The Wounds of War: The Rise of the Fisher King in Interwar Writing

City University of Hong Kong Strategic Research Grant (Project #7004354), HK$99,537

Principal Investigator (2014-2015)

Celtic mythology tells the story of the Fisher King, a ruler who suffered an incapacitating wound to the groin that never healed and which led to the ruin and desolation of his kingdom. Repeated and recast, the story of the Fisher King and his wound subsequently entered Arthurian legend and the Grail quest mythos, and, in this context, bears out the traumatic impossibility of trying to reclaim something that is no longer there. This project will explore the ways in which the legend of the Fisher King’s wound becomes enacted in twentieth century British writing as a means to register and assuage the traumas of World War I. The project will produce three journal articles, covering Evelyn Waugh, Harold Acton, and Christopher Isherwood.

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