Why, oh why did Parsifal (in any of its numerous spellings) have to end up as some sort of classic of European literature? Feeling duty-bound to close my knowledge gap surrounding this particular character, I’ve been subjecting myself to a real snooze-fest for the last month or so, expending my lunch-break energy on slogging through maybe twenty pages at a time, catching myself dozing off while doing so. In addition to said micro-naps constituting just one more badge of glaring difference I wear in the bank-execs-filled plaza I frequent at the noon hour, I’m long past the point of wondering why I feel so determined to finish this thing, instead of zipping through a nice internet summary.
To keep myself devoted to this project, I have to set myself squarely in the midst of gross historical speculation, and imagine that the Middle Ages were so incredibly boring in Europe that dudes who had somehow escaped the fate of toiling on the land had nothing better to do than wander around and try to knock each other off their horses and make weirdly intense vows to newly-met ladies, themselves so crushed by tedium that they went into a swoon at sight of the first armor-clad stranger they saw. Maybe that also explains the tendency for speaking in superlatives– but if every fair maid is the most beautiful thing on the planet, then we’ve done away with a standard of beauty altogether, returning us to an even more boring milieu than we started with.
To stay true to the theme of literary ennui, I’m leaving this post free of pictures. Maybe I’ll post a gold star for myself if and when I ever make it to the end of this tome.