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Monday, April 14, 2008

"Beowulf" a book Review

Ah, finally another book to add to my list of favorites. It's not a new release, in fact it is quite old . . . the sort of literature that is very old indeed.

Enter "Beowulf" a classic that I should have read years ago. The mighty warrior who sails across the sea to confront a monster, the famed Grendel. Upon slaying the creature, Beowulf and his company feast with the king and the people who feared Grendel's nightly visits. But they rejoice to soon. Not long after killing the beast, Beowulf discovers that the creature's mother is out for revenge. He goes after her and, to the relief of those awaiting release from these monsters, he slays her as well.

The hero's victory over Grendel and Grendel's mother, earn him high esteem in the sight of his king and his people, upon his return to his homeland. And the story tells how he eventually was named king of his homeland and fought and won many battles in his people's defense. His life at last ends when he confronts a dragon.
Here is a quote from Beowulf, one that shows where the heart of literature used to be and is, I believe, the place to which it must return:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
So Hrothgar's men lived happy in his hall
Till the monster stirred, that demon, that fiend,
Grendel, who haunted the moors, the wild
Marshes, and made his home in a hell
Not hell but earth. He was spawned in that slime,
Conceived by a pair of those monsters born
Of Cain, murderous creatures banished
By God, punished forever for the crime
Of Abel's death. The Almighty drove
Those demons out, and their exile was bitter,
Shut away from men; they split
Into a thousand forms of evil--spirits
And fiends,Goblins, monsters, giants,
A brood forever opposing the Lord's
Will, and again and again defeated.

Not that I believe the interpretation of Scripture that is represented in these verses, is accurate. But the fact that the literature recognizes the order of creation and the Orderer of creation . . . is something I appreciate.
Now I must finish Homer's The Iliad. I read it many years ago, but I think it was an abridged version. The Iliad is, also, a wonderful piece of literature. I've read Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress at least five times . . . excellent reading . . . and I'm working my way through it again.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. However... who's the author??? I think I've seen that book before but I've never read it. I'll have to pick it up next time I see it.

Scott Appleton said...

Hi Kelley, 'Beowulf' is so old that no one knows who wrote it. I quote from the introduction: "A single manuscript managed to survive Henry VIII's dissolution of the monestaries, and the destruction of their great libraries..." Can you imagine writing such a famous book and no one, today, knowing your name? If you want to read it, I'll be happy to give you mine. I'm going to want a fancier edition anyways for my library! (:

Pais Charos said...

I LOVE Beowulf!! I've been a Beowulf fan since Middle School ... oh my, that was atleast 14 years ago. None of the movies do it justice. (Note, I haven't seen the newest one, but the previews weren't very promising...).

Pais Charos said...

Ok, I take that back about the newest movie they made. I just watched some of the clips online, and it actually looks like it follows the original story rather well (much better than the other movie that was made). I might see if I can rent it, and let you know my final decision once I've watched it.

(But the epic poem will always be better :-P)

Scott Appleton said...

Be forewarned that the movie is not clean, Connie. I have not seen it, but gave a thorough content overview.

Pais Charos said...

Thanks, Scott. I just read it, and oh my. Guess they didn't follow the original story as well as I'd hoped. Hmph.

I think I'll stick to the epic poem as is. These people obviously don't know how to make a decent movie out of it.


"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

In a world where morality is forsaken and Christ neglected, wholesome books are uncommon. The themes of my writing are love, self-sacrifice, and honor.

I see my generation turning from God to the gods of this world. I see homes torn apart in the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Children are murdered by the millions every year . . . without ever seeing the world outside their mothers' wombs. Through fiction I strive to encourage those who are willing, to stand against these things and be heroes and heroines; chivalrous, gentle, full of righteous indignation, and the fear and love of their Creator.