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Narrative Pulse of Beowulf Arrivals and Departures by John M. Hill
  

Narrative Pulse of Beowulf Arrivals and Departures

Synopsis

Narrative Pulse of Beowulf Arrivals and Departures by John M. Hill

One of the most consistent critiques levelled against Beowulf is that it lacks a steady narrative advance and that its numerous digressions tend to complicate if not halt the poem's movement. As those passages often look backward or far ahead in narrative time, they seem to transform the poem into a meditative pastiche. The Narrative Pulse of Beowulf counters this assertion, examining Beowulf as a social drama with a strong, forward-moving narrative momentum. John M. Hill discerns a distinctive 'narrative pulse' arising out of the poem's many scenes of arrival and departure. He argues that such scenes, far from being fixed or 'type' scenes, are socially dramatic and a key to understanding the structural density of the poem. Bolstering his analysis with a strong understanding of the epic, Hill looks at Beowulf in relation to other stories such as The Odyssey and The Iliad, epics that, though they may appear to have a certain narrative elasticity, use scenes of arrival and departure to create a cohesive social world in which stories unfold. As a new and comprehensive study of one of the most important Old English texts, The Narrative Pulse of Beowulf sheds new light on this famous poem and the epic tradition itself.

About the Author

John M. Hill is a professor in the English Department at the U.S. Naval Academy.

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Book Info

Publication date

14th October 2009

Author

John M. Hill

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Publisher

University of Toronto Press

Format

Paperback
144 pages

Categories

Literary studies: poetry & poets
Literary studies: classical, early & medieval

ISBN

9781442610873

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