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Place symbolism and land politics in Beowulf.

Elden, S. (2009) 'Place symbolism and land politics in Beowulf.', Cultural geographies., 16 (4). pp. 447-463.


This article provides a reading of the Old English poem Beowulf, with a focus on its symbolic and political geographies. The key question is the role of place or site in the poem in general terms, and the more specific issue of land. The article first analyses three significant sites in the narrative — the locations of the battles between Beowulf and Grendel, Grendel’s mother and the dragon. Each of these places — the hall, the mere, and the burial-mound — are shot through with powerful emotive, elemental, symbolic and material geographies. Analysis then moves to the politics of land, a resource which is gifted, distributed, disputed and fought over. While part of a larger project which seeks to look at the conceptual and historical relation between land, terrain and territory, this article offers a more modest focused study of a single text from a particular period.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Elements, Land, Old English literature, Place.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:The final definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal Cultural Geographies, 16/4 2009 © SAGE Publications Ltd by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Cultural Geographies page: on SAGE Journals Online:
Record Created:19 May 2010 14:35
Last Modified:04 Oct 2010 10:45

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