In his Thinking about Beowulf (1994), James W. Earl confesses that: ■ I no longer trust those who say they know what Beowulf means, or even what it is about. The poem is hedged about with so many uncertainties — historical, textual, linguistic, hermeneutic [interpretive or explanatory] — that even the simplest and most straightforward statements can provoke a battle royal among scholars […] Thus the analysis of the poem is endless.1 ◽
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