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Welcome to Grendel!

"But, who is Grendel?", you may ask. Well, let me tell you about the choice of Grendel.

Grendel

Grendel is one of three antagonists (along with Grendel's mother and the dragon) in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf. The quote you see at the top of the page is from John Gardner's novel Grendel, itself a retelling of the Beowulf story from the point of view of Grendel.

One of the most interesting quotes from Grendel is, in my opinion, the following one:

I understand that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. I understood that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. All the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or what I push against, blindly - as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back. I create the whole universe, blink by blink.

Grendel expresses this thought while the bull attacks him in Chapter 2, mindlessly, relentlessly. Grendel realizes that, like the bull, the world is mindless, without plan nor reason. The second part of his complaint, "I alone exist", means that Grendel now organizes the world in two categories : Grendel and not-Grendel, a stark opposition to the world as a frightening mass of images he perceived until then.

This revelation marks Grendel's entrance into adulthood and philosophy. From this point, he starts questioning how he should live his life, and starts seeing himself as separate from his mother, as an individual being in his own right.

Grendel has strong ties with Jean-Paul Sartre's philosophy, with which Gardner had a love-hate relationship, so it is not surprising that I found myself moved by, or at least felt sympathy for, Grendel. I alone exist, I must make sense of the world on my own.

This blog

I have a consistently bad track record of keeping my sites regularly updated. I have had several so far, all of which are still up if you search for them, and none have been updated in recent times. Sigh. I think I will use, or at least try to, post my thoughts and rants and stuff I do in my spare time. Who knows, maybe review books and music when I discover them. Expect to see posts in French, for I am from the land of the baguette.

Bienvenue.

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