Monday, April 26, 2010

"Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics": The Brilliant Essay that Broke Beowulf Studies

I have an essay up at the Scholars Forum of Lotplaza: Link Here.

I discuss some of the negative effects of Tolkien's great essay. Usually they have very good comments at Lotrplaza. To see them you click on the "scholars forum" link at the top of the page and then select the discussion thread.

1 comment:

Carl Anderson said...

Not surprisingly, I like the emphasis you place on how "historical criticism was a casualty of Tolkien’s friendly fire" in the second part of the essay :) despite the fact that I myself (pace Tolkien et al.) would probably have reservations about treating the characters in Beowulf "as being part of history" (at least without a fair deal of qualification).

Even so, as Tolkien probably would, I too find the ongoing work at Lejre fascinating; it surely provides at least historical context that illuminates the background to the poem's generation (even if perhaps not exactly nailing Beowulf to a set of GPS coordinates).

And I can only agree wholeheartedly that we poor "lesser sons of great sires" should therefore "do our best" to "shift the ground of Beowulf criticism towards addressing the significance of the poet’s setting of his heroes and monsters within heroic history in the named lands of the north". :)