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V. Beowulf: Two parts or Three?

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Title: Beowulf Lecture 1 Author: Lisa Lampert Last modified by: Lisa Lampert-Weissig Created Date: 9/27/2010 8:09:59 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: V. Beowulf: Two parts or Three?


1
V. Beowulf Two parts or Three?
  • Tolkein argues that the poem is in two parts
  • Looking at the digressions in the poem, I will
    argue that it actually breaks into three parts, a
    reading that acknowledges the importance of
    Grendels mother

2
VI. Digressions
  • A. The Opening
  • B. Foreshadowings
  • C. Flashbacks/insertions

3
VI. Digressions
  • A. Opening passage (lines 1-11)
  • 1. Genealogy
  • 2. Circular structure
  • 3. Representing a good king
  • 4. Ironic Foreshadowing

4
VI. Digressions
  • B. More Foreshadowing
  • Future Destruction of Heorot
  • Lines 20, 81, 1016

5
VI. Digressions
  • C. The Fight at Finnsburg/Lay of Finn (1062)
  • 1. Sung to Hrothgars court after Grendels
    defeat
  • 2. Story of failed alliance by marriage
  • 3. Linked to situation of Queen
    Wealtheow/Grendels mother

6
VII. Gender in Beowulf
  • A. Connected figures in Wealtheow/Grendels
    Mother
  • B. Refutation of Tolkein thesis
  • C. Status of women in Anglo-Saxon culture
  • D. The monstrous feminine

7
Gender in BW
  • Connected figures in Wealtheow/Grendels Mother
  • Wealtheows speech, line 1167 ff. and esp. 1214
    ff.
  • Grendels mother attacks1250 ff.
  • Both defined as mothers and connected
    passionately to their sons

8
VII. Grendels Mother
  • Tolkeins thesis doesnt recognize importance of
    Grendels mother
  • Grendels mother is at the center of the poem
    (Niles)
  • Her part takes up 13 (400 lines)almost as much
    as Grendel

9
Women in Anglo-Saxon society
  • Women in Anglo-Saxon society were limited in
    their roles, but not powerless
  • Scandinavian saga
  • Carol Clover the importance of power vs. gender
    in societal hierarchies

10
Grendels Mother as monster
  • The concept of abjection (Kristeva)
  • that which is expelled from a society in order
    to define cultural borders (Trilling 3)
  • Abjection and the maternal
  • (Lacanian Psychoanalysis)
  • Abjectionme and not me

11
Grendels Mother
  • She represents horror at maternal power (and
    women who crosses boundaries (female power, the
    human/not-human)
  • But unlike Grendel, Grendels mothers actions
    are very understandable within feud culture and
    her emotional ties to her son make her like the
    Danes
  • (Trilling)

12
Grendels Mother
  • Represents a fundamental threat to the society
  • Notable that Beowulf arms so thoroughly to meet
    her, dispatches her so immediately and doesnt
    not bring her head back as a trophy
  • Is she a greater threat than her son? Why?

13
The heroic in Beowulf
  • A. Defining good king in opening lines
  • B. Hrothgars parting speech to Beowulf (l.1699
    ff.)
  • C. Heremod as counter-example (l. 1708)
  • D. Beowulfs decision to fight dragon alone
  • Is it heroic?
  • Line 2529 ff

14
Chaucer Challenge
  • Optional contest extra credit toward course
    participation grade
  • Write your own General Prologueset at UCSD
  • E-Submit to Prof. Lampert-Weissig by 5 pm Oct. 14
    (llampert_at_ucsd.edu) Subject heading Chaucer
    challenge

15
Thinksheet Week 2
  • Due at the beginning of your section
  • Double-spaced, typed. ½ to one full page. No
    more than one page.
  • Read through each of the following portraits
    carefully
  • The Monk (lines 165-207)
  • The Friar (lines 209-271)
  • The Clerk (lines 287-310)
  • The Parson (lines 480-530)
  • Pick ONE of these portraits and respond to the
    following about it
  • 1. Make a list of 3-5 important details in the
    pilgrims portrait.
  • 2. What kind of details are these? Ironic?
    Serious? What is their effect?
  • How do they work to create this effect?
  • 3. How would you characterize the point of view
    of the narrator?

16
Chaucersocial chameleon
  • Died. 1400. Wrote in Middle English
  • A poet with a good day job
  • Master of irony
  • Father of English Poetry

17
(No Transcript)
18
Chaucer reading
19
The Canterbury Tales
  • Frame TaleThe General Prologue
  • Pilgrimage
  • First 18 lines
  • Spring fever
  • Virtuoso poetry

20
(No Transcript)
21
Canterbury Cathedral
22
The Canterbury Tales
  • Frame TaleThe General Prologue
  • Pilgrimage
  • First 18 lines
  • Spring fever
  • Virtuoso poetry

23
Frame Tale
  • Perspective and Point of View
  • The Hosts Proposal
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