Muslim - Christian relations and the third crusade : medievalist imaginings

Bradford, Clare 2009, Muslim - Christian relations and the third crusade : medievalist imaginings, International research in children's literature, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 177-191, doi: 10.3366/E1755619809000684.

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Title Muslim - Christian relations and the third crusade : medievalist imaginings
Author(s) Bradford, ClareORCID iD for Bradford, Clare
Journal name International research in children's literature
Volume number 2
Issue number 1
Start page 177
End page 191
Total pages 15
Publisher Edinburgh University Press
Place of publication Edinburgh, Scotland
Publication date 2009-07
ISSN 1755-6198
Keyword(s) Islam
historical fiction for children
Summary This article takes as its starting-point the responsiveness of children's literature to socio-political events, considering how contemporary anxieties about relationships between Muslim and Christian individuals and cultures inform three historical novels set in the period of the Third Crusade (1189-92): Karleen Bradford's Lionheart's Scribe (1999), K. M. Grant's Blood Red Horse (2004), and Elizabeth Laird's Crusade (2008). In these novels, encounters between young Christian and Muslim protagonists are represented through language and representational modes which owe a good deal to the habits of thought and expression which typify orientalist discourses in Western fiction. In effect, the novels produce two versions of medievalism: a Muslim medieval world which is irretrievably pre-modern, locked into rigid pracices and beliefs against which individuals are powerless; and a Christian medieval world which offers individuals the possibility of progressing to an enhanced state of personal fulfilment. The article argues that the narratives of all three novels incorporate particularly telling moments when Christian protagonists return to England, regretfully leaving Muslim friends. The impossibility of  enduring friendships between Muslims and Christians is based on the novels' assumptions about the incommensurability of cultures and religions; specifically, that there exists
an unbridgeable gulf between Islam and Christianity.
Language eng
DOI 10.3366/E1755619809000684
Field of Research 200599 Literary Studies not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920120 Zoonoses
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2009, Edinburgh University Press
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