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Department of the Study of Religions

Ms Elizabeth Munro

BA (WARWICK), MA (SOAS)

Overview

Elizabeth Munro
Name:
Ms Elizabeth Munro
Email address:
Thesis title:
‘The dusky hordes that swarmed’: Exposing the (mis)representation of Muslims and Islamic Religious Practice in the English Charlemagne Romance Cycle and the Petronivs Redivivvs, stories VII and VIII, from the Analecta Dvblinensia.
Internal Supervisors

External Supervisors

Prof. Charles Burnett (The Warburg Institute)

PhD Research

My research compares the representation of Muslims and Islamic Religious Practice in the English Charlemagne Romance Cycle and the Petronivs Redivivvs, stories VII and VIII, from the Analecta Dvblinensia.   

My comparison of these texts is focused across four key areas: conversion, sexuality, eschatology and violence.  In each of these sections I explore specific literary examples selected from a range Charlemagne Romances and the Petronius Redivivvs, stories VII and VIII, and ‘test’ what is accurately Islamic about the Saracen characters that are portrayed by considering, firstly, whether or not aspects of Islamic Religious Practice are present.  And, secondly, if elements of Islamic Religious Practice are present, how has Islamic Religious Practice been represented and what could these representations mean – for example, can the representations of practising Muslims be interpreted positively or negatively?  Does our interpretation change according to the gender and status of the Muslim character?  Can the representation of Muslims in the English Charlemagne Romances and/or the Petronius Redivivvs be interpreted alongside the representation of Muslims in other contemporary sources?

Where Islamic Religious Practice is absent from the texts I try to ascertain why this might be the case.  For example, is the absence of Islam a deliberate act of manipulation or an example of religious ignorance?  Does presenting a Muslim character in a deliberately un-Islamic way influence our interpretation of Christianity in the texts?  

Furthermore, in dealing with these texts I have explored their background in specific detail; including the relevant aspects of their publication history, the manuscript contexts of these works and a detailed literature review of their secondary criticism.  Alongside my study of literature, I have also written about the history of Islam in England, explaining how knowledge of Islam reached England, how such knowledge was first interpreted and subsequently how interpretations of Islam evolved in medieval England.

PhD Publications

  • ‘The English Charlemagne Romances: Representations of Islam in Medieval English Literature’, The Middle East in London, Vol. 6, No. 9 (2010), London: The London Middle East Institute. (pp.10-11)

Affiliations

  • Teach First

Research

Religious and devotional literature from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries in Middle English and Latin, religious and courtly allegory, comparative religions and literature, Islam, social identity theory.