The Four Funerals In Beowulf

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  • Publish Date: 2009-10-01
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Gale R. Owen-Crocker

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It is well known that the old English poem Beowulf begins and ends with funerals and includes the third as a digression part way through. Now, for the first time, a fourth funeral (hitherto disguised as poetic imagery) is identified from archaeological evidence. A detailed analysis of the four funerals establishes their thematic and structural importance, revealing them as pillars around which the poem is built. The poet is revealed as a literate antiquarian of considerable structural skill; one who explores feminist issues, plays with numbers and enjoys a pun; who establishes an ideal then probes its darker side.

The author's unique knowledge of Anglo-Saxon culture provides constant surprises and enlightenment. This book will be invaluable to all students of the poem for its fresh and detailed reading, its identification of a coherent structure and its establishment of the integrity of the surviving texts.

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