Fall 2008

Nov 6

Mark Amodio (Vassar)

“Embodied texts, entexted bodies: performance and performative poetics in and of Beowulf” 

Reception at 6.00 pm
Lecture at 6.30 pm

13 University Place, Room 222
New York University

Co-sponsored with the NYU English Medieval Forum

Dec 2

Scott Gwara (University of South Carolina)

“Appreciating the Heroic Catastrophe: Why Beowulf’s Dragon Fight Resembles The Battle of Maldon and What It Means for Germanic Heroic Literature”

Developing a case made in his new book, Heroic Identity in the World of Beowulf, Dr. Scott Gwara (University of South Carolina) proposes unobserved narrative homologies between Beowulf’s dragon fight and Byrhtno├░’s rout at Maldon. Gwara suggests that the trope of “Men Dying for Their Lord” motivates aspects of Beowulf’s dragon fight. A new definition of “Men Willing to Die to Avenge Their Lords” highlights potentially reckless engagement by exploring the limits of vengeable action. In these terms Gwara finds that oferhygd (overconfidence) functions in Beowulf as ofermod does in Maldon. Appreciating Maldon as a reflex of Beowulf’s dragon fight means evaluating how reckless heroism confronts the responsibilities of leadership in portrayals of ambivalent heroic action. Supporting reference will be made to continental Latin, Germanic, and other Anglo-Saxon sources.

5:30 pm
523 Butler Library
Columbia University
co-sponsored by the Medieval Seminar Series