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Date of Award
Restricted Thesis: Campus only access
Master of Arts in English Composition
First Reader/Committee Chair
I’m looking at how the set categories brought up by periodization significantly impact the way we as readers relate to literature and how by removing these limitations and applying theoretical lenses, otherwise reserved for specific literary genres and categories bounded by periodization, will allow readers to further explore the interconnections of literary pieces through a variety of theoretical lenses. It deconstructs the notion that a literary text must be seen first within a specific theoretical lens and that will, then, dictate what other theoretical lenses to apply to it. Rather, I argue that literary text should not be exclusive or conditional to set categories in order to analyze them through different theoretical lenses. My project touches on the themes of periodization, Anglo-Saxon studies, postcolonial studies, and Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf to explore how these themes are particularly present in this translation by a non-Anglo-Saxon writer.
More specifically, I look at how periodization limits the way that we approach and analyze literary texts that are put into categories creating boundaries around how we view texts. In this project, I explore how Beowulf has been primarily studied through the lens of Anglo-Saxon studies as a result of periodization. I then make the argument that if we were to remove the limitations set by periodization, such as literary text being categorized by time periods, then we would be able to analyze them using other theoretical lenses that can provide greater analytical insight to a text. To explore this hypothesis, I take a postcolonial approach to Beowulf and argue that the text provides insight into the early manifestation of colonial logic which is at the center of postcolonial studies. I discuss how Beowulf has primarily been explored through as a hero’s tale, as well as a historical literary piece that, through Anglo-Saxon studies, allows us to analyze the literary trends limited to periodic features. In addition, I look at how removing the analytical limitations set forward by Anglo-Saxon studies and periodization and instead applying a postcolonial lens to Heaney’s translation reveals many of the patterns set forth by colonial logic that are limited to colonial period texts. This comparison is done through the use of pre-colonial texts that have similar features of text during the colonial period.
In addition, I look at how removing the analytical limitations set forward by Anglo-Saxon studies and periodization, as well as applying a postcolonial lens to Heaney’s translation, reveals many of the patterns set forth by colonial logic that are limited to colonial period texts. Through a postcolonial lens, I look at how Heaney’s translation of the epic poem reflects many of the colonial anxieties that we see present in canonical colonial texts where both the characters in the text and the writers have connections with colonialism.
Marquez, Alejandra, "THE COLONIAL SEED IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE: THE EFFECTS OF PERIODIZATION ON A POSTCOLONIAL CRITIQUE OF BEOWULF" (2020). Electronic Theses, Projects, and Dissertations. 1146.