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Cain's monstrous progeny in Beowulf: part I, Noachic tradition

  • Ruth Mellinkoff (a1)

One of the most distinctive features of Beowulf is the presentation of Grendel and his mother as members of Cain's monstrous progeny. What knowledge of a race (or races) of giants and monsters descended from Cain, and of their survival after the Flood, is the poet likely to have had? I take up the first part of this question in this article and the second part in an article to be published later in Anglo-Saxon England.

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Oliver F. Emerson , ‘Legends of Cain, Especially in Old and Middle English’, PMLA 21 (1906), 878

W. B. Henning , ‘The Book of the Giants’, Bull. of the School of Oriental and African Stud. 11 (19431946), 5274

S. J. Crawford , ‘Grendel's Descent from Cain’, MLR 23 (1928), 207.

Stanley B. Greenfield , ‘The Formulaic Expression of the Theme of “Exile” in Anglo-Saxon Poetry’, Speculum jo (1955), 200–6.

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Anglo-Saxon England
  • ISSN: 0263-6751
  • EISSN: 1474-0532
  • URL: /core/journals/anglo-saxon-england
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