Orientalist Poetics: The Islamic Middle East in Nineteenth-Century English and French Poetry, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Orientalist Poetics

The Islamic Middle East in Nineteenth-Century English and French Poetry, 1st Edition

By Emily A. Haddad


232 pages

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Hardback: 9780754603047
pub: 2002-02-09
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Orientalist Poetics is the only book on literary orientalism that spans the nineteenth century in both England and France with particular attention to poetry and poetics. It convincingly demonstrates orientalism's centrality to the evolution of poetry and poetics in both nations, and provides a singularly comprehensive and definitive analysis of the aesthetic impact of orientalism on nineteenth-century poetry. Because it examines the poetry of the entire century across both national literatures, the book is in a unique position to articulate the essential part orientalism plays in major developments of nineteenth-century poetics. Through probing discussions of an array of prominent nineteenth-century poets-including Shelley, Southey, Byron, Hugo, Musset, Leconte de Lisle, Wordsworth, Hemans, Gautier, Tennyson, Arnold and Wilde-Emily A. Haddad reveals how orientalism functions as a diffuse avant-garde, a crucial medium for the cultivation and refinement of a broad range of experimental positions on poetry and poetics. Haddad argues that while orientalist poems are often viewed mainly as artefacts of European attitudes towards the East and imperialism, poetic representations of the Islamic Orient also provide an indispensable matrix for the reexamination of such aesthetically fundamental issues as the purpose of poetry, the value of mimesis, and the relationship between nature and art. Orientalist Poetics effectively bridges the gap between the analysis of poetics and the analysis of orientalism. In showing that major poetic developments have roots in orientalism, Haddad's book offers a valuable and innovative revisionist view of nineteenth-century literary history.


'[Emily A. Haddad] offers no simplistic construction of orientalism in European poetics but rather a smart, engaging study that adds depth and interest to her predecessors' work in the field.' College Literature 'Orientalist Poetics… is… of value in introducing readers to a variety of British and French Orientalisms and will usefully serve as an accessible encouragement to further research.' The Byron Journal

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: To instruct without displeasing: Percy Shelley's The Revolt of Islam and Robert Southey's Thalaba the Destroyer; Instruction in The Revolt of Islam; Tyranny: the Orient’s chief export; Tyranny’s comrades: religion and sexism; Orientalism and Shelley’s poetics; Morals vs. materials: instruction and pleasure in Thalaba the Destroyer; The desert, Islam: foreignness as a hermeneutic category; The desert, Islam: foreignness as a hermeneutic category; Foreignness general and particular: character as archetype; Extremes: too many notes?; Southey and his readers: delighted, informed, or distressed; Representation and the Arabesque ornament; Representing, misrepresenting, not representing: Victor Hugo’s Les Orientales and Alfred de Musset’s Namouna: Hugo’s preface: poetic ideals and the Orient as subject; La douleur du pacha: the Orient as origin or as end; Adieux de l’hôtesse arabe :stasis; Novembre: returning to Paris, the self, and mimesis; Hugo’s critics: E.J. Chételat; George Gordon Byron’s Don Juan: But what’s reality?; Namouna: fragmentary representation; No narrative, no representation; Authority, referents, and representation; The Middle East: impossible à décrire; Orientalist poetics and the nature of the Middle East; William Wordsworth and the nature of the Middle East; Felicia Hemans’s ambivalence; Truth in illustrating Robert Southey and Thomas Moore; Leconte de Lisle: Le Désert, le désert du monde; Théophile Gautier: the composite desert; In deserto; European nature in absentia; Out of the desert: Byron’s Turkish Tales; Matthew Arnold in Bukhara: nature in the Middle Eastern city; Alfred Tennyson’s Basra: natural phenomena and urban construction; Orientalist poetics, Oscar Wilde; The Orient's art, orienting art; A confederation of the Middle East and art: Wordsworth; The Middle East as a source of art: Leconte de Lisle; Middle Eastern

About the Author

Emily A. Haddad received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. Since 1997 she has taught in the Department of English at the University of South Dakota, where she is an associate professor.

About the Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series aims to develop and promote new approaches and fresh directions in scholarship and criticism on nineteenth-century literature and culture. The series encourages work which erodes the traditional boundary between Romantic and Victorian studies and welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to the literary, religious, scientific and visual cultures of the period. While British literature and culture are the core subject matter of monographs and collections in the series,  the editors encourage proposals which explore the wider, international contexts of nineteenth-century literature – transatlantic, European and global.  Print culture, including studies in the newspaper and periodical press, book history, life writing and gender studies are particular strengths of this established series as are high quality single author studies.  The series also embraces research in the field of digital humanities. The editors invite proposals from both younger and established scholars in all areas of nineteenth-century literary studies. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature