Grendel's Mother and Norton Anthology

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Colby Gresham
English 2310
Essay 1

“Beowulf, the oldest of the great long poems written in English, may have been composed more than twelve hundred years ago, in the first half of the eighth century, although some scholars would place it as late as the tenth century.” This was the first sentence I read in, The Norton Anthology (eighth edition volume one), on Beowulf and I stopped and said to myself, “Here goes another extremely long and boring story”, but I was absolutely wrong. I was interestingly intrigued with Beowulf, line by line I could hardly wait to read what would happen next. Apparently there is argument that Beowulf may have strong individual oral input throughout the story even though, The Norton Anthology, states that it is widely believed that Beowulf is the work of a single poet who was Christian and that his poem reflects well-established Christian tradition, which could be taken into consideration since some lines have Christian reference; line 224 to 228, “It was the end of their voyage and the Geats vaulted over the side, out on to the sand and moored their ship. There was a clash of mail and a thresh of gear. They thanked God for that easy crossing on calm sea.” The Norton Anthology also states that in 1731, before any modern transcript of the text had been made, the manuscript was seriously damaged in a fire. Since facts obviously show that the manuscript of Beowulf was rewritten over periods of time, I guess questions would be relevant regarding the authors. Did various authors put their own underpinnings or set of ideas into the story Beowulf? In this essay I will explain why I don’t support the argument that the literature Beowulf has oral underpinnings through descriptions, regularity and organization.

“They had seen me boltered in the blood of enemies, when I battled and bound five beasts, raided a troll-nest and in the night-sea slaughtered sea-brutes” lines 419 to 422. So every reader probably agrees that many descriptions are...
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