The first and most terrifying monster in English literature, from the great early epic BEOWULF, tells his side of the story.
A retelling of the Beowulf mythology from the perspective of Grendel, the monster who preys upon the Anglo-Saxons of Hrothgar's tribe. Grendel is a nihilist who opposes the rationalism and self-abnegation of human beings and fears the advent of the society they are attempting to construct. He is defeated by Beowulf in the end.
Fiction + Literature Genres, Fiction + Literature Themes
Science Fiction + Fantasy, Human Qualities + Behavior, Literary Genres + Types of Novels, Conflicts + Dualities, Settings
Book Subgenre:Science Fiction + Fantasy, Human Qualities + Behavior, Literary Genres + Types of Novels, Conflicts + Dualities, Settings
Book Genre:Fiction + Literature Genres, Fiction + Literature Themes
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"This is a marvelous novel, absolutely marvelous; witty, intelligent, delightful, so totally a work of the imagination that it creates its own world while touching upon our memories of myth and verse....'Grendel' is not just the kind of facile revisionism in which 'Little Red Riding Hood' is told from the wolf's point of view; it is instead a celebration and a conservation of what we most need in one of the greatest poetic myths we have. Lightly, if seriously, done, you understand. I cannot recommend it too highly."
"[This] is a first-person account of Grendel the monster, a study of maniacal drive, fear, loneliness, and craving for communication. Gardner's Grendel is properly shrewd and sympathetic. The author uses the Beowulf story closely, adroitly weaving in translations from the poem and material from other Old English writings. Carefully casual anachronisms are scattered throughout, heightening the Ionesco-like atmosphere, at once grotesque in its awareness of 20th-Century psychology and shrouded in ancient myths. Gardner has captured the essence of the world of Beowulf, of northern winters, violent drinking bouts, truces and broken vows, and the mysterious coming of the stranger who held the power to heal old wrongs in his hands."
"In Gardner's updating, Grendel becomes a symbol of ultimate nihilism....But this novel is no mere allegory. Its forces are more flesh than metaphysics, and 'Grendel' is a tale full of action, observation, poetry, and strange to say humor. Grendel possesses, for all his negativism, a sort of Holden Caulfield charm....The world, Mr. Gardner seems to be suggesting, in his violent, inspiring, awesome, terrifying narrative, has to defeat its Grendels, yet somehow, he hints, both ecologically and in deeper ways, that world is a poorer place when men and their monsters cannot coexist."
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