Tuesday, April 13, 2021

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Home Video Maria Dahvana Headley on the importance of Grendel’s mother’s sorrow in ‘Beowulf’

Maria Dahvana Headley on the importance of Grendel’s mother’s sorrow in ‘Beowulf’

In her modern retelling of the epic poem “Beowulf,” author Maria Dahvana Headley said she wanted to portray the sorrow of Grendel’s mother, a monstrous figure in the thousand-year-poem who’s often nameless, in her quest for revenge after her son was killed by the namesake character.

“Part of what I wanted to do in this translation was really get into her sorrow because her son had just been murdered and she is coming out to get justice,” Headley told the PBS NewsHour. Sometimes, in translations of the old, Anglo-Saxon poem, “she’s just powered by monstrosity. And here, there’s a very good reason if your son was murdered that why you might come to try to get justice from the world. Any of us would.”

Photo by Beowulf Sheehan

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