restricted access Disability, Blood, and Liminality in Malory’s “Tale of the Sankgreal”

Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur figures ability as the normative center of the chivalric code; therefore, characters with disabilities are often barred from full participation in the chivalric community, particularly in the acts necessary to knightly identity. At the same time, however, knights use their wounds incurred on the battlefield to demonstrate their prowess. As a result, the text construes disability as an ambiguous, even liminal state that threatens a cohesive notion of knighthood. “The Tale of the Sankgreal” disrupts this normative structure; here, disability emerges from the margins of the text, always in connection with blood. In particular the experiences of Lancelot, Perceval’s sister, and Galahad exemplify the ways in which disability, blood, and knighthood intersect within the liminal space of the Grail Quest.