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Troubling race, ethnicity, and masculinity in Beowulf

‘guest’) are taken from Beowulf , where it is used to describe Grendel (102a) and the dragon (2312a). It is not hard to imagine that an oral performer could have played on the quasi-homonymy of gæst and gǣst as well as the semantic sliding between the threatening and the benign senses of the former word to underscore the blurring of the lines between them in everyday life. 26 My point is that Grendel and his mother would have been seen not necessarily as demonic, but as

in Dating Beowulf
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, however imperfectly, takes its audience outside of the norms and conventions that structure everyday life; this may simply be a liberation from real-time and real-space, but equally it provides an opportunity for the radical formation of new times and spaces. MUP_McDonald_01_Intro 14 11/18/03, 16:56 A polemical introduction 15 Fictional worlds necessarily have limits – the limits of what is (for audience and author) possible – but, generally speaking, the more flagrantly a text promotes itself as fiction, the greater are its opportunities to test precisely those

in Pulp fictions of medieval England