Saturday, May 28, 2011

And now for something completely different....

Well, that was an interesting tempest in a tea-cup. I've decided to let some things slide, to respond to others over time, and to move on to things of more interest and importance.

Of interest at least to me is a project I began 8 years ago on where Grendel's hand is displayed after Beowulf's victory. It's now a 55+ page monstrosity of a paper....too long to be published in a journal, too short for a monograph. I might be able to extend it into a short monograph, especially if I go into more detail on the folklore and archaeological aspects of the question and go full on into analysis of the literary analogues (which in the end are unhelpful in determining the question for Beowulf). I could also go into more detail on the philological aspects. All of that might push me up to the slightly over 100 page category. I don't know. Or it could be better to carve it up in several shorter papers and publish them in a sequence, hopefully in the same journal. Advice and insight always welcome.

As most readers of Beowulf know, the usual understanding these days is that Grendel's hand is displayed over the steps or stairs leading into Heorot, perhaps from the gables, or is over the roof. The article I've written argues I think pretty absolutely that that understanding cannot be maintained. I then further argue that the hand is elsewhere in the hall (hey, not giving the whole shebang away just yet!).

At this year's Congress in between having a blast, making connections, and listening to some good papers, I gave one of my own this year. I took a part of my 55 page project that though started in 2003, I haven't looked at since 2007. I thought it high time I looked at it again and shared a part of it with a larger audience.

So I did. What I read is here: The paper as read looks at the source for our current understanding and seeks to demonstrate why that basis is unsustainable. I didn't read the last couple of pages due to time, but I keep it here because I'd like some discussion on them as well.

The paper went over well. I won over some skeptics. There were others who were absolutely convinced it must be outside over the stairs and that this is explicit in the poem, not an interpretation. It isn't explicit in the poem: thus the problem. But they were convinced nonetheless. In any case, the paper went well, I share it here, feel free to comment or download as you wish.

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