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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: June ::
Shakespeare and Islam
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0597  Monday, 26 June 2006

[1] 	From: 	V. K. Inman <
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	Date: 	Friday, 23 Jun 2006 18:09:26 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0588 Shakespeare and Islam

[2] 	From: 	Jeff Dailey <
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	Date: 	Friday, 23 Jun 2006 18:37:23 EDT
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0588 Shakespeare and Islam

[3] 	From: 	Brian Gatten <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 24 Jun 2006 01:30:31 -0500
	Subj: 	RE: Shakespeare and Islam

[4] 	From: 	Imtiaz Habib <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 24 Jun 2006 20:26:25 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0588 Shakespeare and Islam


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		V. K. Inman <
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Date: 		Friday, 23 Jun 2006 18:09:26 -0400
Subject: 17.0588 Shakespeare and Islam
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0588 Shakespeare and Islam

Cary DiPietro wrote: ...Shakespeare's possible encounters with or 
understanding of Islam, especially in the early to mid-1590s?  I also 
wonder how Edward Said's argument about Orientalism as an enabling 
discourse of European colonialism might be read back to a play such as 
_Titus_ and in light of the play's own treatment of Roman Empire?

Response: I don't think you can read 'orientalism' back into Shakespeare.

See: Scarfe Beckett, Katharine. _Anglo-Saxon Perceptions of the Islamic 
World._ Cambridge University, 2003.-makes an argument that Said's thesis 
is not applicable prior to the eighteenth century by citing sources 
indicative of European views on Islam.

Page 23:  "Yet however far and in whatever direction one manages to 
pursue the argument for medieval Orientalism, it does not quite ring 
true.  Perhaps it is because it lacks the teleological thrust of Said's 
Orientalism.  All western commentary on the lands of the East tended for 
Said towards the last confident act of imperial, colonial rule, the 
consequences of which we now face.  Individual studies of earlier 
periods suggest that things were often more complicated than that.  But 
while this may detract from the momentum of Said's thesis, it does not 
touch the period in which he is secure, between the eighteenth century 
and the present day, where, indeed, his argument achieves most 
conviction by integrating the long-lived notions embodied in the 
literature of the day with the political motivation and material desires 
which also characterised this period.

V. K. Inman

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jeff Dailey <
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Date: 		Friday, 23 Jun 2006 18:37:23 EDT
Subject: 17.0588 Shakespeare and Islam
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0588 Shakespeare and Islam

For a brief survey of Elizabethan contacts with Islam, although not 
focusing on Shakespeare, you may wish to see my article "Christian 
Underscoring in _Tamburlaine the Great, Part II_, in _The Journal of 
Religion and Theatre_, available at
http://www.rtjournal.org/vol_4/no_2/dailey.html

In preparing this article, I encountered a great deal of source 
material, which I will be happy to share.

Jeff Dailey

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Brian Gatten <
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Date: 		Saturday, 24 Jun 2006 01:30:31 -0500
Subject: 	RE: Shakespeare and Islam

I'm not sure if this is in the direct line of Cary DiPietro's questions, 
but Nabil Matar makes an interesting claim in _Turks, Moors, and 
Englishmen in the Age of Discovery_, that 16th and 17th century 
Englishmen were fairly likely to come face-to-face with a North African 
at some point in their lives, and that they were actually more likely to 
meet a Muslim than a Jew.  He also argues that the infamous Elizabethan 
confusion in the definition of "Moor" stems from more or less conscious 
political motives.  I happen to have a quote handy from a paper I wrote 
a while back, so I'll let Matar speak for himself:

"[T]he conflation of North Africans with sub-Saharans is misleading 
because England's relations with sub-Saharan Africans were relations of 
power, domination, and slavery, while relations with the Muslims of 
North Africa and the Levant were of anxious equality and grudging 
emulation.... Precisely because the Muslims were beyond colonial reach, 
Britons began to demonize, polarize, and alterize them. In a frenzy of 
racism and bigotry that dominated the late Elizabethan, Jacobean, and 
Caroline periods, dramatists and travelers, theologians, and polemicists 
created the representations that would define early modern Britain's 
image of the Muslims.... The "Turk" was cruel and tyrannical, deviant, 
and deceiving; the "Moor" was sexually overdriven and emotionally 
uncontrollable, vengeful, and religiously superstitious. The Muslim was 
all that an Englishman and a Christian was not; he was the Other with 
whom there could only be holy war." (Matar 7-8, 12-13)

I believe Jack D'Amico made a similar argument earlier in _The Moor in 
English Renaissance Drama_, but I can't rattle off any quotes from that 
one.

This is my first post to the SHAKSPER list, by the way, so I'll cut it 
off before (hopefully) my excitement leads me to say anything embarrassing.

-Brian Gatten

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Imtiaz Habib <
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Date: 		Saturday, 24 Jun 2006 20:26:25 -0400
Subject: 17.0588 Shakespeare and Islam
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0588 Shakespeare and Islam

Nabil Matar, and Daniel Vitkus, have written on this area. Perhaps my 
own essay, "Shakespeare's Spectral Turks" will also be useful.

Imtiaz Habib
Associate Professor of English
Old Dominion University

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