Grendel's Lair : John Gardner's
Lair | John Gardner
This page will briefly discuss Grendel in John Gardner's 1971
novel Grendel. Much of this text is in progress. Any
contribution, clarification, or
correction that you might provide to the material here would be
very much appreciated.
- Grendel -- (Anti)hero of the novel, Grendel narrates his war
with the Danes. The reader follows Grendel's struggle to
understand humanity and his frustrated (and eventually abandoned)
effort to join society.
- Grendel's Mother -- an inarticulate (and unintelligent?) beast
who Grendel alternately pities and resents.
- The Dragon -- Living in all times and spaces, the Dragon sits
behind Grendel's story like an existentialist god. It gives
Grendel his invulnerability to weapons.
- The Shaper -- The Danish bard serves to teach Grendel about
the (in-)significance of language, its importance for shaping
history, and through the listeners, for shaping the world.
- Beowulf -- Draconic for the few pages we see him, Beowulf is
the antithesis of the Dragon's nihilism in much the same language.
He kills Grendel.
- Priest(s) -- several priests figure into two of the chapters
of Grendel. Grendel plays a god to them as he learns about
Discussion, criticism, and analysis of the novel Grendel
and pages/sites about John Gardner.
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