Chapel Perilous is an occult term referring to a psychological state in which an individual cannot be certain if he has been aided or hindered by some force outside the realm of the natural world, or if what appeared to be supernatural interference was a product of his own imagination. The term first appeared in Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur as the setting for an adventure in which sorceress Hellawes unsuccessfully attempts to seduce Sir Lancelot, and was first used as an occult term by the late writer and philosopher Robert Anton Wilson (b. 1932 - d. 2007) in his book Cosmic Trigger. According to Wilson, being in this state leads the subject into becoming either stone paranoid or an agnostic. In his opinion there is no third way.
The term 'Chapel Perilous' is mentioned in the book, "How to Read Literature Like A Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines," Chapter 1. In a discussion about the five elements of a quest, the author cites the plot of the book, "Crying of Lot 49." Under Item 4, Challenges and Trials, 'chapel perilous' is defined as, "the dangerous enclosure that is known in the study of traditional quest romances." The book, "How to Read Literature Like A Professor," was written by Thomas C. Foster, a professor of English at the University of Michigan at Flint.
In addition, Jessie L. Weston calls chapter thirteen of her book From Ritual to Romance (1920) "The Perilous Chapel," and T. S. Eliot picks it up from there in The Waste Land (1922).
- ↑ Foster, Thomas C. (2003). How to Read Literature Like a Professor. Harper-Collins. pp. 4. ISBN 0-06-000942-X.
- ↑ Malory, Sir Thomas. Le Morte D'arthur: Sir Thomas Malory's Book of King Arthur and of his Noble Knights of the Round Table, Volume 1.