Song of Hiawatha

A journey through changes in media over time

Introduction: How does remediation start?

This project is about how a work can start as an oral project, then be remediated into a printed project, and finally, about how the remediation affects its audience in different ways over time. In order to illustrate this process, I will show how Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Song of Hiawatha” began its life as a traditional oral poem, until it was written and published, and then I will carry this over to a web design which allows the audience to interact with the poem and view different imagery as they engage with the website and the poem.

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To begin, start the audio player below. When you are ready, go to the next page, to see how adding a bit of visual changes the experience of the poem.

Stanza 1

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Stanza 11

Stanza 12

What is an epic poem?

According to Muhammad Rafiq, author of “The Epic, Definition, Types, and Characteristics,” on the Owlcation website, the epic is “well-defined as a long story in verse dwelling upon an important theme in a most elegant style and language.” Epic Definition Types & Characteristics

Rafiq goes on to note several important features of epics, such as prolonged narrative in verse, usually broken down into different books and the way the epic focuses on the achievements of a traditional or historical hero exhibiting valor, deeds, bravery, character, with incredible physical and mental traits. Epic poetry, Rafiq goes on to explain, also uses hyperbole and exaggeration to make more of an impression on the audience. Another important trait of epic poetry is the supernatural elements of the work, and there is generally a strong moral lesson in the poem. Other features of the epic poem are that the Muse is invoked at the beginning of the poem, and that the “diction of every epic is lofty, grand and elegant,” Rafiq notes, adding “No trivial, common, or colloquial language is used in epic.”