Past Event

Christopher Baswell on Aristocratic Disability

March 19, 2018
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
NYU - Great Room of 19 University Place


The talk will begin at 6 pm, with a reception to follow. The event is free and open to the public.

Throughout Arthurian tradition, the crippled Fisher King is a persistently absent presence. Sought by a sequence of heroes, he and his castle are found, if at all, only by chance. His cure and death at once lead to a resolution of the grail quest, yet mark the end of the Arthurian adventure. Despite this general absence, including a visual absence in the many illustrated manuscripts, the Fisher King is adumbrated by a skein of doubles and avatars throughout the Arthurian narrative, ranging from wounded and immobilized knights, to crippled royal doubles who (like the Fisher King) exist strangely outside time. This talk explores a sequence of encounters with the immobile king that range from the near-erotic to the transcendent.