Overheard on the Internet

January 7, 2007 at 11:24 pm (beowulf)

From http://www.scifi.com/grendel/

“‘…through his story, man can live forever…’

Every tale of men and monsters, every story of adventure and courage, every battle of good versus evil, began with this one…

The legend of Grendel…”

I was looking forward to the Angelina Jolie/Crispin Glover version, sort of the way you look forward to a root canal, but I didn’t know about this one until a friend emailed the link. When Terry Eagleton reviewed Seamus Heaney’s 2000 translation of Beowulf, he challenged the poem’s relevance, asserting that “we no longer believe in heroism, or that the world itself is story-shaped” (qtd. in Joy par. 5). I protest, and I call my witnesses: four adaptations of the poem for the movie screen in the space of eight years, John Gardner’s 1971 revisionist novel told from Grendel’s point of view, and Heaney’s translation’s status as a bestseller on the SF Chronicle and New York Times bestseller lists. Somebody needs to undertake a comparative study of the different Beowulfs and Grendels floating around these days and what cultural work these heroes and monsters and performing in their various incarnations.  That would be interesting reading.


Joy, Eileen. “James W. Earl’s Thinking About Beowulf: Ten Years Later.” Heroic Age 8 (2005). Available online at http://www.mun.ca/mst/heroicage/issues/8/forum.html. Accessed 11 September 2006.


1 Comment

  1. Review of SciFi’s Grendel on Unlocked Wordhoard « Slouching Towards Extimacy said,

    […] my earlier post, a friend offered to Tivo this for me (I think that’s a verb — I’m not very tech […]

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