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Grendel Paperback – May 14, 1989
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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
In the poem Beowulf, Grendel is a very flat character. He is, in fact, the epitome of evil, unfeeling and cruel. He comes, he kills and eats people, he leaves. Then he comes back. This book gives Grendel a personality. He knows he is a member of the fallen (Cain�s) race, and accepts that fact. He is lonely, and cannot even get companionship from his mother, who has long ceased to communicate. In fact, his only real �friends� are the Danes he kills. Still, he knows he is dependent on Hrothgar�s survival. �If I murdered the last of the Scyldings,� he muses, �what would I live for?�
This book gives excellent insight into the character of Grendel, and will definitely change the way you look at the poem Beowulf. Gardner�s Grendel is a creature who determines to kill Beowulf for the honor of Hrothgar, so that his thanes will not have been outdone by a newcomer. I highly recommend this short work for anyone interested in the great old English epic.
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
I appreciated the cleverness and loved the retelling aspect. I would have LOVED this as a lit student. Read morePublished 7 days ago by lacemaker
One of the earliest pieces of English literature was written with a grammar that most modern readers would not recognize. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Robert Bolton
I read this book my senior year of high school and had to purchase it. John Gardner does a fantastic job at looking from an extremely complex point of view from the monster of... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Robert
Grendel is such a contradiction, but a beautiful one, and his take on life is so wonderfully depressing. Read morePublished 1 month ago by O Vincent
"Seek out gold and guard it" advises the Dragon, in a stunning chapter that peels back Grendel's skin (metaphorically speaking but close enough for what happens). Read morePublished 2 months ago by Owl
I was very disappointed when I received my book and found large amounts of underlined and hightlighted sections in the book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ainsley T. Shallcross
I had heard about this book ever since college but it took me twenty years to read it. It stands as the best book I've read in 2015, in the top handful of this decade so far and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jason Groce