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Grendel Essay | Critical Essay #2

This Study Guide consists of approximately 99 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Grendel.
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Critical Essay #2

In the following excerpt, Merrill argues that many of the critics who see Grendel as an absurdist novel with the monster as hero are supporting an interpretation that is contrary to the author's intentions. Instead, the critic suggests, Gardner meant to present the character of Grendel as a negative example: the creature's "nihilistic rationalism is what Gardner wants to caution us against."

Nothing has become more unfashionable in the last ten years than explication du texte. No doubt in reaction against the New Critics, we have tended to stress "broader" considerations, whether historical, psychological, or philosophical. Sometimes, however, questions of textual interpretation must be faced if we are to avoid the most basic misunderstandings about the works we read and teach. A case in point is John Gardner's Grendel (1971). Gardner is one of our more respected contemporary writers, and Grendel is his most popular work, yet I think...

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This section contains 2,890 words
(approx. 10 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Grendel Study Guide
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Grendel from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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