Topicality and Representation: Islam and Muslims in two Renaissance Plays

Topicality and Representation: Islam and Muslims in two Renaissance Plays

by Hammood Khalid Obaid

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Overview

This book focuses on the importance of topical reading in understanding Islamic figures and themes, and applies this approach to two landmark Elizabethan plays: George Peele's Battle of Alcazar and William Percy's Mahomet and his Heaven. The former is the first English play to present a Moor as a major character, while the latter is the first English play to be based on Quranic material and feature the Prophet of Islam as a major character. In both plays, the book argues, topical concerns played a major role in the formation of Islamic characters and themes, rendering the term 'representation' highly debatable. The book also briefly covers other Elizabethan plays that contained Islamic elements, such as Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus and The Merchant of Venice, and Marlowe's Tamburlaine and Doctor Faustus. Topical issues covered in the work include British-Muslim relations, the Spanish Armada, Elizabethan patriotism in literature, Catholic-Protestant tensions in the late 16th century, the gynaecocracy debate, and Elizabethan alchemy and magic.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781443850605
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Publication date: 01/10/2013
Pages: 270
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Hammood Obaid received his PhD and MLitt in English Literature from Newcastle University. His work focuses on cross-cultural encounters between east and west, especially Islam and Britain. As a member of the International Tudor Symposium, he has presented and published his work in several international and local conferences and journals.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Preface x

Acknowledgements xii

Bibliographical Note xiii

General Introduction 1

1.1 Definitions 4

1.2 Existing knowledge about Islam and Muslims 9

1.3 Literature review 26

1.4 Theoretical background 30

1.5 The plays and then politico-religious background 35

Chapter 1 Promoting Muslims in George Peele's Battle of Alcazar 43

1 Introduction 44

1.1 Previous critical approaches 46

1.2 The missing link 51

2 Peele's life and works 53

2.1 Life 53

2.2 Works 55

3 The play 72

3.1 The historical incident and Peele's version of it 72

3.2 Politico-historical background 75

3.3 Sources 85

4 Alcazar as nationalistic propaganda 92

4.1 The state/religion dialectic 93

4.2 Self-definition 99

4.3 Naturalizing and exoticizing 101

4.4 Characters 105

4.5 Character epithets 131

5 Conclusion 136

Chapter 2 Reflecting the Self in William Percy's Mahomet and his Heaven 139

1 Introduction 140

1.1 Précis 141

1.2 The play's Islamic content 141

1.3 The Structure of the chapter 143

2 The Percys and the crown 145

2.1 The Eighth Earl 146

2.2 Henry and William in France 147

2.3 Father's death 148

2.4 Back in England 150

2.5 Northumberland and James VI 152

2.6 William Percy 154

3 Percy's other works 156

3.1 The Aphrodysiall or Sea Feast, 1602 157

3.2 The Faery Pastorall or the Forest of Elves, 1603 161

3.3 Other plays 163

4 Geber and the wizard earl 164

4.1 Questioning the nickname 165

4.2 Renaissance humanism and the hermetic tradition 168

4.3 The Earl's circle 171

4.4 Geber vs. Faustus 173

4.5 William Percy's Geber 179

5 Percy's Women 183

5.1 Muslim women in English imagination 183

5.2 Epimenide and Elizabeth 188

5.3 Other women 209

6 Schism and unity 213

6.1 Muslim and Christian schism 214

6.2 Calls for peace and unity 216

6.3 James and Catholic Hopes 220

6.4 Percy's allegory for peace and reconciliation 224

7 Conclusion 229

General Conclusion 231

Appendix I Sebastian's Literary Afterlife 234

Works Cited 238

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