Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Creating ConsilienceIntegrating the Sciences and the Humanities$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Edward Slingerland and Mark Collard

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199794393

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794393.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 July 2020

“By Weapons Made Worthy”: A Darwinian Perspective on Beowulf

“By Weapons Made Worthy”: A Darwinian Perspective on Beowulf

Chapter:
(p.372) 20 “By Weapons Made Worthy”: A Darwinian Perspective on Beowulf
Source:
Creating Consilience
Author(s):

Raymond Corbey

Angus Mol

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794393.003.0021

This chapter explores how biologically oriented approaches to narratives relate to more traditional hermeneutic and culturalist readings. As a case study, two ethnological readings of reciprocal exchange in Beowulf are examined from the perspective of altruism theory and costly signaling theory. It is shown how the latter crucially add to hermeneutic understandings of such aspects of the plot as wyrð (“worth”) as an aspect of personal identity and sibbengedriht as a social phenomenon. The relevance of this type of analysis for the wider debate on the disciplinary identity of ethnology is discussed in terms of Tinbergen's “four whys.”

Keywords:   Beowulf, gift exchange, costly signaling, Anglosaxon society

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .