Medievalism And Orientalism: Three Essays on Literature, Architecture and Cultural Identity

Paperback | April 15, 2008

byJohn M. Ganim

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This book traces the strangely intertwined histories of the Middle Ages and the Orient as they are represented in histories of literature, architecture, and language, revealing an identity crisis in the idea of a purely Western Civilization. The definition of medieval culture, especially literature and architecture, from its earliest formulation in the Renaissance through to the twentieth century, has been a site of a contest over the idea of the West, and by definition, that which is non-Western. Early humanists claimed that medieval culture, including Gothic architecture and medieval romance, was largely the result of foreign, particularly Eastern, influence. Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century antiquarians sought the Phoenician origins of Britain, linking ancient civilizations to the Druids. Victorian World's Fairs often included medieval installations adjoining the pavilions of their newly conquered colonies. By connecting these associations between the British Middle Ages and the Orient, Medievalism and Orientalism traces a striking pattern in which "the past is a foreign country" and uncovers a terrible anxiety about origins and purity in Western culture.

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From the Publisher

This book traces the strangely intertwined histories of the Middle Ages and the Orient as they are represented in histories of literature, architecture, and language, revealing an identity crisis in the idea of a purely Western Civilization. The definition of medieval culture, especially literature and architecture, from its earliest f...

From the Jacket

"Medievalism and Orientalism offers a glimpse into the history and role of the post-renaissance creation of the Middle Ages in the formulation of England`s idea of itself. Ganim looks beyond academic medievalism into the fields of anthropology, popular culture, international expositions, gothic architecture, antiquarianism, gender stu...

John M. Ganim is Professor of English at University of California, Riverside.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:170 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.4 inPublished:April 15, 2008Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230602452

ISBN - 13:9780230602458

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Native Studies * The Middle Ages as Genre: Theories of Romance and Origins * The Middle Ages as Genealogy: The Occult History of Britain * The Middle Ages as Spectacle: Medievalism and Orientalism at the World's Fairs * The Middle Ages as Method: History and Carnival

Editorial Reviews

"Medievalism and Orientalism offers a glimpse into the history and role of the post-renaissance creation of the Middle Ages in the formulation of England's idea of itself. Ganim looks beyond academic medievalism into the fields of anthropology, popular culture, international expositions, gothic architecture, antiquarianism, gender studies, politics, religion, language, and race in this fascinating study of East-West relations that has never been more relevant or significant than at present."--R. Howard Bloch, Augustus R. Street Professor of French, Yale University"In an academic career that practically defines the word 'distinguished,' John Ganim has repeatedly shown us new ways of approaching the Middle Ages and the 'medieval.' He continues this important work in his newest book, where he analyzes 'this hybrid identity, the twinned association of medievalism and Orientalism.' He invites and helps us to see how vexed, and vexatious, the categories of our 'historicisms' are as we try to identify the objects of our study, which change even as we ourselves change, not only over time but also through space, especially the unstable and ever troubled space 'between' East and West."--R. Allen Shoaf, Senior Editor, Exemplaria and Alumni Professor of English, University of Florida"In these remarkable essays, John Ganim performs a virtuoso act of untangling the intricate web of cultural influences, anxieties, and agendas that have shaped the complex and mutually influential traditions of both medievalism and orientalism. In a radical yet subtle approach to cultural history, Ganim analyzes the afterlife of the Middle Ages through three distinctive and telling formations-as genre, as genealogy, and as display-showing exactly how, and why, the past became 'another country' for European tradition. His range is extraordinarily wide, but every page is marked by insight and revelation, and an exactitude of criticism and analysis that is often breathtaking. This book shifts the discussion of medievalism onto another plane."-Stephanie Trigg, Associate Professor of English, University of Melbourne"John Ganim is one of the few scholars who see that orientalism is a tortuous form of self-up0recognition. His new book is timely and state-of-the-art: interdisciplinary, transhistorical, cross-cultural, engaging with literature, historiography, aesthetics, and architecture, with work in all periods between the medieval and now, and with much major scholarship in the various fields. It is also lucid, engaged, and intriguing--a book to be read for serious pleasure."--David A. Lawton, Professor and Chair of English and Professor of Religious Studies, Washington University