Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Laura Howes

Committee Members

Mary Dzon, Stanton Garner


The purpose of this thesis is to study the specific condition of female characters in the literature of the Holy Grail. While this women do not occupy a substantial portion of the narratives, they exude a feminine authority over the test and its progression. The female characters of Perceval's sister in both the Vulgate's Queste del Saint Graal and Malory's "Tale of Sankgreal" and Sigune and Cundrie of Wolfram's Parzival play integral roles to the ultimate achievement of the Grail by their male counterparts. By contextualizing these characters within the medieval Christian tradition, as presented by Caroline Walker Bynum, it is evident that they participate in a large convention of the unique female religious experience of the time. This special feminine spirituality allows them both autonomy and control over the story's events.

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