ARMAND-PIERRE CAUSSIN DE PERCEVAL (1795-1871), French orientalist, was born in Paris on the 13th of January 1 795.
For the critical treatment of the subject see The Legend of Sir Perceval (Grimm Library, vol.
The membership is not restricted to the knights of Arthur's immediate court and household, knights who are, in all essentials outsiders, appearing but as passing guests at Arthur's board, such as, e.g., Perceval and Tristan, may be elected knights of the Round Table.
The value and interest of the Perceval romances stand very high, not alone for their intrinsic merit, though that is considerable - Chretien's Perceval, though not his best poem, is a favourable specimen of his work, and von Eschenbach's Parzival, though less elegant in style, is by far the most humanly interesting, and at the same time, most deeply spiritual, of the Grail romances - but also for the interest of the subject matter.
To the student of the original texts Lancelot is an infinitely less interesting hero than Gawain, Perceval or Tristan, each of whom possesses a well-marked personality, and is the centre of what we may call individual adventures.
Recent discoveries, however, point to a different conclusion, and indicate that the Gawain stories represent an early tradition, and that we must seek in them rather than in the Perceval versions for indications as to the ultimate origin of the Grail.
A month later, on the 11th of May, Perceval was assassinated in the lobby of the House of Commons, and Lord Liverpool became the head of a government that was to last till 1827.
This was at one time claimed as the original source of all the Perceval romances, but this theory cannot be maintained in face of the fact that the writer gives in one place what is practically a literal translation of Chretien's text in a passage which there is strong reason to believe was borrowed by Chretien from an earlier poem.
Caussin de Perceval published (1828) a useful Grammaire arabe vulgaire, which passed through several editions (4th ed., 1858), and edited and enlarged Elie Bocthor's 1 Dictionnaire francais-arabe (2 vols., 1828; 3rd ed., 1864); but his great reputation rests almost entirely on one book, the Essai sur l'histoire des Arabes avant l'Islamisme, pendant l'epoque de Mahomet (3 vols., 1847-1849), in which the native traditions as to the early history of the Arabs, down to the death of Mahommed and the complete subjection of all the tribes to Islam, are brought together with wonderful industry and set forth with much learning and lucidity.
There is good ground for believing that as Grail quester and winner, Gawain preceded alike Perceval and Galahad, and that the solution of the mysterious Grail problem is to be sought rather in the tales connected with the older hero than in those devoted to the glorification of the younger knights.