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The Looney Left Loves Literature

This fawning report of a Toni Morrison lecture offers frightening insight into the decay of the study of literature at the hands of liberals. Morrison felt inspired to discuss the epic Beowulf. According to Morrison, Beowulf kills the monster Grendel out of revenge, just as Grendel’s mother comes after Beowulf in revenge. She preaches a moral equivalence, naturally. She suggests we ask ourselves today, "Who or what is the monster? Is it them or is it us? Where do we belong?" Her derision for Beowulf’s unambiguous answer is apparent.

This is a Pulitzer Prize winner? Morrison has, in Dante’s phrase, lost the good of intellect. There is no other explanation for such a moronic misreading of Beowulf and its import.

A quick perusal of the actual story (Raffel translation, 1963) puts the jack boot of reality to Morrison’s revisionist reading. The seething, blind vengeance in the epic belongs to the beast, not the hero. Ridding the world of evil is not an act of mere revenge. Just war is the necessary vocation of the hero. Grendel is roused to murder by the songs sung in Hrothgar’s hall that celebrate the good and the beautiful. Enraged by the good, he sets out to destroy it, coming up from where he had “made his home in a hell not hell but earth.” Beowulf does what a man must do in the face of bestial violence destroying God’s creation. Grendel is a scourge, a malignancy born of the Fall that mankind must face. How they face it goes a long way toward their ultimate redemption. Hrothgar turns to the “stone gods” of old, reverts to heathen incantations and sacrifices in his despair on his way to irrelevance. Beowulf accepts the challenge and faces the demon with conviction.

The bitter irony is that there are in fact significant parallels between Beowulf and our time. But those who habitually defile our collective literary heritage to cheap propaganda are lost to its salvific power.


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