The Nordic Beowulf
Bo Gräslund Martin Naylor
Amsterdam University Press
In such a wide-ranging, long-standing, and international field of scholarship as Beowulf, one might imagine that everything would long since have been thoroughly investigated. And yet as far as the absolutely crucial question of the poem’s origins is concerned, that is not the case.
This cross-disciplinary study by Bo Gräslund argues that the material, geographical, historical, social, and ideological framework of Beowulf cannot be the independent literary product of an Old English Christian poet, but was in all essentials created orally in Scandinavia, which was a fertile seedbed for epic poetry.
Through meticulous argument interwoven with an impressive assemblage of data, archaeological and otherwise, Gräslund offers possible answers to the questions of the provenance of the Geats, the location of Heorot, and many more, such as the significance of Sutton Hoo and the signification of the Grendel kin and dragon in the sixth century when the events of the poem, coinciding with cataclysmic events in northern Europe, took place.