Grendel Paperback – Oct 12 1973
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Grendel is a beautiful and heartbreaking modern retelling of the Beowulf epic from the point of view of the monster, Grendel, the villain of the 8th-century Anglo-Saxon epic. This book benefits from both of Gardner's careers: in addition to his work as a novelist, Gardner was a noted professor of medieval literature and a scholar of ancient languages. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
George Guidall's crusty but spirited narration is perfectly suited for the monster Grendel. Gardner's 1971 classic takes the Anglo Saxon Beowulf epic and uses varying translations of the poem and other writings from the period to tell the story from the poor monster's viewpoint. Most first-person narratives translate well to the audio format, and Grendel especially enchants, casting a spell not unlike a grown-up "Lord of the Rings." The monster observes humans from a revealing and telling vantage. Just like a child in the schoolyard, Grendel picks up certain curse words and takes joy in repeating them. This has resulted in Gardner's book being challenged at the many schools where it is rightfully part of the curriculum. Guidall's voice is familiar enough for a still-fresh tale. This is storytelling at its best.?Gerald A. Notaro, Univ. of South Florida, St. Petersburg
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
From forest shadows, he views--through his primal lens--the duplicitous, scheming and barbaric true nature of the king's growing empire and the warring clans around it. No animal, points out Beowulf, would treat his own kind so cruelly.
Later in the novel, as Grendel grows out of young adulthood into complete monster maturity, he begins to interact more fiercely with the humans. He wants to show them how wrong they are, how vulnerable, how false their gods. To his surprise, however, the beauty of Beowulf's queen--who is completely inaccessible--enchants him. Rather than seriously persue the queen, however, he views the king as unworthy of her and this feeling builds his resentment toward the king and his domain.
Outside of the monster Grendel, there are two arresting figures in the book. The first is the dragon, who sits in a subterranean lair and, more importantly, stands outside of time and thus can see eons of events at glance--before and after they occur. From this perspective, the dragon attempts to school the young monster in the finer points of space-time. This is an entertaining sidetrack from the novel's main thrust, and the dragon's viewpoint of time (analogous to surveying a plain from a mountaintop) leaves a lasting impression on the reader. To Grendel, of course, the concepts are beyond him and the dragon becomes upset at Grendel's obvious boredom and disquiet.Read more ›
In contrast to the drunken lurching of the others, Unferth comes toward Grendel with speeches and bravery. He is a puffed up as a peacock, proud and ready to die for his king, his people, his ideal. Grendel simply states, "He was one of those." Grendel sees Unferth with a clear and unbiased mind. He is ridiculous. His exaggerated heroism, his words, even his first move, to scuttle sideways like a crab from thirty feet away, is laughable. Grendle does with him what he does with no other Dane in the story, he talks.
Unferth offers Grendle death, and Grendle sends back taunts. The reason this scene is funny is because the taunts are sharply accurate.Read more ›
Grendel is sad, lonely, and bored. His only friend (besides his mother, who offers little conversational companionship) is a wise ancient dragon who sits on a massive treasure hoard and mentors the young beast in the significance of being a monster, that having the power to terrify and brutalize is just as much an affirmation of life as killing to eat. And killing is Grendel's forte: He repeatedly targets the thanes of Hrothgar, king of the Danes, who, as descendants of the blessed race of Abel, intrigue him; voyeuristically he spies on them in their meadhalls, sardonically observing their folly, believing that he provides for them a healthy challenge to their complacency. He particularly enjoys the ineffectual assaults of a warrior named Unferth who seeks hero status by trying to slay Grendel numerous times and whom Grendel always spares out of spite, to dishonor him and amplify his ineptitude.
If Grendel were human, he'd be called a sociopath. He hates himself, men, and the world, but he turns his extreme negativity into a strange attitude of superiority -- he likes to show his enemies that he can always beat them, that they're defenseless against his aggression and foolish as well.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
An excellent rewriting of the classic epic 'Beowulf' from the perspective of the monster, Grendel. I absolutely loved this book, the story was awesome and heartfelt and the writing... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Racalatta
This is a great reworking of Beowulf. I read it before I read the original, and drove my Anglo-Saxon classmates in university completely crazy because I continued to root for the... Read morePublished on March 7 2014 by xmanforever
Clever, touching, creative, and thought-provoking, _Grendel_ is a work of art that, through the perspective of a naive monster, comments on the hypocrisy and anthropocentric nature... Read morePublished on June 15 2004 by Caradae Linore
This book made the wings of my nostrils flare like an angry priests.Published on Feb. 25 2004 by Tablet Pen
The idea of a book about the other side of Beowulf intrigued me. John Gardner depicts Grendel and not the epitome of evil, but a complicated creature that is both humanistic and... Read morePublished on Nov. 29 2003 by sporkdude
I found John Gardener's Grendel to be a very good read. It was the kind of book that you could just read, and leave it at that, or you could also go deep into it and discuss it in... Read morePublished on Nov. 6 2003
Spinning-off from human history's original epic, Grendel tells the story from the monster's perspective. Read morePublished on Oct. 31 2003