Cain and Grendel

Italian_School_-_Cain_Killing_Abel,_mid-17th_century,_(Gaetano_Gandolfi,_1734-1802)An older essay, The Origin of Violence: “Maxims I” and Beowulf, which talks about the uses of the biblical story of Cain and Abel in two secular Anglo-Saxon poems.

Aside: long ago, I posted this paper to an EarthLink site under my married name. I’ve since discovered that it’s been cited in Jeffery Hodges’s “Cain’s Fratricide: Original Violence as ‘Original Sin’ in Beowulf” and Paola Tornaghi’s “Biblical Echoes in Exeter Gnomes.” I figured that if it’s a helpful piece, I’d repost the essay here.

  • Apologies for formatting issues.
  • Quotes in Old English are, largely, untranslated.


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