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In this dissertation, I investigate the representations of Saladin in English textual representations from the medieval period to the present, beginning with the romance, King Richard in the fourteenth-century codex, Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates 19.2.1, the Auchinleck Manuscript, and continuing to Kingdom of Heaven, a modern Hollywood film. Representations of Saladin are key to helping us understand how the Muslim is characterized in Western popular culture, and how, in contemporary times, those depictions might influence public policy. I argue that American views of Islam are a cultural legacy from Britain due, not only to common language, but also because of the United States' role as a former colony of Great Britain. The representations of Islam as a spiritual and economic threat--through one of its central figures--have a long history and continue to persist because, despite an increasingly global culture, the West has failed to resolve a relationship with Muslim countries that is not dependent upon a binary of superiority and inferiority, of power and opposition. The figure of Saladin has become cultural shorthand in both the East and West for a vision of a region unified by Islam and antagonistic towards the Christian Other.
Auchinleck, King Richard, Mark Twain, Piracy, Saladin, Walter Scott
Date of Defense
July 5, 2011.
A Dissertation submitted to the Interdisciplinary Program in the Humanities in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Elaine Treharne, Professor Directing Dissertation; Peter Garretson, University Representative; David Johnson, Committee Member; Daniel J. Vitkus, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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