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The Middle Ages as Genealogy, or, the White Orient

  • John M. Ganim
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

This chapter describes a peculiar tributary in the stream of discourse linking the Medieval with the Oriental. With the rise of humanism, skepticism arises about the legend of the Trojan foundation of Britain, as recounted in Geoffrey of Monmouth. With the rise of parliamentary debates, uneasiness about the aristocratic apology implicit in the linking of chivalry with Trojan origins, and with Geoffrey’s account of royal lineage also grows. The result is a displacement, and sometimes an overlay, of the legend of the Brut with older Biblical schemes that the Brut legend was itself originally designed to replace. Yet the association between the origin of culture and an ultimately Eastern source remains strong even in this alternate history, even as the trappings and institutions of medieval political thought, religion, and aesthetics were up for debate. In this new, if equally esoteric, Early Modern version of the British past, the importance of the Middle Ages is reduced to a medium for primal institutions and beliefs that had been imported from elsewhere.

Keywords

British Isle Paradise Lost Semitic Language British History Racial Resentment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© John M. Ganim 2008

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  • John M. Ganim

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