Grendel Recast in John Gardner's Novel and Beowulf
This book brings John Gardner’s bestselling Grendel to life in the most comprehensive study of the novel to date. Using as a guide Gardner’s discussions on art, his extensive scholarship on Anglo-Saxon poetry, and his love of stories, this chapter-by-chapter analysis shows Grendel to be much more than an ironic twist on Beowulf. It reveals three distinct fights that mirror the poem, which solves mysteries that have stymied readers for decades. Anyone studying or teaching the novel will find useful analyses of Beowulf, a discussion of the novel within Gardner’s views on morality and art, and an assessment of Grendel as a modern tragic hero and anti-hero. The monster wants to be human with every ounce of his being, even at his death. This issue of identity, particularly for those who are outcast from society, culture, and community, finds resonance in nearly all of Gardner’s works. It does so in Grendel as well, and importantly so, as this work reveals.
Dr Sandra Hiortdahl received her doctorate from the Catholic University of America, where she graduated with distinction. A long-time member of the John Gardner Society, she has presented and hosted several of their conferences. She has also won several awards for her creative writing, including the Sophie Kerr Prize, the Ghost Mountain Award, and Pen2Paper’s Grand Prize for fiction. She is currently a tenured Professor of Literature and Writing at Northeast State Community College, USA.
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