Integrated Perspective in Medieval Literature

In progressing through this course, I have gained a deeper understanding of how differing perspectives can vastly alter the significance of a piece of literature regardless of its age and level of coverage by literary scholars. Being given the opportunity to read Othello and immediately follow it up with American Moor, I was able to reconsider the functionality of sociopolitically out-of-touch literature. Comparing traditional interpretations of Othello to Keith Hamilton Cobb’s explanation of its potential in the 21st century powerfully illustrated the fact that the meaning of a text is entirely a matter of how, why, and by whom it is presented. Maria Dahvana Headley’s translation of Beowulf served a similar purpose for me, as it offered a traditionally hypermasculine text through an honestly feminine lens. The fact that her retelling of Beowulf is so unique, yet so clearly informed by the translations that preceded it, made this piece significant for me in that it proved that past and present perspectives can exist concurrently and communicate efficiently, yet stand completely separate from one another in terms of inspiration and intent. I am getting to the point in my college education where I need to think about how I am going to teach some of these texts myself; I will absolutely keep the lessons about the power of individual perception and integrated perspective over old literature from this course in mind as I move forward in my career.

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