Synopses & Reviews
The legend of Beowulf and Grendel is one of the founding works of modern Western literature. It tells the story of the monster-slaying hero, Beowulf, who frees the feasting hall of a Danish king from the 12-year tyranny of the hideous creature Grendel. For decades, scholars have assumed that the warrior Beowulf was based on an actual historic person, but that Grendel was the work of imagination. In "Beowulf and Grendel, John Grigsby reveals the true basis for Grendel's battle with Beowulf. Grigsby explains how a cult migrated to England from Denmark and Germany, bringing with it a practice of human sacrifice. It is the violent suppression of this cult in the fifth century that underlies Beowulf's fantastic deeds. Fusing historical research with literary study, Grigsby presents a compelling case for the true-life roots of a classic work of art.