11 October 2012

A Milestone Worth Mentioning

At this moment, the number of page views that this site has received is 10,003. Ten thousand views is a very large number to me, especially considering the narrow focus of this site. Not only that, but the number of visitors over just the last thirty days is almost 2,000. Several days have had over a hundred visitors a day.

I am surprised and gratified by the steady increase in the number of visitors. I'd like to thank all of you for your interest. If any of you are repeat visitors or even regular visitors, an especial "thank you" goes out to you.

Certain posts receive more attention than others. The star draws over the life of this blog, defined as the posts that get about 200 page views or more, are

  1. Second half of Fitt XXXVI: Beowulf gets bitten (732 page views)
  2. Smaug and the Hobbit Movie (322 page views)
  3. Eowyn's Lament (572 page views)
  4. Beowulf's Attitude to Crises, in Youth and Age (206 page views)
  5. XXV. Hrothgar's Sermon (196 page views)
  6. XXIII. Beowulf Finds Grendel's Mother (507 page views)
  7. The Beowulf Rap (454 page views)
  8. Sutton Hoo, Beowulf, and History (392 page views)
  9. Beowulf On-Line (522 page views)
As it turns out, this is also a special day for my other blog. It is just a hair away from receiving its 3,000th visit (2,983 right now) and has had over 1,000 visitors in just the last month. Given that it is a younger blog, I find these numbers equally impressive.

08 October 2012

The Heroic Imagination

I inquired in an earlier post whether thinking about the character of Beowulf could strengthen a reader's own character. I came down on the side that it could. What brought that matter back to mind was discovering Dr. Phil Zimbardo, who has run experiments on how easily people can be induced by a situation into behaving brutally. He is now interested in how they can be induced, when the situation calls for it, to behave heroically. He says that the way is to rehearse heroic actions in one's mind. When the moment comes, the appropriate behaviour will then come with it.

If we want heroes, as I believe we do, then
it is vital for every society to have its institutions teach heroism, building into such teachings the importance of mentally rehearsing taking heroic action—thus to be ready to act when called to service for a moral cause or just to help a victim in distress.
He calls this mental rehearsing, "the heroic imagination." It needs examples of heroic behaviour, such as Beowulf, to feed on.


He bid them to tell the tidings of battle
over the cliff, to the armsmen there
sitting sadly that slow morning’s day,
the spearbearers expecting both    2895
their king was killed or would come again,
the dearest man.
                                       The despatch rider
left out little that lapsed on the headlands,
but told them all the honest truth.
“Now the one who held the Weders’ hopes,    2900
“the lord of the Geats, lies on his death-bed,
“in slaughter’s sleep from the serpent’s deed.
“He lies beside his lethal foe,
“weakened by saxe-blows. No sword was able
“to make a mark on that monstrous being,    2905
“whatever he tried. Wiglaf was sitting
“beside Beowulf, Weohstan’s son,
“a living lord at the lost ones' side,
“weary in mind, watching the dead,
“the loved and the loathed. Our land now must suffer    2910
“a time of war when the truth has spread
“to Franks and Frisians, unfriendly ears,
“the king was killed. The conflict started...