IMC 2017: Sessions

Session 823: Perceptions of Other Religions, IV: Good and Bad Saracens

Tuesday 4 July 2017, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Krisztina Szilágyi, Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge
Paper 823-aThe Good Saracen in Le Bone Florence of Rome
(Language: English)
Jonathan Stavsky, Department of English & American Studies, Tel Aviv University
Index terms: Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - Middle English
Paper 823-b'Biaus Ami': The Expression of Respect and Affection between Christian and Saracen Other in the Chansons de Geste
(Language: English)
Marianne J. Ailes, Department of French, University of Bristol
Index terms: Crusades, Language and Literature - French or Occitan
Abstract

Paper -a:
Like its better-known analogue, Chaucer’s Man of Law’s Tale, the Middle English romance Le Bone Florence of Rome locates the story of its tried heroine within a larger political framework of international warfare. Unlike the Man of Law’s Tale and most continental versions of Florence, it refrains from positioning this struggle for domination between two opposing superpowers as one between Christianity and its Others. A comparative study indicates that Le Bone Florence of Rome is fairly consistent in replacing the religious chauvinism that informs related narratives with a focus on individual ethics, which acknowledges that good and evil are found among members of all faiths.

Paper -b:
The Old French chansons de geste, many of which are set in a crusading context, are not known for an attitude of tolerance or respect between Christian and Saracen Other, but the genre is far from homogenous in its approach. This paper will explore expressions of affection and evidence of respect between Christian and Saracen knights, discussing to what degree this can be considered a kind of tolerance. The texts analysed will include the 12th-century Aspremont and the different versions of the legend of Ogier the Dane.