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See detailAssyria in Early Modern Historiography
Sarha, Jennifer UL

in Grogan, Jane (Ed.) Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient <near East in Early Modern Europe (2020)

This article provides a starting point for the understudied pre-nineteenth-century reception of Assyria. In early modern Europe, knowledge about ancient Assyria was mainly derived from a small pool of ... [more ▼]

This article provides a starting point for the understudied pre-nineteenth-century reception of Assyria. In early modern Europe, knowledge about ancient Assyria was mainly derived from a small pool of classical authors; an entirely textual tradition, centred around the figures of Semiramis and Sardanapalus, which was transmitted through strict repetition in late medieval and early modern history writing. The narrow scope and repetitive nature of this tradition raise questions for historiography – what kind of historical knowledge can be produced from such limited sources? And, crucially, what notions about Assyria can emerge here? By examining the treatment of Semiramis and Sardanapalus in three geographically and chronologically diverse case-studies (Giovanni Boccaccio, Johannes Carion and Philip Melanchthon, and Walter Ralegh), this article sheds light on the negotiations between received practices and historiographical trends, the influence of moral imperatives and gendered logic, and establishes the longevity and pan-European spread of the historiographical tradition on Assyria. [less ▲]

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See detail‘The Sultan’s self shan’t carry me’: Negotiations of harem fantasies in Byron’s Don Juan
Sarha, Jennifer UL

in Romanticism on the Net (2009), 56

Lord Byron’s Don Juan is a poem which depends on gendered literary traditions for both its originality and its intelligibility. In the harem episode of cantos V and VI, we can recognise a libertine ... [more ▼]

Lord Byron’s Don Juan is a poem which depends on gendered literary traditions for both its originality and its intelligibility. In the harem episode of cantos V and VI, we can recognise a libertine fantasy, an Orientalist premise, and a picaresque adventure, but also some traces of epic, the gothic and literature of sensibility. Yet, these tropes are consistently complicated in the poem and used to undermine the gendered foundations of their traditions. This essay considers the formulation of such subversions through explicitly literary paradigms: what signs of gender are referred to, and how are they made intelligible as fictional constructs? By interrogating the use of gendered tropes, their formation as intelligible concepts within literary history, and their negotiations with sexualised conventions of narrative, I intend to highlight the discrepancies in the heteronormative construction of these literary paradigms and Byron’s use of them to suggest sexual fluidity. [less ▲]

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