Thank you for this Stephen! I knew you would know more about the source!
Also interesting, my English teacher (when I was homeschooled) assigned Mallory to me many years ago…so am familiar with that name.
Then there is Tennyson’s poetry…
where the Lady of Shalot becomes more of a “pining faerie,” than a “cheated wife,” or an “enchantress disguised as Guinevere,” as you mentioned…there is always so much more to these stories!
All are fascinating and worthy!
I am familiar with the Mabinogion and find those tales to be quite fascinating, especially as they seem to connect back to an earlier nature-oriented perception…with the animals being the guides.
This is off topic but I was a little surprised that Abrams in the Spell of the Sensuous mostly skimmed over this with only the briefest nod to earlier times in the isles.
Yet they STILL reference that living respect, and appreciation of nature as a vital animating force…
I seem to recall the land itself was considered as a goddess…different places and formations or different sacred areas…and that kind of held over into early Christianity with sacred wells and streams.
But back to the grail…when you mention a “head” being “the grail,” yes I can definitely see how this would borrow from the Gaelic legends!
Bran! ?the “raven” God whose head was cut off…and buried to protect the people and the land.
somehow I thought that tied into the Tower of London too where there always must be ravens.
And then there are the tales of Arthur having turned into a “raven,” after death.
Plus there was another story where Arthur had a son named “Bran!”
(though there was a young fantasy book that took this inspiration so I’d have to re-check origins of inspiration)
But then Bran was associated with a “white raven.”
Yes completely Celtic or Gaelic influences but it makes sense with Wales being associated with Arthurian legends!