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The goal of this course is to provide an overview of the many different ways writers of fiction and nonfiction have imagined, and reimagined, the object known as the Grail. We'll look at how the Grail was invented as a powerful literary symbol in the late 12th and early 13th centuries by a group of medieval romancers who celebrated the Grail as a symbol of perfection. At times, this perfection was social, and the Grail functioned as a symbol of the perfect knight or of the ideal chivalric society. Most often, however, the Grail's perfection was unmistakably religious, so that it was indeed the Holy Grail, a symbol of God's perfect love, grace, wisdom, and joy. After being ignored for centuries, the Grail was rediscovered in the 19th century by both poets and scholars, who radically reinvented what the Grail stood for. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, the Grail fascinates many who search for the perfect spiritual wisdom it promises.