The Cultural World in "Beowulf"

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University of Toronto Press, 1995 - Literary Criticism - 224 pages
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Beowulf is one of the most important poems in Old English and the first major poem in a European vernacular language. It dramatizes behaviour in a complex social world - a martial, aristocratic world that we often distort by imposing on it our own biases and values. In this cross-disciplinary study, John Hill looks at Beowulf from a comparative ethnological point of view. He provides a thorough examination of the socio-cultural dimensions of the text and compares the social milieu of Beowulf to that of similarly organized cultures. Through examination of historical analogs in northern Europe and France, as well as past and present societies on the Pacific rim in Southeast Asia, a complex and extended society is uncovered and an astonishingly different Beowulf is illuminated.

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Contents

Feud Settlements in Beowulf
25
The Temporal World in Beowulf
38
The Jural World in Beowulf
63
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