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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter begins by showing how Sir William Jones used ‘Eastern’ poetry as a means of regenerating English literary culture and expanding its range, exemplified by his role in mediating Hindu mythology for his readers. While works by Coleridge, Shelley, and others responded to this stimulus, a tradition of allegorical verse romance pioneered by Landor used Eastern settings to reflect on the politics of the revolutionary era. Southey’s Thalaba the Destroyer extends the Jonesian project by confronting readers with ‘significant otherness’, while his later poem Roderick, the Last of the Goths dramatizes instead the purging of foreign contamination. The chapter juxtaposes Roderick with Byron’s The Giaour and examines Moore’s Lalla Rookh as a literary pastiche offering readers access to an appealing exotic East. It concludes with Walter Scott’s representation of his heroine Rebecca in Ivanhoe as a retrospect on Orientalism and Hebraism in the Romantic period.

Keywords: exoticism, ornament, allegory, empire, novelty, mythology, civilization, otherness, knowledge

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