Beowulf: The Monsters and the Tradition
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Grendel's attack on Heorot and the resulting battle with Beowulf is undeniably the most vivid and memorable scene in Beowulf and quite possibly in all of Anglo-Saxon narrative. Arthur Brodeur has commented on its narrative power (1959); Stanley B. Greenfield has analyzed the style of the passage on more than one occasion (1967, 1972); Alain Renoir has called the scene "one of the most effective presentations of terror in English literature" (1968:166); George Clark has described this scene as a version of the theme he calls "The Traveler Recognizes His Goal" (1965). Almost every book on Beowulf touches on the narrative qualities of this scene, and many an article on Beowulf will include some discussion of it. Thus Grendel's attack on Heorot is not only the most memorable scene in the text; it is also one of the most heavily glossed.
Oral Tradition, 7/2 (1992): 258-283.
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