinction of motive.
I. Eugène Aroux: (a) Dante, Hèrètique, Rèvolutionnaire, et Socialiste: Rèvèlations d’un Catholique sur le Moyen Age, 1854; (b) Les Mystères de la Chevalerie et de l’Amour Platonique au Moyen Age, 1858.
There are others, but these will suffice, and I have dealt with the author's standpoint sufficiently in the text of the present work. As instances of criticism moving under heavy spells of sorcery, as phenomena of reverie in research, I know few things so profoundly entertaining. The section entitled La Massènie du Saint Graal in the later work deserves and would receive a crown in any Academy of Fantasy.
II. F. Naelf: Opinions Religieuses des Templiers, 1890.
The Graal is the symbol of mystic wisdom and of the communion between God and Man. It is affirmed that the Templars perpetuated a secret doctrine which did not perish with them, if they indeed perished; it passed afterwards through Masonry and is there still embedded. The position of the Johannine sect is considered in the same connection. On our own part, we have already appreciated and set aside these interesting views.
III. Émile Burnouf: Le Vase Sacrè et ce qu’il contient, 1896.
The legend of the Holy Graal contains certain essential elements of the universal cultus which prevailed among the Aryan peoples--which elements are identical with those of India, Persia and Greece. The romances are not important for the religious history of the Sacred Vessel; for that in its Christian aspects we must have recourse to the liturgical texts and ceremonies of the Catholic Church. The true legend of the Graal goes back, however, through Christian times, and thence through the great faiths of the East, to the Vedic Hymns, wherein its explanation is found--otherwise, in that vase which contains Agni under the appearance of Soma.
IV. Isabel Cooper-Oakley: Traces of a Hidden Tradition in Masonry and Mediæval Mysticism, 1900.
Mrs. Cooper-Oakley's chief authorities are Gabriele Rossetti and Eugene Aroux. This is in respect of her views on Masonic tradition, but unfortunately neither of these writers was acquainted at first-hand with the subject, seeing that neither were Masons. As regards the literature of the Holy Graal, a considerable acquaintance is shown with the German cycle, though the writer prefers to depend on her somewhat doubtful precursors rather than on her own impressions. In this way she reflects the opinions of Burnouf as expressed in Le Vase Sacrè. She has written some interesting papers, but they do not carry us further than the pre-occupations of those whom she cites. She is right on the fact that there is assuredly a tradition in Masonry and a tradition in the literature of the Holy Graal, but on the nature of that tradition she is of necessity far from the goal because those are far whom she follows.
A. L. Cleather and Basil Crump: Parsifal, Lohengrin and the Legend of the Holy Graal, 1904.
We have here a summary of Wagner's two operatic dramas from the standpoint of Wagner himself, or, as the sub-title says, "described and interpreted" in accordance with his own writings. The Graal in Wagner is like the Arthurian chronicles in Tennyson, a high and uplifting ceremonial, but not more faithful to the matter of the German cycle than is the English poet to Malory whom he followed. In their account of the sacramental legend, apart from Wagner, Miss Cleather and her collaborator have been guided in part by accepted critics of the literature, like Nutt and Simrock, whose views they have combined with those of Mrs. Cooper-Oakley and her sources. It is said that, according to tradition, the abode of the Holy Graal is on a lofty mountain of India--being, I suppose, a reference to the realm of Prester John. It came also originally from the East, probably from the Himalayas. It connects with Johannine tradition and Templar chivalry.
It should be added that I published in seven successive issues of Mr. Ralph Shirley's monthly magazine, The Occult Review, some articles on the Graal and its literature which constituted a first draft or summary of the present work. They appeared from March to September 1907. Two of these issues also contain some particulars concerning an alleged discovery of the Holy Graal at Glastonbury, with remarks upon the claim and its value.