Sunday, April 22, 2018

Landscapes of evil

Dr Miguel Gomes (Languages) has published a chapter entitled 'Landscapes of Evil and the Narrative Pattern in Beowulf: The Anglo-Saxon Hero’s Journey through the Labyrinth'. Miguel uses the idea of labyrinth as a symbolic landscape to explain the structure of Beowulf. He argues that the poem presents an intricate design in which elements such as alliterative patterns, repetitions, variations, recurrent themes and other additions form a maze resembling the journey that the hero himself will have to undertake. To a certain extent, this structure resembles the curvilinear and rectilinear patterns of contemporary decorative art, as seen in the Lindisfarne Gospels or the Book of Kells. Miguel claims that the labyrinth, conceived as a metaphor, a physical and a mental representation, could well be a more comprehensive alternative to previous proposals for the analysis of the poem. He supports this assertion by analysing different passages that connect with the idea of labyrinth, creating a clear tension between linearity and circularity that contributes to the greatness of the poem. Perhaps the final purpose of a labyrinth is precisely not having a purpose. The joy, mystery and greatness of the journey itself - as for Beowulf-  should be the main attraction.

Gomes, M. 2018. 'Landscapes of Evil and the Narrative Pattern in Beowulf: The Anglo-Saxon Hero’s Journey through the Labyrinth'. In María José Esteve Ramos and José Ramón Prado-Pérez (eds) Textual Reception and Cultural Debate in Medieval English Studies. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

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