Category Archives: Beowulf Poet

For Halloween, Read Headley’s Beowulf

For Halloween, reread Headley’s new translation of Beowulf, which uses the language of millennials and generation z.

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In a Dark Time, Beowulf Was My Virgil

If Dante had his Virgil, I have Beowulf. Both poets helped up negotiate dark times.

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When Grief Turns Violent

In protesting police violence against communities of color, protesters must avoid grief-fueled violence, the archetype of which is Grendel’s Mother.

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Students as Beowulf vs. Covid

Through describing their essays on “Beowulf,” I recount how five students are responding to the Covid crisis.

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Teach Beowulf to Combat Violence

To teach students how to understand and respond to violence, Beowulf is a go-to work.

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Beowulf Transcends Tolkien’s Racism

“Beowulf” and “Lord of the Rings” have blind spots but they are transcendent works for all that.

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“Beowulf” Understands U.S. Violence

 Thursday When I launched this blog over 10 years ago, I called it Better Living through Beowulf because Beowulf is the starting text for those of us specializing in British Literature. I used Beowulf to represent all of literature and felt free to write about any literary work that provides insight into the life we […]

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Fantasy and the Problem of Violence

Thursday Today I will be delivering the following talk as part of Sewanee’s Lifelong Learning series, delivered in a venue that used to be my high school and where I spoke 50 years ago. It may sound strange to some of you that a literary scholar such as myself would talk about fantasy. Aren’t we […]

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Grendel’s Mother, Archetype of Grief

Thursday I report today on a memorable encounter I had with an African American alum upon my first post-retirement return to St. Mary’s College of Maryland. I was talking with a former colleague when Candace looked in and began reminiscing. I didn’t recognize her, even after she told me her name, but something clicked when […]

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  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

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