Commonly considered as the 1st precise masterpiece of English literature, Beowulf describes the exciting adventures of an exceptional Scandinavian warrior of the 6th century. Its lyric depth and resourceful energy are unprecedented, and the poem has tremendously encouraged many vital smooth novelists and poets, such a lot significantly J. R. R. Tolkien, writer of The Lord of the Rings.
Part historical past and half mythology, Beowulf opens within the courtroom of the Danish king the place a terrible demon named Grendel devours males of their sleep each evening. The hero Beowulf arrives and kills the monster, yet pleasure turns to horror while Grendel’s mom assaults the corridor to avenge the demise of her son. eventually successful, Beowulf turns into king himself and principles peacefully for 50 years until eventually, one darkish day, a foe extra strong than any he has but confronted is aroused—an old dragon guarding a horde of treasure. once more, Beowulf needs to summon all his energy and braveness to stand the beast, yet this time victory exacts a negative price.
New translation by means of John McNamara. positive aspects an unique map and family tree chart.
John McNamara is Professor of English on the college of Houston, the place he teaches the early languages and literatures of britain, Scotland, and eire, with a distinct specialize in their oral traditions. he's the co-editor of Medieval Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Myths, Legends, stories, ideals, and Customs.
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Additional resources for Beowulf (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
When we descend from the heights from which we might see Beowulf as a whole, we find ourselves in a narrative that does not simply move in a straight line, but that moves forward and backward, with various side trips into stories that sometimes involve Beowulf and sometimes do not. Here we are confronted with another kind of question about unity. Do we work to reconcile the seeming 舠digressions舡 with the main plot, thereby defending the narrative against charges of disunity, or do we simply accept the very looseness of the structure as the inevitable consequence of its being the kind of work it is, and produced according to aesthetic norms very different from those promoted by, say, Aristotle?
But the point is that he returns to the original story, which now provides a frame or context in which the associated story has meaning. At the same time, what may at first seem to be a digression turns out to give new meaning to the story into which it is inserted. This pattern can be found throughout Beowulf, and it provides further evidence of the artistic complexity of the work. At the same time, we may recognize in this pattern a narrative strategy that is common in oral storytelling舒a point to which we shall return in the discussion of oral composition.
But God repaid them! (lines 102-114). Thus, Beowulf舗s coming fight with Grendel is placed within the context of the cosmic combat between God and the Devil, with Beowulf by implication serving as God舗s champion in the great contest. Later on, in the fight down in the mere against Grendel舗s mother, this implication is made quite explicit. Beowulf had defeated Grendel, but Grendel舗s mother stormed into Heorot to avenge her son by killing one of the chieftains among the warriors. The feud has been renewed.
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