2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

Blood in the Best House: Holy and Unholy Space in Beowulf
Eric O. Scott
Dr. Adam Davis, Faculty Mentor

Heorot, the meadhall of the Danes in Beowulf, has a strange dualism. Heorot is often a place of great gladness for its inhabitants, a shelter against the unknowns of the poem's world, and yet just as often the hall becomes a place of horrors, the site of some of the most gruesome events in the narrative. How can these contradictions exist in the same space? This paper argues that the presence of a ruler- Hrothgar or Grendel- shapes Heorot into holy or unholy space through an examination of the poem's language while either of these characters is on the scene. In addition it examines the role of Beowulf as a mediating force between Hrothgar and Grendel, as well as comparisons to examples of this motif in other epics.

Keywords: Beowulf, Anglo-Saxon, Poetic analysis, Literary space, Epic poetry

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 6-2
Location: OP 2121
Time: 8:30

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