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Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology Paperback – Mar 22 1991
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By Ulfilas - Published on Amazon.com
This book is an anthology of essays on Beowulf and Old English literature in general--chief among which is J. R. R. Tolkien's 1936 classic tour de force "The Monsters and the Critics". In this essay Tolkien extols the virtues of Beowulf as a piece of literature that focuses on the hero's struggle against Grendel (and other monsters in the story) as a sort of abstract representation of man's battle against evil. Tolkien argues that such a story is in some ways superior to the depiction of a more concrete and limited contest between warring political factions in Dark Age Northern Europe. Other interesting pieces round out the collection including a discussion of the ever present "wyrd" (fate), Grendel's mother as the antithesis of the proper queen, and the role of irony. This collection is not for the faint of heart, however, nor for the person unable to read Old English with a certain degree of ease.
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