Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Grendel by John Gardner

Grendel (1971)

by John Gardner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,144791,210 (3.85)145
  1. 40
    Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton (sturlington)
  2. 20
    An Absolute Gentleman by R. M. Kinder (ehines)
    ehines: Another fine "from the monster's point of view" kind of story.
  3. 10
    Mickelsson's Ghosts by John Gardner (stellabymoor)
  4. 10
    Wicked by Gregory Maguire (mcenroeucsb)
  5. 00
    Orphans of Chaos by John C. Wright (infiniteletters)
  6. 11
    Gojiro by Mark Jacobson (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another autobiography of a real monster.
  7. 01
    The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another brilliantly retold classic by a modern author.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 145 mentions

English (78)  Spanish (1)  All languages (79)
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
Beautifully written. I will never think about Beowulf and Grendel in the same way. ( )
  Jaskier | Dec 1, 2015 |
Brilliant, beautiful book. ( )
  Michael.Xolotl | Nov 11, 2015 |
I've just started this book because the students in my classes are reading this for pleasure, so I imagine it's wonderful. I'm a big Beowulf fan as it is, and I'm intrigued by the premise of such a book as well as by the fact that teenagers are asking to read it! So far I'm on page 11 and I have read, and reread, and underlined, and tossed the words around in my mind and on the tip of my tongue....sprawled out on the grass at the park in the warm May sun. I LOVE IT!!! I think this is the best prose I have ever read! It's like poetry but prose and I can't wait to read on but I keep wanting to go over the words slowly and longingly. Who can't relate to Grendel? A monster? Brilliant writing. I'll journal more when I finish. This book came from the shelf of my cooperating teacher (from my student teaching) and I think I'm going to have to buy a new book to give back to her....I can't bear to part with this one since it's inspired me to write so much in the margins.

An awesome experience, reading this book. It's been a while since I've encountered writing like this...unconventional, poetic, brilliant to say the least.
A mind trip. ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 14, 2015 |
Here John Gardner tells us Grendel's side of the old story of Beowulf and his slaying of the Monster menacing Hrothgar's people. When Grendel first begins observing people he is surprised to find that they speak a language similar to his own and, at times, wants to talk with them. But, when they first see him, all they see is a monster that needs killing. So he spies on them, occasionally killing one or two, listens to the Shaper's singing of old tales in Hrothgar's hall, and finally goes to war with humans.

I was reminded a bit of the Frankenstein monster (not the movie version) as Grendel was very alone, his mother uncommunicative, and the Dragon finding it wearying to talk to a frightened Grendel who couldn't understand much of its philosophical musings. Thus Grendel found himself on his own in trying to figure out life and his place in the world; somehow, the reader wants him to succeed in finding a place where he belongs even though we know how his story must end.
  hailelib | May 30, 2015 |
It is really good and has a very interesting main character. It makes you contemplate a lot about good and bad. The main characters thoughts are quite surreal and also has an interestingly unique personality. ( )
  Keroro | Apr 28, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Gardnerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Antonucci, EmilIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kassner, WendyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leonard, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Penberthy, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is a retelling of

Has the adaptation

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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
For Joel and Lucy
First words
The old ram stands looking over rockslides, stupidly triumphant.
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Grendel is a 1971 parallel novel by American author John Gardner. It is a retelling of the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf from the perspective of the antagonist, Grendel. The novel deals with finding meaning in the world, the power of literature and myth, and the nature of good and evil.

AR 5.9, 6 Pts
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679723110, Paperback)

Grendel is a beautiful and heartbreaking modern retelling of the Beowulf epic from the point of view of the monster, Grendel, the villain of the 8th-century Anglo-Saxon epic. This book benefits from both of Gardner's careers: in addition to his work as a novelist, Gardner was a noted professor of medieval literature and a scholar of ancient languages.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:47 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The first and most terrifying monster in English literature, from the great early epic BEOWULF, tells his side of the story.

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
46 avail.
37 wanted
5 pay5 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.85)
0.5 2
1 18
1.5 1
2 62
2.5 18
3 176
3.5 56
4 303
4.5 42
5 254


3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 103,016,943 books! | Top bar: Always visible