Beowulf and the Illusion of History

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University of Delaware Press, 2009 - Literary Criticism - 254 pages
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Most Beowulf scholars have held either that the poems' minor episodes are more or less based on incidents in Scandinavian history or at least that they entail nothing of the fabulous or monstrous. Beowulf and the Illusion of History contends that, like the poem's Grendelkin episodes, certain minor episodes involve monsters and contain motifs of the "Bear's Son" folktale. In the Finn Episode the monsters are to be taken as physically present in the story as we have it, while in the mention of the hero's fight with Daeghrefn and perhaps in the accounts of the fight with Ongenbeow, the principal foes, though originally monsters, appear now more like ordinary humans. The inference permits the elucidation of passages hitherto obscure and indicates that the capability of the Beowulf poet as a "maker" is greater than has been thought. John F. Vickrey, is Professor of English, Emeritus, at Lehigh University.
  

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Contents

The Question of Folktale Elements in Minor Episodes
13
The Finn Episode The Prima Facie Evidence
27
The Distribution of Eoten and FresFrys Forms
43
The Fictive Compatibility of Eotens Giants and Frisians
55
The Blind Motif Hildeleoman 1143
75
The Displaced Motif Grimne Gripe 1148
89
Lines 113137 as Metaphor
104
The Finn Episode and Its Contexts
117
Dæghrefn the Wrestling Fight and the Sword
157
The Implications of Incgelaf
170
Ongenpeow
185
Connections
194
List of Abbreviations
207
Notes
208
Bibliography
239
Index
249

Elegy and Myth
135
Dæghrefn and the Hugas
149

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