The Beowulf Trilogy In Submission – Article

published in: Fantasy // Legend & Myth Literature

The Beowulf Trilogy In Submission - Article
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Stephan Grundy’s Beowulf Trilogy (Young Beowulf, Beowulf the Hero, and Beowulf the King) is a follow-up to his acclaimed novels of Germanic legend, …

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The Beowulf Trilogy
In submission

Stephan Grundy’s Beowulf Trilogy (Young Beowulf, Beowulf the Hero, and Beowulf the King) is a follow-up to his acclaimed novels of Germanic legend, Rhinegold and Attila’s Treasure. Like the previous two, his rendition of Beowulf is his own translation from original texts worked into a modern novelization, placed in the historical setting of those characters in it who can be proven to (or are thought likely to) have existed. While Beowulf himself is a figure of myth, the archetypal "Bear’s Son" (who appears, in various forms, throughout Germanic legends and tales from the oldest pre-Christian myths to the fairy stories collected by the Brothers Grimm), Beowulf’s king Hygelac and the Yngling kings Onela, Eanmund, and Eadgils are all historical figures, Hygelac’s ill-fated raid on the Franks being particularly well-documented in Continental sources of the time. Grundy has, accordingly, filled out the brief references to battles and political conflicts in the poem Beowulf with more detail from Ynglinga saga and Hr√≥lfs saga kraka, both of which deal with the same characters and many of the same events. He has also put the events described in the poem into chronological order, whereas in the original most of them are recounted as background to the dragon-slaying and an explanation of the Geats’ desperate military and political situation at the end of the poem. Grundy’s chief additions, however, come in regards to the two aspects of life which appear only sketchily in the original Beowulf: the role of women and the influence of the native religion of the North. The position of women as advisors, managers, and co-rulers is hinted at briefly through the figure of Wealhtheow in the original, but has little impact on what is, fundamentally, a tale of heroic deeds. By emphasizing not only Wealhtheow, but the women who are influential both in Beowulf’s personal life (almost completely absent in the original) and in Scandinavian



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