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Grendel by John Gardner

Grendel (original 1971; edition 1989)

by John Gardner (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,800901,433 (3.84)156
Authors:John Gardner (Author)
Info:Vintage (1989), 192 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

Grendel by John Gardner (1971)

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1970s (86)

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» See also 156 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
On the one hand, I wish I'd discovered this in my teens, because I would have connected more strongly to Grendel then. On the other hand, it's such a wonderful complement to Beowulf, in particular if read after, that I'm glad found it later as I wouldn't have fully appreciated either Beowulf or the relationship of the two books at that age. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Dec 29, 2018 |
Wow. I feel like much of this book just went over my head... but what I did grasp (or at least what I think I grasped) took my breath away.
This novel is more philosophical than plot-driven, and these thoughts could have been expressed by any character. So why did John Gardner choose Beowulf's Grendel?

"Poor Grendel's had an accident... so may you all." ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
I could not get enough of this book when I read it. ( )
  Katie80 | Oct 8, 2018 |
Beautiful, smart, funny. ( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
I just re-read this book because it is on the rising 12th grade CP English reading list. I still don't think this is a good choice for CP kids, who have probably not read Beowulf. Grendel spends too much time being philosophical to appeal to 17 year olds, in my opinion. ( )
  ioplibrarian | Aug 26, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

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

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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
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.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

(summary from another edition)

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