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Grendel Summary
John Gardner

Everything you need to understand or teach Grendel by John Gardner.

  • Grendel Summary & Study Guide
  • 4 Student Essay
  • 1 Encyclopedia Article
  • 2 Literature Criticism
  • 1 Book Note
  • ...and more
  • 30 Grendel Lessons
  • 20 Activities
  • 180 Multiple Choice Questions
  • 60 Short Essay Questions
  • 20 Essay Questions
  • Pre-Made Tests and Quizzes
  • ...and more

Grendel Summary

Introduction

Completed in 1970 and published the following year, Grendel was the first of John Gardner's novels to bring him not just critical but popular success. The novel was praised as a literary tour de force and named a book of the year by Time and Newsweek magazines. As a professor of English specializing in medieval literature, Gardner had been teaching Beowulf, the source of inspiration for Grendel, for many years at various colleges. A relatively minor character in Beowulf, Grendel is a symbol for "darkness, chaos, and death," according to critic John M Howell in Understanding John Gardner. In Gardner's version, however, Grendel becomes a three-dimensional character with, in Howell's words, "a sense of humor and a gift for language." Grendel even has a weakness for poetry. As a would-be artist, Grendel strives, however comically, to escape from his baseness. Such is the power of art, Gardner seems to be...

(read more from the Study Guide)

Study Pack

The Grendel Study Pack contains about 216 pages of study material in 11 products, including:

Grendel Study Guide

Lesson Plan

All teaching products sold separately.

Grendel Lesson Plans contain 109 pages of teaching material, including:

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