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AUK Professor Ghazi Nassir Authors New Book on Muslim Representation in English Literature

Associate Professor of English Language & Literature at AUK Dr. Ghazi Q. Nassir's proposal to author a new book entitled Perceptions and \Representations of Islam and Muslims in English Literature: three volumes has been accepted by the Edwin Mellen Press. This is his third book.

Perceptions and Representations of Islam and Muslims in English Literature traces and examines the perceptions and representations of Islam and the Muslims, their civilization as reflected in the works of the English writers from the Middle Ages to the present time. The main aim of this study is not to launch an attempt to identify homogenous representations of the Muslim figures but rather to consider the significance of the variety of works at hand and explore the reasons that informed and motivated the authors' views and presentations.

The book gives a historical overview of English writers' popular misconceptions of Islam which resulted in their often hostile attitude towards Islam, its founder, and its followers. It demonstrates, however, that in including a variety of prominent Muslim figures in their literary works, their treatments of these figures and events bear no trace of the folkloric or theological attacks on Islam and its propagators. It also traces the origins of Muslim (Turks and Arabs) images in English Literature since the Middle Ages to the present time. The works of literature are analyzed and viewed through historical, political, religious, and cultural contexts to show why these images prevail, and what changes, if any, have been presented.

Over sixteen hundred years of English literature under consideration in Perceptions and Representations of Islam and Muslims contains, in Chaucer's phrase, "all God's plenty." In these centuries of literature, readers can trace and observe the interrelation of literature and religion, literature and culture, and literature and politics. It seeks to furnish the students of Orientalism, Oriental scholars, with some useful observations and insights on English Orientalists, as a whole, and as well on particular works in the light of what is now known of perceptions and representations of Islam and Muslims, and the intellectual and literary milieu in which they wrote their literary works.

Perceptions and representations of Islam and Muslims in English Literature will contribute to existing scholarship by, first, documenting and contextualizing Christian English writers' perceptions and images of Muslims, Turks, and Arabs over the course of their entire history of interaction, not just a single period. Second, in doing so it will pay particular attention to continuities and discontinuities that have not been coherently studied in this context, primarily the gradual replacement of "infidels," or "pagans," "Hagarnes," or "Ishmaelites", "Mahometans", "Saracens" by "Turks", "Arab Terrorists," or "Muslim Terrorists" at the center of Englishmen's fantasies about the Islamic World, and the transformation of Christian historical narratives into the secular narratives of the Enlightenment and Modernity and the roles accorded to Muslims, Turks and Arabs in each. Third, this study attempts to show how this history matters today, with particular focus on the relation of the East/Islam and West/Christian.

The book will be divided into three volumes:


The first volume covers literary tour of the following periods: The Middle Ages (1060-1500); the Renaissance (1500-1603); and Restoration (1660-1700).
The second volume covers the following periods: The Enlightenment (1700-1798) and The Romantic Era (1832-1890).
The third volume covers the following periods: The Modern Age (1890-1940) and The Contemporary Scene (Since 1940- to the present time).

The entire book will be delivered in its entirety by the end of December, 2015.
Dr. Ghazi Nassir

Released by the PR & Marketing Department on the 4th May 2011




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