The BBC Radio 4 program (and podcast) In Our Time is an always reliable source for academic scientific and historical discussions, a recent program on “The Fisher King” will be of much interest to fans of chivalric literature. Here’s the official line:
“In the world of medieval romance there are many weird and wonderful creatures – there are golden dragons and green knights, sinister enchantresses and tragic kings, strange magicians and spears that bleed and talk. And yet, in all this panoply of wonder, few figures are more mysterious than the Fisher King. Entrusted as the keeper of the Holy Grail itself, he resides in a castle made of magic where he lies blighted by a wound that does not heal.
He is a complex and poetic figure and has meant many things to many people. From the age of chivalry to that of psychoanalysis and beyond, he has been Christian and pagan, tragic and enduring, a sinner, a fertility god and a symbol of sexual fear and desire.”
Contributors to the program, Carolyne Larrington (Tutor in Medieval English at St John’s College, Oxford), Stephen Knight (Distinguished Research Professor in English Literature at Cardiff University), Juliette Wood (Associate Lecturer in the Department of Welsh, Cardiff University and Director of the Folklore Society) joined Melvyn Bragg in this fascinating forty minute show. To listen to the archived programme click on the “Listen To This Program In Full” button on this subpage (RealAudio required).
Listeners to the episode have made connections between “The Fisher King” and as disparate works as: Dr No, Apocalypse Now, Heart of Darkness, Discworld (to name a few).
Here’s the podcast feed for In Our Time (which unfortunately doesn’t archive its programs for more than a week):
Posted by Jesse Willis