New! From the Old English Channel on YouTube!

Hey, cool viewers! Here’s a new video on YouTube. Come hear Grendel’s attack on King Hrothgar’s Heorot! In Old English even!

My husband Sean found a phase-inversion problem with the sound that caused it to basically cancel out all sound (“mute it”) when YouTube converted it to mono. This means that I made four videos, and they sounded fine when played on our computer; but when we loaded them up on YouTube, they sounded awful, all quiet and garbled. My shoulders sagged. I had worked and worked, with many “takes,” before getting them just right. But my husband is literally a genius. For two weeks he worked on this problem until he understood it and fixed it. SEAN BUTCHER ROCKS! Of course, you’ll see I do use “well” wrong in the video, but I liked the rest of it so much that I left that little gaffe. Hey, if the monks could leave a space open and not painted in in the illuminated manuscripts to suggest the inability of us mere humans to be “perfect,” then surely I can accidentally err and then leave it in. Such a small thing, the notion of perfection. Such a large thing, the notion of mystery.

Enjoy! And be sure to keep the lights on, for Grendel is coming to town!!!

About Carmen

I teach English at Shorter College in beautiful Rome, Georgia.
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21 Responses to Grendel

  1. Andrea Reed says:

    I like that you take a lot of time to describe the excerpt. I thought the “Kroger” comment was a nice touch. If you hadn’t described the excerpt beforehand, I wouldn’t have known what it was about. Well, I still didn’t know what it was about. I’ll leave the Old English to you! Well done!

  2. Maygen Bonner says:

    I thought you explained Bewoulf very clearly in your movie. I did feel though that it could have used a little more enthusiasm in some areas. But over all I was well inform and entertained. You could deffinatly tell you were passionate about what you were talking about when you almost leaped out of you chair.

  3. Brittany Delong says:

    Your adjectives are absolutely great! The hairy, smelly, and loathsome monster paints the exact picture that came to my mind while reading beowulf in highschool. The other part of the video I found entertaining was how you started the excerpt in Old English and you nearly jump out of your seat. Considering Old English isn’t my first language, your body language makes it just a little bit easier on my modern mind.

  4. Autumn Myers says:

    Honestly I am not really into the old, mystic folktales, so I do not remember any part of Beowolf from reading it in highschool. Thank you for jogging my memory about the excert you were going to recite in Old English. Even though I have not mastered my Old English fluently yet haha(I haven’t even mastered modern English) I was able to pick up on the climax of the excert by the way you used your hands and the tone in your voice.

  5. Melissa Kendrick says:

    So Beowulf didn’t take place in England? Then perhaps the story was written in England, but set in a Danish kingdom situated on the island of Zealand which would now be present day Denmark. I love that you recited a piece in Old English. Grendel was always my favorite character. After hearing you talk about him I could close my eyes and picture him in the swamplands plotting how to best attack his next victims.

  6. Michael Callahan says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the description of the hairy, smelly, loathsome creature named Grendel. I enjoyed the way you led up to the attack because it helped me picture the setting and the actions taking place. Although I do not remember Beowulf to much from high school, I was able to follow along in the fight because of the information you gave. The only part of this excerpt I was unsure about was the fight. When you told the fight in Old English, I struggled to follow along because I did not understand the detail of the fight. Even though I could not follow along with my ears, I did enjoy your facial expression and hand movements. The movements showed intense moments and the not so intense moments. You did this video very well, and your genius husband, Sean, did a great job editing and getting this video on the internet.

    P.S.- May i ask when Grendel is coming to town? :)

  7. Josh Donahue says:

    I have always loved Beowulf. I read a couple of excerpts from it back in high school. I would really love to sit down and read the whole thing. I do not think I have ever heard someone speak in old english before. The was a very cool experience for me. Kudos to you Dr. Butcher and thank you. I really enjoyed that.

  8. Callie Clark says:

    That was so great! I’ve never read Beowulf, but it was like any good foreign language film–I didn’t need to understand! I jumped when you jumped at the beginning of the excerpt; frightening levels of enthusiasm are always a good thing. Very, very, entertaining!

  9. Meagan Everett says:

    I do not remember much of Beowulf from high school, but your description of the scene enabled me to picture the hairy, smelly, and loathsome monster perfectly in my mind. If you had not described the scene before you began talking in Old English, I would not have had a clue what was going on. I especially loved your enthusiasm! The part when you almost jumped out of your seat showed how seriously you took this task, and the fact that you reshot the scene numerous times proves that you strive to do your best no matter what task you are completing.

  10. I loved the story of Beowulf when I read it in high school. All of the descriptors and all. I have never heard Old English before. That part suprised me. I had the idea that Old English was at least somewhat like our present day English. But now I see why it takes many scholars to read this language. Despite how different it sounded, you made Grendel come alive in his original language. Something I’m sure has never been done before on YouTube.

  11. lonergon honore says:

    Dr. Butcher, your one of a kind! I love the story of Beowulf when i read it for English my senior year in high school. As a class, we tried to read it together in Old English but i did not understand what was goin on and we had to do project on it as well. My teacher was good but she did not explain as well as master the art of speaking in Old English like you do.
    peace, love, and soul………………..lamo! I just had to put that in there.

  12. Nick Cooper says:

    I would agree with what many others have already stated in their comments. I found your telling of the story of Beowulf and Grendel to be rather riveting. My English class read that story my senior year of high school and so I could remember everything that we read as you discussed the story. I thought that the Old English made the story a lot better; however, I must honestly say that I have no idea what it was you were actually saying. On another note, my class had to do a project/ presentation of some kind on Beowulf when we read that story, and my particular group made the story a puppet show. Wow…those were the good times! We even added special effects with smoke and fire. It was actually quite amazing. Other groups wrote songs, which they performed– other groups made homemade videos of the members acting the story out. I must say that watching your video brought back fun memories and reminded me of how cool this story really is.

  13. Emily Hall says:

    I thought this was very interesting. Beowulf freaked me out when we read the poem in high school, but this grasped my attention. Your enthusiasm made it so much better! I enjoyed it. The old english was amazing!

  14. Abel Jones says:

    To be truthful, my favorite part of the clip was all the crazy words you used. I even went and looked some of them up. Another thing that I appreciated was the correct pronunciation of all the names and places. I have read Beowulf several times, but have always been a bit “iffy” on how to actually say some of the words.

  15. Bekah Smith says:

    I am really excited that you made this Grendel video. I remember reading part of Beowulf in high school, and I wish I could have seen this video back then. I find it fascinating that people used to gather together to hear epic stories, like Beowulf, passed down through oral traditions. You should make recordings of the full Beowulf text so students can enjoy the story like people did hundreds of years ago.

  16. Quincy Matthews says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this Grendel Video. It brought back memories of junior year english. We used to have debates in class about which student had the bigger “wordhord”, and ever since that year it has been one of my favorite words. Watching this video has inspired me to break out my old english book and read Beowulf once again. Thank you for your always enlightening blogs!

  17. Kayla Cannon says:

    I remember this old story from highschool. This just reminded me how much I really enjoyed it. I love the enthusiasm you gave will telling your story and I much enjoyed listening to you talk in old english.

  18. Kasi Runion says:

    I really enjoyed this video of Grendel in Beowulf. I remember reading this story my senior year in high school. I loved it because my teacher made us act it out sometimes and so it really made me think about the story. She made it funny and enjoyable so that we wouldn’t get bored and remember it, and it worked. The whole thing where you were not talking english was crazy, but I liked it!

  19. Will Tutton says:

    I first read Beowulf in seventh grade; I really enjoyed it then but a lot of the story had slipped my mind. The description of Grendel really helped me to picture what he might really be like. Although I am not very fond of old english, getting a taste of it every now and then is great. There was one point in the video when, I thought you were going to jump right out of your seat!

  20. María Sol Rufiner says:

    Simply great! I always wonder how does the old English sound and in spite of the scary part I love to hear it!! Thanks!!
    I’m a senior studiant of Philosophy from Argentina, who would like to know more about Beowoulf, Hildegard of Bingen and Old English!

  21. essentuki says:

    Nice work! I’ll have to do a cross post on this one ;)

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