It is surprising, at this point in the story of the rich and strange rediscovery of a text so important to French and English literary and social history, that no collection of scholarly essays related to Mandeville's Travels yet exists in English or French. This book is a collection of essays by scholars in England and France, who produce a complex and sometimes contradictory view of Mandeville's book as an important object of early modern attention, as well as a feature of early modern literary context. The chapters range in emphasis from textual and bibliographic studies of Mandeville's late medieval and early modern Nachleben to studies of 'Mandevillian ideologies', to readings of romances and especially theatrical productions, illuminated by understandings of the new life in print of the Travels and its excerpted account of the Levant. Part I of the book makes clear that there were profound changes in motives for publication, anthologisation and readerly reception of the text(s) from the time of the incunabula, through its use by explorers Columbus, Frobisher and Ralegh, to its appearance as a children's book in the Enlightenment. These changes underscore alterations of economies and geographical experience in the mostly post-medieval 'Age of Discovery'. Part II is on Mandevillian ideologies and examines the Nachleben of the Travels through a historical discourse on the Turks and Islam in early modern England, development and geography of scripture. Part III is on Mandevillian and focuses on the drama of the newly invented medium of the commercial theatre.
In the search for Sir John
Mandeville that occupies Giles Milton’s The Riddle and the
Knight (1996), Milton relates a meeting he has with the
Mufti of Northern Cyprus, Ahmed Djemal. After some discussion
through an interpreter about Islam in Cyprus, tourism and extremism,
they turn to the text of The Travels . Milton continues
us into the medieval period. It seems that medieval Islam had similar notions of the ‘theological fool’ as found in Psalms 13 and 52, as someone who ignores if not denies God. From a collection of characters called ‘wise fools’ by al-Naysâbûri (d. 1016), entitled Kitâb ‘Uqalâ’ al-majânîn , Dols listed a number of words used in Arabic to connote ‘folly’ in the widest sense, which are worth quoting here, since they demonstrate that medieval Islamic thought, like its Christian counterpart, had a range of differential terms for conditions that can loosely be equated
may be helpful to draw a clear distinction between racism and xenophobia. Racism is here understood as a form of prejudice expressed specifically against a minority group identified by colour and/or the practice of a non-Christian religion (specifically, in the instances discussed in this book, Judaism and Islam). Xenophobia, on the other hand – which literally means the fear of the foreign – may be defined as the suspicion or hatred of people of the same race and creed as the host community (for present purposes, ‘European’ Christians) but having a recognisably
cognitively impaired later in life. This range of medieval terminological richness sits uneasily with previous authors’ fusing together of such terms under the heading ‘madness’ or ‘mental disability’.
Antecedents and comparisons: Judaic and Islamic law
For the social position of the mentally incapacitated in Judaic society, one may turn to the Mishnah, the collection of oral law developed over some seven hundred years on the basis of the Old Testament: the most disabling conditions in rabbinic culture ‘were those which
1290, there was never any such ban on the presence of the people who the contemporary sources usually call ‘Saracens’: that is, Muslims from the Middle East, North Africa and Iberia. Much of the scholarship on Saracens focuses on the literary and art-historical representation of Islam and its followers in later medieval England, and generally tends to treat the group in the same way as the Jews: that is, as an absent ‘other’, and thereby all the more susceptible to imaginative flights of fancy. The relationship between the Christian and the Saracen as exemplified in
three cells of the brain with the function of the spatial arrangement of the classical law courts was made by a twelfth-century anatomical text, the Anatomia Nicolai Physici , ‘derived from an Islamic synthesis of Nemesius and Poseidonus with Greek humoral and pneumatic physiology’. 46 The interplay between legal and medical, or even the forensic character of physiological description, is what is striking enough to warrant citation in full:
On the account of the three divisions of the brain the ancient philosophers called it the temple of
characterisations of contemporary Islam as being
somehow ‘medieval’. These slippages appear to threaten the cultural
authority of the academy, but its attempts to police its borders have by
and large been doomed to failure. We suggest that there is a structural
dialectic in conceptions about the medieval past and its relation to the
present: a dialectic that has the effect of drawing us in, affectively
(Limoges, 2004), pp. 287–318; Ph. Depreux, ‘Les Carolingiens et le serment’, in M.-F. Auzépy and G. Saint-Guillain, eds, Oralité et lien social au Moyen Âge: Occident, Byzance, Islam: parole donnée, foi jurée, serment (Paris, 2008), pp. 63–80, at 77.
45 See Expositiones ad Carolum regem , PL 125, col. 1060; De officiis episcoporum , PL 125, col. 1088; Epistola XV, PL 126, col. 96; Epistola XIX, PL 126, cols 111, 112; De divortio , Responsio 6, p. 158, Responsio 10, p. 171, Responsio 12, p. 187, Responsio 17, p. 216
. Commencing with a glance at the antecedents in and comparisons with Judaic, Islamic and Roman law, one discovers a particularly rich source in the Old Irish legal texts; this is followed by medieval English laws, with particular reference to thirteenth-century sources such as the Prerogativa Regis and the writings of four more or less contemporary jurists (Bracton, Fleta , the Mirror of Justices , Britton), and German and French examples. The question of whether a legal case related to mental illness or ID is analysed, which may also be considered in relation to a