Beowulf and the Dragon: Parallels and Analogues

Beowulf and the Dragon: Parallels and Analogues

Christine Rauer





This first comprehensive study of the dragon-fight in Old English and related literatures casts fresh light on Beowulf's last battle.
The vivid depiction of a dragon-fight in the Old English poem Beowulf and its relationship with other literary encounters between heroes and dragons has been the subject of much scholarly debate; yet this is the first comprehensive study of the dragon-fight in secular and hagiographical literature. In a series of five detailed studies the author discusses the analogues and possible sources of Beowulf's famous last battle, drawing on hagiographical, historical, liturgical, heroic and other narrative material to explore the prominence of these episodes within the literary milieu of the Beowulf-poet and his audience. She assembles an extensive corpus of fights between saints and dragons, and demonstrates their striking resemblance to Beowulf's actions. A comparison with Scandinavian material is followed by case studies which examine the dragon-fights of St Samson and the archangel St Michael. The analogues discussed are presented with facing translations and detailed bibliographies.

Dr CHRISTINE RAUER teaches in the Department of English at the University of St Andrews.


November 2000
240 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9780859915922
Format: Hardback
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An extremely valuable contribution to Beowulf source studies. ANGLIA

Has expanded our knowledge not only of Beowulf and a group of related hagiographic texts, but of the period as a whole. MEDIUM AEVUM

Many sources and analogues have been suggested for Beowulf's dragon-fight: almost everything is still in doubt. It may seem brave to waken a tribe of sleeping dragons, as Rauer has done, but Beowulf studies are the richer for it. NOTES AND QUERIES

Needs to be read by all Anglo-Saxonists, even (or, especially) by those who secretly feel that the poem and its dragon have nothing left to teach them. SPECULUM

Author Bio

Senior Lecturer in the School of English and the Institute of Mediaeval Studies at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

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