By Weapons Made Worthy * Jos Bazelmans (1999)

I stumbled upon this book in a book discount and it happened to be a title that I needed to read for a little project that I am working on when I did not yet know that (speaking of coincidence). Another strange thing is that I paid € 12,- for this book, while I can only find it for about € 50,- or $ 60,- on the internet!
Jos Bazelmans (born 1963 close to where I live) is an antropologist and archeologist with an interest in Northern European culture. The present book is subtitled “lord, retainers and their relationships in Beowulf” and contains six essays. These texts have similar subjects, but different angles of approach. Bazelmans compares different systems of “the antropology of exchange”, mostly the ideas of Mauss and his followers and that of Dumont and his followers. These texts are way too scholarly for me, diving deep into details in the systems of different schools. The system of gift-giving and relations is treated too and that is the subject that I have current interest in but also here Bazelmans goes into details and different viewpoint too deeply for me. The Beowulf story is also dissected and ideas about how pagan and how Christian the poem is are dealt with. As a true antropologist Bazelmans also ‘maps society in Beowulf‘.
The book sure has some interesting information and it is a suggested reading for people scholarly interested in the Beowulf poem, but I personally found the book a bit too heavy and too much focussed on other details than I care about myself.
1999 Amsterdam University Press, isbn 9053563253

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