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The critical view - Same old story

Beowulf is an ideal subject for a Hollywood adaptation. The original poem, written in Old English some time before the year 1010, is heavily formulaic. It features a seemingly indestructible hero whose bodily strength is highly fetishised. There's plenty of violence - and we can generate a bit of sex too by reading well between the lines. And it has a three-part structure cadenced by the killing of three monsters.

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