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Grendel (1971)

de John Gardner

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
5,4881021,530 (3.84)179
The first and most terrifying monster in English literature, from the great early epic BEOWULF, tells his side of the story.
  1. 90
    Eaters of the Dead de Michael Crichton (sturlington)
  2. 30
    An Absolute Gentleman de R. M. Kinder (ehines)
    ehines: Another fine "from the monster's point of view" kind of story.
  3. 30
    Little, Big de John Crowley (sturlington)
  4. 20
    L'ampla mar dels Sargassos de Jean Rhys (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Classics retold to give voice to silent characters important to their plots.
  5. 10
    Beowulf de Beowulf Poet (sturlington)
    sturlington: Grendel is a retelling of Beowulf from the monster's pov.
  6. 21
    The Song of Achilles de Madeline Miller (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another brilliantly retold classic by a modern author.
  7. 10
    Mickelsson's Ghosts de John Gardner (stellabymoor)
  8. 10
    Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West de Gregory Maguire (mcenroeucsb)
  9. 11
    Gojiro de Mark Jacobson (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another autobiography of a real monster.
  10. 01
    Orphans of Chaos de John C. Wright (infiniteletters)
1970s (40)
S'està carregant…

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Es mostren 1-5 de 101 (següent | mostra-les totes)
A retelling of Beowulf from the viewpoint of the monster.
Retellings are a tricky business, I think. You have to stay true to the spirit of the original while also making the story your own and using it for your own purposes. I know this one has received high acclaim, and while I started out with high hopes, in the end it just didn't work for me. Gardner is clearly using the tale to engage with Big Philosophical Ideas (I mean the whole thing is lousy with Sartre), and that's fine, of course, but it just feels like the story gets lost somewhere along the way and there's more interpretation and metaphor than retelling, or for that matter, telling at all. Plus, it's so very grim. It's dark without the depth of actual feeling of the original, which mean we're left with just dreariness. ( )
  electrascaife | Apr 3, 2022 |
Grendel by John Gardner takes the Beowulf story that some of us read in high school and turns it on its head.
If you think you know who is the hero here, keep reading.

Grendel is an articulate monster, curious about life and art and his role as "Brute Extant" and mead hall wrecker. He wants to fit in, He wants to understand. He's lonely.

The Shaper - the King's blind harper - sings of a world of noble warriors and a benevolent God. Grendel knows better. He sees the world as a place of random violence and greed and lust and savagery. He's not the only "Monster" here.

The Thane's government, seen as wise and merciful, is just the way that the rich and powerful STAY rich and powerful. Sound familiar?

There is a curmudgeonly and know-it-all dragon, who pokes holes in all of Grendel's illusions, and Beowulf himself, who shows up late in the book to carry out his assigned role in the history. (Free will? Or pre-destination? You decide).

It's a advanced seminar in Existential Philosophy wrapped up in breathtakingly beautiful poetry, asking questions that are still valid and still important. Who shapes society? The Poets -- who lie? Or the monsters -- who by being "evil" teach men how to be "Good".

You want Answers? Talk to the dragon. ( )
  magicians_nephew | Dec 9, 2021 |
My Beowulf journey continues. I first read this book in the late 1970’s and loved it then. I thought the idea of telling the story from Grendel’s point of view was brilliant. And It was my gateway to reading many more of Gardner’s works.

And in my re-read of it now, I love it even more.

I’ll leave it to others to explicate how Gardner wove the 12 Zodical signs into its structure (e.g. read The Twelve Traps in John Gardner’s Grendel), or infused Satrean nihilism into it. (Love the dragon: “Know how much you’ve got and beware of strangers!” [P.S. advice Grendel ultimately ignores]). And it seems a thorough exploration of Macbeth’s “life’s…a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

But in connection with the poem Beowulf, I appreciated the perspective of a sentient being trying to make sense out of the customs and artifacts of what was to it a foreign community. Not unlike the archeologists trying to make sense of the culture found in artifacts discovered at Sutton Hoo.

So I think I’ll add the audiobook reading by George Guidall others have highly recommended to my list. I need to mull whether I’ll add Sartre’s Being and Nothingness to that list.

Update: re-read Andrew DeYoung’s “Grendel at 50”.
Lithub. And gmail. ( )
  jimgosailing | Nov 18, 2021 |
"Tedium is the worst pain."

Gardner gives Grendel a voice that is difficult to ignore. It drills away slowly into your conscience, working its way deep into your subconscious and making residence there. His voice is sharp, eloquent, and persuasive to an offensive degree, to say the least.

I highly recommend this book for literary nerds (and Beowulf fans). For others, I suggest you read a chapter (on Amazon or elsewhere) before deciding to dive into it. ( )
  bdgamer | Sep 10, 2021 |
Grendel is a heavily philosophical novel, and a pretty interesting read. It also has a lot more blood and guts than I would normally seek out in a book, but my fifteen-year-old son raved about it after reading it in school, so I had to give it a try. I love that John Gardner thought to turn Beowulf on its head by telling the story from Grendel's perspective. Although Grendel offers an empty alternative and I often found living in his head repellent, his critique of the war-making society and heroic idealism of his time (and perhaps several forms of human folly in general, too) felt painfully current at times. Well done. ( )
  CaitlinMcC | Jul 11, 2021 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 101 (següent | mostra-les totes)

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (9 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
John Gardnerautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Antonucci, EmilIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Ford, JeffreyIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Guidall, GeorgeNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Kassner, WendyDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Leonard, MichaelAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Penberthy, MarkAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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And if the Babe is born a Boy
He's given to a Woman Old,
Who nails him down upon a rock,
Catches his shrieks in cups of gold.
-- William Blake
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For Joel and Lucy
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The old ram stands looking over rockslides, stupidly triumphant.
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I touch the door with my fingertips and it bursts, for all its fire-forged bands--it jumps away like a terrified deer--and I plunge into the silent, hearth-lit hall with a laugh that I wouldn't much care to wake up to myself.
The sun walks mindlessly overhead, the shadows lengthen and shorten as if by plan.
And so begins the twelfth year of my idiotic war. The pain of it! The stupidity!
I understood that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. I understood that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. All the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or what I push against, blindly—as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back.
What was he? The man had changed the world, had torn up the past by its thick, gnarled roots and had transmuted it, and they, who knew the truth, remembered it his way--and so did I.
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The first and most terrifying monster in English literature, from the great early epic BEOWULF, tells his side of the story.

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