You should read this letter John Gardener wrote to a class who read his book. It’s quite interesting because it discusses how Gardner the author of Grendel interpreted the epic of Beowulf. You can read it here.
Its interesting to observe how Gardner interprets his own book. While the writers of the initial letter thought that the dragon somehow represented the author’s thought about god, Gardner quickly corrects them by saying that in fact the dragon itself is not important. The dragon is simply another creature created out of his imagination like Grendel itself. He goes on to further state that when reading serious works of literature, readers should not assume that items in the book represent the author. In my opinion, this thought seems mostly counter-intuitive because I feel like that in my previous English classes, we (my classes) were taught to connect the story or aspects of the story to the author in some way. However, I can acknowledge Gardner’s point because aspects in serious works of literature are suppose to relate to some universal observation or truth.
Another aspect of Gardner’s letter worth mentioning is theories, specifically how they are nonsense. I find it strange then how he says theories are important for man to understand himself. I guess the theories made to not have to make sense as long as they help man discover himself.