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Unformatted text preview: Beowulf is the longest and greatest surviving Anglo-Saxon poem. The setting of the epic is the sixth century in what is now known as Denmark and southwestern Sweden. The poem opens with a brief genealogy of the Scylding (Dane) royal dynasty, named after a mythic hero, Scyld Scefing, who reached the tribe's shores as a castaway babe on a ship loaded with treasure. Scyld's funeral is a memorable early ritual in the work, but focus soon shifts to the reign of his great-grandson, Hrothgar, whose successful rule is symbolized by a magnificent central mead-hall called Heorot. For 12 years, a huge man-like ogre named Grendel, a descendant of the biblical murderer Cain, has menaced the aging Hrothgar, raiding Heorot and killing the king's thanes (warriors). Grendel rules the mead-hall nightly....
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- Fall '09