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Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology [Paperback]

Robert D. Fulk

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Book Description

March 1 1991 A Midland Book

Interpretations of Beowulf brings together over six decades of literary scholarship. Illustrating a variety of interpretative schools, the essays not only deal with most of the major issues of Beowulf criticism, including structure, style, genre, and theme, but also offer the sort of explanations of particular passages that are invaluable to a careful reading of a poem. This up-to-date collection of significant critical approaches fills a long-standing need for a companion volume for the study of the poem. Larger patterns in the history of Beowulf criticism are also traceable in the chronological order of the collection.

The contributors are Theodore M. Andersson, Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur, Jane Chance, Laurence N. de Looze, Margaret E. Goldsmith, Stanley B. Greenfield, Joseph Harris, Edward B. Irving, Jr., John Leyerle, Francis P. Magoun, Jr., M. B. McNamee, S. J., Bertha S. Phillpotts, John C. Pope, Richard N. Ringler, Geoffrey R. Russom, T. A. Shippey, and J. R. R. Tolkien.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (March 1 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253206391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253206398
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beowulf as Tolkien's first love and other essays Sept. 15 2010
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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