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The Demarcation Zone: The Victorian Search for a Global Past

Daud, Sumayyah. The Demarcation Zone: The Victorian Search for a Global Past. 2020. University of Washington, PhD dissertation.

This project interrogates the contextual history of Arabian Nights as well as the ways in which Nights and many other Arabic-language texts being translated during the nineteenth-century were in fact contemporaneous with the Anglophone and European medieval texts being translated during the 'medieval revival' and how the Oriental and domestic were in conversation to create a larger, global cultural imaginary within which to situate the British Empire. Much work has been done on the reception history of Arabian Nights, its eighteenth- and nineteenth-century context and its effects on the shifting literary landscape of its time and the imagined Orient. Despite the separation of Orientalism and the medieval revival, this project contends that in many ways medievalism and Orientalism are in collusion both with each other as separate spheres and with the Imperial-Nationalist project and that they both worked to produce specific ideas about non-Western history, religion, and the East’s ‘crumbling past’ even as they built up the romanticized medieval history through tales and adaptations of a British past.

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