Giuliano Marmora M.A. (University of Trento/University of Augsburg)

Project Overview - The Portrait of the Hero Through Materiality in Beowolf and its Retellings

Recent years have seen a surge in the popularity of retellings of Old English Literature, and of Beowulf in particular, captivating a broad readership beyond academic circles. These retellings have captured the interest of both casual readers and scholars alike, who have approached them through various lenses and methodologies. Surprisingly, research within the field of Anglo-Saxonism devoted little attention to the pivotal role played by objects in Beowulf retellings, despite their profound impact on the characterization of the Anglo-Saxon hero[1] and the narrative role they play into the poem. This research project investigates how 20th and 21st century authors transpose the treasure, the sword, and the armour in their novelistic retellings of the Old English poem. It acknowledges different trend in the retellings, identifying in particular two distinct attitudes towards the recovery of Old English material: an interest in its pictured primitivistic atmosphere, on the one hand, and an intent of subverting its perceived values, on the other. The central focus lies on understanding the intricate relationship between these items and the hero or the king, and how they contribute to his characterization or to the development of the heroic narrative. Identifying what the Manipulation School has broadly defined as “invariants”—semantic features shared by both the hypotext and the hypertexts—allows us to discern the variations introduced by authors. Through the analysis of invariants and variations, the research explores the common ideological thread underlying these novels and investigates changes in heroic culture that are employed to recast the Anglo-Saxon hero in the 20th and 21st century.

[1] I acknowledge the ongoing debate surrounding the term "Anglo-Saxon" and its (ab)use. However, in my research, I adopt the term solely for reference to national, historical, or cultural aspects, devoid of any ideological connotations. Additionally, I adopt "Old English" to specifically denote the language and literature of that era.




Research interests and Scholarships

Research interests


  • Rewriting and reception of Literatures from the Germanic Middle Ages
  • Translation of Literatures from the Germanic Middle Ages
  • Old English Literature
  • Middle English Literature
  • Heroic Literature
  • Magic in Literature
  • Fantastic in Literature
  • Scholarship for the duration of the 3 year PhD Program in Forms of Cultural Exchange from the the University of Trento
  • Scholarship for the duration of the 6 months visiting period at Leiden University (01/01/2023 - 31/06/2023) from the University of Trento
  • Erasmus traineeship scholarship for the duration of 4 months at the Chair of New English Languages and Literatures for a research internship (15/06/2024 - 15/10/2024)

Presentations and Publications



Marmora, G. 2024. “Reviving Old Norse Myths: Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology and its sources”, in Casaccia, M. et al. eds.  «Baigner le présent dans le sacré» La ricezione letteraria del mito dall'antichità alla contemporaneità. Trento: Università di Trento editrice. (forthcoming)


Marmora, G. 2024. “Designing Norse Gods in Comics: Graphic Characterization and Popularisation in N. Gaiman and P. Craig Russell’s Norse Mythology.”, in Giordano, C. & Marmora, G. eds. Rifrazioni. La vita del testo fra forme antiche e nuove espressioni. Napoli: Liguori. (forthcoming)


Marmora, G. 2023. “Reshaping the Anglo-Saxon Scop: Truth Manipulation and Personal Gain in Modern Retellings of Beowulf”. Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik. 291–319.


Marmora, G. 2021. Il mito di Beowulf. Risonanze antiche e moderne [The Myth of Beowulf: Ancient and Modern Resonances]. Rome: Aracne.


Marmora, G. 2020. "'That was an innocent child'. Unearthing the voice of the defeated in S. S. Morrison’s Grendel’s Mother", in Giordano, C. ed. Risonanze III. La memoria dei testi dal Medioevo a oggi. Napoli: Liguori. 169-184.


Marmora, G. 2019. "Ofer hronrade: 'al di là del mare, la via delle balene'. Questioni sulla traduzione del Beowulf in prosa italiana" [Ofer hronrade: 'al di là del mare, la via delle balene'. "Questions on the translation of Beowulf into Italian prose". Open Journal of Humanities 2: 41-74.


Marmora, G. 2019. "Scrivere e leggere il Cilendanu. Un tentativo di normalizzazione morfo-fonetica" [Reading and writing the Cilendanu. An attempt at morpho-phonetic normalization], in Del Duca, D. Pòvere chi care... Stranaofficina. 17-19.


Edited Books


Ferroni, L., Gavilli, R. & Marmora, G. eds. 2025. Il bene e il male nel medioevo germanico. Milano: Ledizioni. (forthcoming)


Giordano, C. & Marmora, G. eds. 2024. Rifrazioni. La vita del testo fra forme antiche e nuove espressioni. Napoli: Liguori. (forthcoming)




25-26/01/2024, Naples, University of Naples "L'Orientale". Rifrazioni. La vita del testo fra forme antiche e nuove espressioni.

  • Organizing Committee
  • Speaker: Visualizzare il racconto mitologico: Norse Mythology di Neil Gaiman dal libro al fumetto [Visualizing the mythological narrative: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman from book to comic].

06-07/06/2023, Naples, University of Naples "L'Orientale" (IT). II convegno dottorale AIFG. “l bene e il male nel Medioevo germanico”.

  • Programme Committee

07-09/06/2023, Naples, University of Naples "L'Orientale" (IT). XLIX Convegno annuale dell’Associazione Italiana di Filologia Germanico. “Linguaggio poetico e strutture retoriche nei testi germanici medievali”

  • Organising Committee

23-24-25/10/2023. Trento, University of Trento (IT) «Baigner le présent dans le sacré» La ricezione letteraria del mito dall’antichità alla contemporaneità

  • Programme and Organising Committee
  • Speaker: Reviving Old Norse Myths: Unveiling the Artistry of Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology

20/01/2023, Leiden, Leiden University (NL). Graduate Conference: Beowulf and Beyond. An Eraly Medieval Poem and its Modern Adaptation.

  • Keynote: “Vae Victis! The Scop as the Forger of the Truth in Beowulf Retellings”

23-24/01/2020, Naples, University of Naples "L'Orientale" (IT). Risonanze III. La memoria dei testi dal Medioevo a oggi.

  • Speaker: “Stay with me, my dear. This is man’s business”. The voice of the defeated in Morrison’s Grendel’s Mother




Contact Giuliano Marmora M.A.