Grendel

Grendel

3.4 198
by John Gardner
     
 

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The first and most terrifying monster in English literature, from the great early epic Beowulf, tells his own side of the story in a book William Gass called "one of the finest of our contemporary fictions."


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Overview

The first and most terrifying monster in English literature, from the great early epic Beowulf, tells his own side of the story in a book William Gass called "one of the finest of our contemporary fictions."


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307756787
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/02/2010
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
64,223
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

John Gardner received wide acclaim for his novels, his collections of short stories and his critical works.  He was born in Batavia, New York in 1933 and taught English, Anglo-Saxon and creative writing in Oberlin, Chico State College, San Francisco State, Southern Illinois, Bennington and SUNY-Binghamton. His books include The Art of Fiction, The Art of Living, Grendel, Jason, and Media, The Life and Times of Chaucer, Mickelsson's Ghosts, Nickel Mountain, October Light, The resurrection, The Sunlight Dialogues, Stillness and Shadows, and various books for children.  He died in a motorcycle accident in 1982.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Grendel (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series) 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 198 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reversing the heroic epic of Beowulf, this novel attacks life from the side of the monster thrown into society. Good and evil, instincts versus reason, and existential wonderings make this novel a must for everyone trying to reason out his or her meaning in life. Gardner's Grendel is an antihero of self doubt, hatred, murderous rage, vengeful, and grotesque- the reader will fall in love with him.
Shadowphoenix34 More than 1 year ago
Grendel provides the reader with Grendels perspective on the Epic poem Beowulf. It gives the reader the reasons behind Grendels attacks and why he always spared two people in particular. This gives light on the poem that I as a reader took and I now understand the plot much better since i have an explanation behind the monsters seemingly pointless rampages.
Nathan_da_Brony More than 1 year ago
I¿d recommend reading Grendel by John Gardner as long as you¿ve fulfilled a few criteria: you read (AND ENJOYED) Beowulf and you are genuinely interested in the character Grendel in it. This may seem a bit too obvious, but I went into this novel with no care for the character and a decent understanding of the events of Beowulf. I didn¿t like the book at first but it grew on me. It shows an incredible new side to someone that I had assumed was just a monster. The story goes along the lines of showing how Grendel grew up and what led to his death in Beowulf. As long as you like Beowulf and are interested in Grendel as a character, you will enjoy this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
John Gardner is positively the best writer in the world. I wish he were alive today to produce more works like this. Grendel is deeply philosophical and rapturously complex in its content. John Gardner (this work in particular) has inspired me to become the writer that I am today. I will forever have nothing to say but excellent things when speaking or dissecting this brilliant work. It was awesome and I beckon you to read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up quite by accident, as it was one of my father's old books hanging around the house. I was floored. This narrative of the Beowulf tale from the Monster's point of view is stunning. It brings you into Grendel's mind and lets you experience the raw,elemental nature of the beast. You get the sense Grendel is more than a being, but part of the very forces of nature that surround the human race. His being embodies these forces and matches them with an uncivilized mind. This creates an innocence that is fascinating, terrifying and pitiful. Grendel creates a contrast to the human being which is disturbingly unflattering for you and I . Read it and savor earth, wind and fire from the inside of a brilliant character. You'll be rooting for the monster.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Grendel has a sarcastic and cynical mind, which serves to entertain both him and the reader. Through his expositions of situations, we see humor where others would simply see violence, and irony where others only fact. These others are the humans, the Danes, unwitting neighbors of Grendel, forced to stand night after night of slaughter. What is a traumatic and terrifying experience for them, is simply a game to Grendel, and the reader. Grendel bursts in on the Danes, ready to kill, and they squeak. They are funny in their fear, laughable in their drunken fighting. The reader is focused on Grendel¿s perception of the Danes. The deaths go by easily, because of the humor involved. It does not cross the reader¿s mind that these are people Grendle is killing. The humor allows the reader to sympathize with Grendel¿s position, that of the predator. The prey is not meaningful, only nutritious and entertaining. It is a macabre humor, which accentuates how no death is noble, it is simply death. By making the Danes un-heroic and un-ideal, cowards and drunkards, the author is presenting the reality through the humor. In contrast to the drunken lurching of the others, Unferth comes toward Grendel with speeches and bravery. He is a puffed up as a peacock, proud and ready to die for his king, his people, his ideal. Grendel simply states, ¿He was one of those.¿ Grendel sees Unferth with a clear and unbiased mind. He is ridiculous. His exaggerated heroism, his words, even his first move, to scuttle sideways like a crab from thirty feet away, is laughable. Grendle does with him what he does with no other Dane in the story, he talks. Unferth offers Grendle death, and Grendle sends back taunts. The reason this scene is funny is because the taunts are sharply accurate. The self-sacrificing hero is shown to be a spotlight loving fool, serving only his own reputation. Grendel continues talking to Unferth, making the poor wretch angrier by the moment. At one point, he compares Unferth to a harvest virgin. Unferth attempts to begin his own speeches, but is always cut off by Grendel, who has another barb to throw at him. Finally, Unferth screams and charges, his voice breaking. This scene, of escalating argument, presents a different type of humor. While the first was a slapstick, exaggerated and dark humor, the argument is more sarcastic, intelligent and cutting. It exposes the cruel reality of the hero; he serves only himself and his fame when helping others. When Unferth charges him, Grendel does the unthinkable. He throws an apple at him. Unferth is astonished, and even loses his heroic vocabulary. He continues charging, and Grendel continues the barrage of apples. This scene is pure humiliation for Unferth, pure delight for Grendel, and entertaining for the reader. Grendel, murderer and monster, is hitting the hero with simple red apples. By doing this, he is breaking any type of significance the battle could ever have. The bards cannot sing of how the monster threw apples. It is symbolically important that Grendel throws apples. Unferth symbolizes a virgin, pure in ideal and purpose. The apple brought down the first virgin, Eve, as these apples bring him down. They represent the truth, the knowledge that Grendle is pelting him with. The hero ends up on the floor crying, and Grendel remarks to him ¿Such is life¿such is dignity.¿ This remark holds no pity, only scorn, and is funny in its viciousness. Most of the humor in the novel is followed by some of the most chilling and melancholic pieces of prose. This contrast of the humoristic with the somber makes the despair Grendel feels a more striking emotion. Before being completely exposed to nihilism and solitude by the Dragon, Grendel is compared to a bunny rabbit because he was startled. The monster that terrified the Danes is terrified by the Dragon, who continues poking fun at him and his fear. The reader is presented with the impotent figure of Grendel, trying desperately to react in so
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book quite confusing. But i am only in 8th grade. The only reason I read this book was because it was on my sister's summer reading list, and she is a senior in high school. Even for not understanding it, i could tell that this was an excellent book. It was very well writen. It was also nice to read a book from the villen's point of view. I've always read stories from the hero's perspective, and it was a pleasent change to read the story from the outcast's view. This book was extremly good.
LIAMbryce More than 1 year ago
I had to read the book Grendel for my English class. At first I thought the book was interesting because it was in the view point of the monster Grendel from the original epic poem Beowulf. As I got in to the book I found it to be very confusing and hard to understand. The amount of flashbacks and the story going back in forth in time made it really hard to follow. Even though I found the book interesting I wouldn’t recommend it. You’re better off just reading Beowulf.
SBuerk More than 1 year ago
John Gardner had a creative idea to write the book to let readers see life through Grendel's eyes. However, the book was very long and dragged out. There wasn't a lot of action and fighting scenes as I had expected there to be. It was confusing how Gardner would jump back and forth between flashbacks and current events.
The_Beastlord_Slavedragon More than 1 year ago
This is a study in the things existential and the putridity and dark irony of living and dying. As many know Grendel is the beast who is hunted in the first Welsh tale by the Hero Beowulf. This is the beast's side of the story. Grendel's wretchedness and misery are complete. It is akin to a post modernist version of Dante's Inferno properly butchered anylyzed and demistified by the most sordid kind of realist, a murderous beast who can think and has the added lamentation of concioussness most cruely added to his plight. It calls to the face a dark chagrin. I thorougly enjouyed it. It deserves many readings, a rare quality indeed. Be certain to follow this book with Gilgamesh and Kipling's Jungle Books called Red Dog and The Day Fear Came. One Slavedragon and Beastlord
Darth_Nihilus More than 1 year ago
This is a study in the things existential and the putridity and dark irony of living and dying. As many know Grendel is the beast who is hunted in the first Welsh tale by the Hero Beowulf. This is the beast's side of the story. Grendel's wretchedness and misery are complete. It is akin to a post modernist version of Dante's Inferno properly butchered anylyzed and demistified by the most sordid kind of realist, a murderous beast who can think and has the added lamentation of concioussness most cruely added to his plight. It calls to the face a dark chagrin. I thorougly enjouyed it. It deserves many readings, a rare quality indeed. Be certain to follow this book with Gilgamesh and Kipling's Jungle Books called Red Dog and The Day Fear Came. One Slavedragon and Beastlord
manbooker1989 More than 1 year ago
A brilliant story of pain and the cold reality, and eventuality, of life. Grendel is a sly, thought-provoking being who, at the end, is almost likeable. He is actually more human than he cares to admit. The prose, the first chapter especially, is beautiful, and the book takes on a sort of runic tale of old: a legend. What is life for; the ram is a ram, and the human is a human, and all other things will be themselves. That is the lesson. Even though we try to change we will be ourselves, for good or worse. A touching work by an underappreciated author, marvelous and full of wit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grendel, one of the monsters that Beowulf defeats in the epic Beowulf, tells his side of the story. Grendel is frequently challenged for violence and Grendel’s nihilistic view of the world seen throughout the novel. There is violence in Grendel and some of it is explicit however at a high school reading level this sort of violence is not inappropriate. Most high school students have seen more violence on TV then they will read in this book. As for Grendel’s nihilistic view of the world, the entire novel refutes it. One of the themes in this novel is that having a positive and more hopeful outlook on life is better than wallowing in nihilism your entire life. Grendel is not the hero of this novel, in fact he is the complete opposite, and he is not even an anti-hero. Grendel is given a choice in the novel whether to choose the Dragon’s negative nihilist view or chose the Shaper’s positive more hopeful view and Grendel chooses wrong. From that point onward Grendel’s nihilism is viewed in a negative light. Eventually at the end of the book, Beowulf, who could be viewed as a hero of the novel, defeats Grendel. Beowulf who stands for the Shaper’s views defeats Grendel who stands for the Dragon’s views. In fact Beowulf is even depicted as a dragon in the last scene. Beowulf is a dragon of hope whereas the Dragon is a dragon of egotistic nihilism. While the book is from Grendel’s view the novel depicts him and his views as wrong or evil. This novel actually promotes a hopeful out view on life and therefore has no reason to be banned. Gardner, John. Grendel. New York: Knopf, 1971. Print.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the book enjoyable but it was extremely perplexing. I had too read it over the summer for my AP English class, if you have seen the movie Beowulf (which doesnt follow the epic poem) then it will make you see Grendel in a totally different light in my case anyway. But i say it was a good read.
rscTN More than 1 year ago
good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! I first read it over ten years ago for an existential literature class, and I've always considered it one of my favorite novels...it's a work of art!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some parts, particularly the last chapter, are really good and interesting, but the rest was rather boring and didn't seem to play a big part in the plot.
g-fer94 More than 1 year ago
John Gardner's book "Grendel" allows readers to gain a perspective and see the world through the eyes of the monster Grendel from the original epic poem Beowulf.It's interesting because Gardner in a way through Grendel shows the reader how in today's world people who are rejected by society feel and ,in some cases, how that effects the way they act.I think it is an okay book and recommend it just for what may seem like the philosophical message in it. However, it is hard to follow and understand. Therefore, I recommend even more that you read the original Beowulf story before Grendel.