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Title: Anglo-Saxon and Arabic Identity in the Early Middle Ages
Authors: Lennington, David Kent
Advisors: Smith, D. Vance
Cole, Andrew
Contributors: English Department
Keywords: Anglo-Saxon
Subjects: English literature
Comparative literature
Medieval literature
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation reassesses and reframes current discourses of Orientalisms and post-colonialisms via analysis of Old English and Arabic texts of the early Middle Ages as well as Latin and Biblical Hebrew texts. Focusing especially on the Old English Genesis A & B and Orosius, the dissertation discusses how these texts as well as the Offa imitation dinar reveal Anglo-Saxon England’s complex conception of the Middle East and North Africa. These regions are biblically depicted as sites of violence, but Orosius’ text (in its Latin, Old English, and Arabic versions) offers a strong critique of violence. This critique in Orosius’ history redefines paganism as something found in Rome, as a metropole. Offa’s dinar, meticulously copying the Arabic text of the original, shows the Anglo-Saxons thinking of the Middle East as a place worthy of emulation and capable of productive interaction. These cultural documents show that the “work” of conceptualizing geographic “others” was already being done in England well before the crusades, and in ways that are far more nuanced than we have previously recognized, while the methodology opens up new avenues for thinking about the early Middle Ages and redefining notions of center and periphery.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:English

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