Monday, November 12, 2007

Pre-Beowulf Thoughts

Yes, I'm still on a kick. As I prepare for the release of the latest Beowulf movie I can not help but brace myself, not for the movie, but for the outcry from my fellow Anglo-Saxonists. I expect all sorts of modernisms, from exploration of Grendel's and Grendel's Dam's motives and the conflict with the Danes or with Hrothgar personally---part and parcel of our world now is the explanation of the villain's villainy--temptation scenes for the hero, yes, I mean SEX, which while not in Beowulf proper is certainly in plenty of medieval tales and seems as necessary in modern tales.

Again, though, I have to say that every time a tale is newly told, we should expect differences. Of COURSE it isn't going to be the Beowulf of the Vitellius manuscript! The question I suppose is how far can it wander from that source and still be called Beowulf. Still, I'm apprehensive, and I hope its a good movie.

But what gives? In the last 7 years by my count there have now been four movies and 3 new translations and 2 new editions of the poem, make that 3 new editions of the poem. There seems to be a lot of interest in the poem not only among scholars but among the general reading public as well. An interest that we Anglo-Saxonists should harness and welcome, as it gives us opportunity to talk about Beowulf.

No comments: