Grendel is a 1971 novel by American author John Gardner. It is a retelling of part of the Old English poem Beowulf from the perspective of the antagonist, Grendel. In the novel, Grendel is portrayed as an antihero. The novel deals with finding meaning in the world, the power of literature and myth, and the nature of good and evil.
In a 1973 interview, Gardner said that "In Grendel I wanted to go through the main ideas of Western Civilization – which seemed to me to be about . . . twelve? – and go through them in the voice of the monster, with the story already taken care of, with the various philosophical attitudes (though with Sartre in particular), and see what I could do, see if I could break out". On another occasion he noted that he "us[ed] Grendel to represent Sartre's philosophical position" and that "a lot of Grendel is borrowed from sections of Sartre's Being and Nothingness."
Grendel has become one of Gardner's best-known and best-reviewed works. Several editions of the novel contain pen and ink line drawings of Grendel's head, by Emil Antonucci. Ten years after publication, the novel was adapted into the 1981 animated movie Grendel Grendel Grendel.