Chapter

Western Identities and the Orient

Andrew Lincoln

in Walter Scott and Modernity

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780748626069
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651870 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748626069.003.0004
Western Identities and the Orient

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This chapter studies two novels where the supposed superiority of the western observer is both represented and tested in relation to oriental ‘others’. It begins with a section on Guy Mannering, with which Scott turned to a story that permitted him to reflect more on the material and cultural changes included in the modernisation process. The chapter determines that this work can be viewed as an attempt to investigate and manage a crisis of identity engendered by the experience of empire. The two heroes in the fiction are used to represent the various aspects of a divided Anglo-British identity. The Talisman, on the other hand, represents medieval European civilisation in relation to an Islamic civilisation. Here Scott addresses the enlightenment critique of the crusades, the repressive Christian ideology and the issue of slavery.

Keywords: western observer; superiority; oriental others; Guy Mannering; modernisation; crisis of identity; experience of empire; enlightenment critique; Christian ideology; slavery

Chapter.  14411 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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