Merrill, Robert. “John Gardner’s Grendel and the Interpretation of Modern Fables.”American Literature. 2nd ed. Vol. 56. Durham: Duke UP, 1984. 162-80. Print.
I found this source from the JSTOR catalog website (not sure if that’s the technical term for it). I searched the terms Grendel and existentialism, and I plan on checking the book out some time today.
The essay tells about the different interpretations one can make in Grendel dealing with nihilism and other philosophical viewpoints. It also gives an in depth analysis of Gardner’s reasoning behind the story. The author talks about Gardner’s attacks on other authors that he was associated with at the time and also how
“Gardner’s literary credo is unabashedly traditional; for him art is good ‘when it has a clear positive moral effect, presenting valid models for imitation, eternal verities worth keeping in mind, and a benevolent vision of the possible which can inspire and incite human beings towards virtue.’”
Along with more analyses of the characters and actions in Grendel, the author also shares a standpoint on the reasons Gardner’s intentions have remained hidden from the readers of his works.