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Discourses of the Muslim Other

  • Jerold C. Frakes
Chapter
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

Before proceeding to the material from Germany that is relevant to the construction of a discourse of the Muslim Other in the Middle Ages, it is first necessary to theorize such an analysis. While that might be accomplished in other subfields of medieval studies with a requisite bow and nod to the appropriate foundational texts, such is not quite the case in medieval German studies, where that theorization has not yet been comprehensively executed. Thus, in attempting to contribute to that ongoing process, the following pages will tread some familiar ground for many readers, but will ultimately, I hope, make possible more adequately contextualized readings of the literary texts from medieval Germany that form the object of the study in succeeding chapters.

Keywords

Muslim Community Literary Text Postcolonial Theory Narrative Device Postcolonial Study 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Unless we countenance the historicity of the Old Norse Groenlendinga páttr and its inclusion in the crew that sailed to Vínland (by scholarly consensus now identified as Newfoundland) of Tyrkir, the suðmaðr [German], who participated in the confrontation with Native Americans in the tenth century; text edited by Halldór Hermannsson, The Vinland Sagas, Islandica 30 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1944). See Jerold C. Frakes, “Vikings, Vinland and the Discourse of Eurocentrism,” Jowmal of English and Germanic Philology 100 (2001): 157–99. Needless to say, that encounter had no effect on the development of a German representation of the non-European Other.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    On the political motivations (papal and otherwise) for the Crusades as the primary military expression of this conflict, see, especially for his focus on the German literary tradition, Wolfgang Spiewok, “Die Bedeutung des Kreuzzugserlebnisses für die Entwicklung der feudalhöfischen Ideologie und die Ausformung der mittelalterlichen deutschen Literatur: Vom Dogma zur Toleranz,” Weimarer Beiträge 9 (1963): 669–83.Google Scholar
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    In general on this topic, see Norman Daniel, Islam and the West: The Making of an Image (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960); and R.W. Southern, Western Views of Islam in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1962). The most important work on this specific topic is in the field of art history, the monumental The Image of the Black in Western Art, ed. Ladislas Bugner (New York: William Morrow, 1976–199), especially vol. 2: From the Early Christian Era to the “Age of Discovery” (New York: William Morrow, 1979); and the likewise exhaustive P. Bancourt, Les muselmans dans les chansons de geste du cycle du roi, 2 vols. (Aix-en-Provence: Université de Provence, 1982). More recently, see also Debra Higgs Strickland, Saracens, Demons, and Jews: Making Monsters in Medieval Art (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003); Jürgen Brummack, Die Darstellung des Orients in den deutschen Alexandergeschichten des Mittelalters (Berlin: Schmidt, 1966); John Block Friedman, The Monstrous Races in Medieval Art and Thought (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    This tripartite definition is based on Lucy K. Pick, “Edward Said, Orientalism and the Middle Ages,” Medieval Encounters 5 (1999): 265–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 14.
    Robert Young, White Mythologies: Writing History and the West (London: Routledge, 1990), p. 129.Google Scholar
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    John V. Tolan, Saracens: Islam in the Medieval European Imagination (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), pp. 280–81.Google Scholar
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    J.R.S. Phillips, The Medieval Expansion of Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988).Google Scholar
  12. 43.
    See especially the “Einleitung” to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Philosophie der Geschichte, 2nd ed., vol. 9 of Werke, ed. Karl Hegel (Berlin: Duncker und Humblot, 1840), pp. 3–135.Google Scholar
  13. 44.
    Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981), pp. 9–10.Google Scholar
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    See especially Rudolf Wittkower, “Marvels of the East: A Study in the History of Monsters,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 5 (1942): 159–97, and Roy A. Wisbey, “Marvels of the East in the Wiener Genesis and in Wolfram’s Parzival,”.in Essays in German and Dutch Literature, ed. W.D. Robson-Scott (London: Institute of Germanic Studies, 1973), pp. 1–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Lynn Tarte Ramey, Christian, Saracen and Genre in Medieval French Literature (New York: Routledge 2001), pp. 35 and 38.Google Scholar
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    David R. Blanks and Michael Frassetto, Western Views of Islam in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Perception of Other (New York: St. Martin’s, 1999), p. 3.Google Scholar
  17. 59.
    See especially Rana Rabbani, Europe’s Myths of Orient (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), pp. 14–36. There is also a growing body of work specifically on the eroticization of the colonial woman; see especially the essays in the section “Theorizing Gender,” in Colonial Discourse and Post-colonial Theory: A Reader, ed. Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), pp. 196–267.Google Scholar
  18. 62.
    Franz H. Bäuml, ed., Kudrun: Die Handschrift (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1969), here st. 583, 3. See below in chapter four and especially the examples analyzed by Alfred Ebenbauer, “Es gibt ain mörynne vil dick susse mynne: Belakanes Landsleute in der deutschen Literatur des Mittelalters,” Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum 113 (1984): 16–42.Google Scholar
  19. 71.
    Norman Daniel, Heroes and Saracens: An Interpretation of the Chansons de Geste (Edinburg: Edinbugh University Press, 1984), pp. 9–10.Google Scholar
  20. 75.
    See, for instance, Roswitha Wisniewski, Kreuzzugsdichtung: Idealität in der Wirklichkeit (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1984), p. 130.Google Scholar
  21. 80.
    Homi Bhabha, “Frontlines/Borderposts,” in Displacements: Cultural Identities in Questions, ed. Angelika Bammer (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1994), p. 271 [269–72].Google Scholar
  22. 81.
    Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge, 1994), pp. 1–2.Google Scholar
  23. 88.
    Janet L. Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250–1350 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989).Google Scholar

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© Jerold C. Frakes 2011

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