“Smelled the spring on the smoky wind…”

Amid the reactions to wild plot changes in the Zemeckis-Avary-Gaiman movie, it’s amusing to imagine that perhaps the version of Beowulf that survives in manuscript form might not have been acceptable to certain traditionalists back in the day: “There goes Brother Ceolfrith again, stirring in more of that Christianity business like a cook tossing leeks into the stew-pot. What was wrong with the story the way it was? Why couldn’t he leave well enough alone?”

With that possibility in mind, don’t miss Mary Kate Hurley’s “Ruins and Poetry: Beowulf and Bethlehem Steel,” a lovely essay from the perspective of an Anglo-Saxonist about the meaning of ruins both literal and literary. Hurley didn’t particularly enjoy the new movie, but she wonders if it isn’t a noble failure, an attempt to salvage something worth preserving, “another performance of a poem whose ending has not been written yet.”

3 thoughts on ““Smelled the spring on the smoky wind…”

  1. Succeeded: “I met my love by the gas works wall, dreamed a dream by the old canal. I kissed my girl by the factory wall…”

    I was whistling that in Berkeley in the late 80s, and an Irish guy walked up to me on the BART platform to ask if I were Irish.

    “Partly,” I admitted…

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *


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