Gardner, John (Book - 1989)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
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Item Details

The first and most terrifying monster in English literature, from the great early epic BEOWULF, tells his side of the story.
Authors: Gardner, John, 1933-1982
Title: Grendel
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1989, c1971.
Edition: Vintage Books ed.
Characteristics: 174 p. :,ill. ;,21 cm.
Local Note: 15 16 17 24 27 29 53 71 74 109 112 113 118 129 148 152 153 167 172 173 175 210 216 242 250 263 264 274
ISBN: 9780679723110
Statement of Responsibility: John Gardner; illustrated by Emil Antonucci
Subject Headings: Heroes Fiction. Dragons Fiction. Monsters Fiction. Epic poetry, English (Old) Adaptations. Beowulf Adaptations.
Genre/Form: Fantasy fiction-1989.
Historical fiction-1989.
Topical Term: Heroes
Epic poetry, English (Old)
LCCN: 85040133
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Oct 24, 2014
  • eferry rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

While the description on our site calls Grendel merely a re-telling of the story "Beowulf," it's a lot more.

Grendel focuses on the titular character, the monster Grendel, as he lives, plots, and imagines in his life in Denmark in the early years AD. Most of the story is written using modern terms (sometimes in a hilariously anachronistic way) and is much more accessible than the original epic.

It's a short read, but (as any high-schooler might tell you) there are innumerable ways to interpret Grendel and his way of thinking.

Try it out!

Nov 09, 2011
  • MeeisLee rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

"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." -Amazon.com


I found Grendel to be an interesting take on the Beowulf epic. I actually read Grendel before reading Beowulf, and it changed how I viewed the original epic. Grendel, a monster, reflects some of the confusion and questioning present in humans. The setting is in 4th century AD in Denmark but his language is obviously modern. I don't think it takes away from the story as I found the old English in Beowulf overbearing and confusing.


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