Similar to how I turned to the novelist Burgess to tell me about Finnegans Wake, it appears there is a lecture on Beowulf by none other than Tolkien, who was an expert on the poem which was one of the main inspirations behind LOTR. What better authority, eh? He gave this lecture in the 30s, and says the consensus was that “The Beowulf” should be read as a historical document- whereas he sets out to read it as a poem.
I’m fine seeing it as both. This is really what interests me about it
Beowulf is the picture of a whole civilization, of the Germania which Tacitus describes.
You might guess that Bloom published books on Beowulf too. He seems to have a certain hegemony over “the canon” which I’m uneasy about. Not surprisingly, the nonfiction version of Tolkien seems just as erudite as Bloom. Another day in a world that is 99.99% niggers, how blessed. Oh right, I was talking about Beowulf, I forgot. Blessed! Even the classics lose their value when you realize you can only share them with zoglings.
Anyway, what I find most interesting about Beowulf
We have the great pagan on the threshold of the change of the world
It merely has Christian elements, it’s not a Christian poem, it’s a hybrid between the two worlds.
Tolkien brings up the specific virtue I brought up earlier
One of the most potent elements in that fusion is the Northern courage: the theory of courage, which is the great contribution of early Northern literature.
That is something we lost when the world changed over to Christianity. And it’s still nonexistent today.
Would you say Frodo is brave? It seems everyone is terrified of those wraiths in the invisible world when he puts the ring on. Go, go somewhere where someone doesn’t call you a coward, I know you hate to be reminded of what you are. I’ve been dealing with those wraiths for years, what’s stopping you? No one wants to join me in THAT world, I wonder why? I’m sure they have some copes about why that is, when the truth is that they’re just cowards. “Real human beings” – right. They’d rather be one of the wraiths. It takes no bravery to be one of those. Only a pussy would take up that mantle. Then there’s the great majority of Jebediahs who neither venture to that world nor play the wraith. Active vs. passive guardians of evil.