Beowulf

Started 18 February

Finished 20 February

This poem was shorter than I thought, but it was hard to get through it.

It really makes me wonder how our style — contemporary style — will look to the next generations. It was packed with action. This guy did this, which came from this guy who did that, which was stolen by the guy who did this…and the like. It reminded me of the Iliad in that, but this rolled together whereas the Iliad seems to have more asides. Grecian versus Germanic maybe.

There really is not much to say to how I reacted because it is the typical hero story. The few surprises in it were that Beowulf is from modern day Sweden, oxen are cows, there is a trend in Germanic tales — I am not smart enough to explain it yet, but perchance one day I will be –, and the women are strong.

It is very Christianised. This is post-destruction of the indigenous cultures, and post-Rome. It therefore is very preachy in its ‘God decreed this day shall come’, but it fits the tone. The women though are not weakened Southern European women — these are still the valkyries of Germanic tribes, and Anglo-Saxon Valkyries (wælcyrge) are perhaps creepier than Nordic ones.

It took me two days to read, but if one wanted to do so, it is an afternoon read. It is only 3200 lines, or so. I kept stopping to look up aspects, and read about the archaeological artefacts that my edition has on the opposite page. I recommend doing that for the nerdier audience.

Either way, it is another Western Canon book finished.

Be safe. Be loved. Live with honour.

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