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ENGL 302: Medieval Literature: The ENGL 302 Final Project

Helpful resources for students in the course.

The assignment

ENGL 302

Final Medieval Analysis

For this assignment, I want you to write a short (3-4 page) paper. In that paper, I want you to analyze how one of our pieces of modern(ish) culture uses the medieval literature we have read. This can be any of the modern pieces we read: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Lays of Beleriand, The Book of Three, or The Gray King. It’s also fine, though not required, if you have a thought that incorporates more than one of these. 

In writing this, I want you to think about one of the following questions (the parts in italics are especially key):

  1. Is this piece of modern culture authentic to the medieval literature it relates to, and what does it mean for it to be or not be authentic? 

  2. Is there an element (piece of plot, a character or an aspect of an existing character, a literary style, etc) in the medieval literature that you feel is missing from the modern adaptation, and if so, why do you think it is important enough that it ought to be included?

  3. A common element in medievalist stories is a kind of culture shock: either modern people encountering medieval customs (as in The Gray King and its series) or medieval people surprising us by acting modern (as in Monty Python and the Holy Grail). In the work you choose, how does this culture shock help us either understand the medieval texts or the modern one better?

In answering these you should of course rely most heavily on your own interpretations of the text, but you may find some secondary material helpful if it assists you in making your case for how we ought to interpret the medieval (or modern!) texts at hand. No secondary material is required, but if you use it, cite it—and please use and cite the class material as well.