An ocean of ink has already been spilled on Donald Trump and his meteoric rise in American politics, so much so that you would be forgiven for thinking there was nothing left to be said about the outspoken, controversial billionaire who is the front-runner in the race to be the Republican presidential nominee.
But, swirling in the ether of social media, a University of Virginia professor brings us something rather novel. On Monday, Bruce Holsinger, a medievalist and professor of English, came up with the Twitter hashtag #BeowulfTrump and proceeded to embark on a series of satirical tweets, conjuring Trump's bellicose rhetoric in the universe of the Anglo-Saxon epic.
"Beowulf," for those not up to speed, is a lengthy poem composed in Old English at some point between the 8th and 11th centuries. It is the saga of the eponymous hero, a Scandinavian warrior from the tribe of the Geats, who arrives in Heorot, the hall of Hrothgar, king of the Danes, and sets about saving the land from the ravages of the monster Grendel. It is one of the most canonical texts in the English language.
In an e-mail to WorldViews, Holsinger explained that he wanted "to do a riff on Beowulf's boastfulness" for the first week of class. "Trump, of course, sprang to mind," he said.
Let's see how Holsinger paired the Anglo-Saxon legend with the political celebrity of the moment.
Our hero shows sensitivity toward other peoples:
But he has little patience for the failings of others, including his rivals — in this case, Unferth, a Danish warrior in Hrothgar's hall.
Holsinger also cites a passage in the epic that he suggests could have "come straight out of the Republican debate." Here's Beowulf picking on Unferth, as written in a recent, acclaimed translation of "Beowulf."
The fact is, Unferth, if you were truly
as keen or courageous as you claim to be
Grendel would never have got away with
such unchecked atrocity, attacks on your king,
havoc in Heorot and horrors everywhere.
Now, revel in more glorious bombast:
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