The vivid depiction of a dragon-fight in the Old English poem Beowulf and its relationship with other literary encounters between heroes and dragons has been the subject of much scholarly debate; yet this is the first comprehensive study of the dragon-fight in secular and hagiographical literature. In a series of five detailed studies the author discusses the analogues and possible sources of Beowulf's famous last battle, drawing on hagiographical, historical, liturgical, heroic and other narrative material to explore the prominence of these episodes within the literary milieu of the I>Beowulf-poet and his audience. She assembles an extensive corpus of fights between saints and dragons, and demonstrates their striking resemblance to Beowulf's actions. A comparison with Scandinavian material is followed by case studies which examine the dragon-fights of St Samson and the archangel St Michael. The analogues discussed are presented with facing translations and detailed bibliographies.
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