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"The Monster Grendel"
Medium: Steel Bar   Created: 1994   Dimensions: 8'h x 3.5'w x 2.5'd
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Even though the Beowulf epic doesn't give a very complete description of Grendel, several things are mentioned: He emptied the mead hall of thirty men in one raid--thus his size compared to the men; Grendel and his mother live in an underwater lair--thus the webbed feet and hands. The horn, the spiked backbone and tail, and the fur are mostly my own fantasy.

His activity is gruesomely described, for example:

Grendel snatched at the first Geat
He came to, ripped him apart, cut
His body to bits with powerful jaws,
Drank the blood from his veins and bolted
Him down, hands and feet; death
And Grendel's great teeth came together,
Snapping life shut.

In his literary take-off of Beowulf, called Grendel, John Gardner has Grendel tell his story:


I backed away, still holding the screaming guard. They merely stared, with their useless weapons drawn, their shoulders hunched against my laughter. When I'd reached a safe distance, I held up the guard to taunt them then held him still high and leered into his face. He went silent, looking at me upside-down in horror, suddenly knowing what I planned. As if casually, in plain sight of them all, I bit his head off, crunched through the helmet and skull with my teeth and, holding the jerking, blood-slippery body in two hands, sucked the blood that sprayed like a hot, thick geyser from his neck. It got all over me. Women fainted, men backed toward the hall. I fled with the body to the woods, heart churning--boiling like a flooded ditch--with glee.

Some people say that this sculpture reminds them of Goya's Saturn Devouring His Son.


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