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William Beckford's -Vathek- And Edward W. Said's Concept of Orientalism

Seminar paper from the year 2014 in the subject English - Literature, Works, grade: 2,0, RWTH Aachen University (Anglistik), course: HS Gothic Novel, language: English, abstract: The purpose of this present survey is to investigate features of Edward Said's concept of Orientalism in William Beckford's -Vathek-. It intends to examine how far Beckford's novel reflects the standardization and cultural stereotyping that have helped to intensify the grasp of the imaginative demonology of the mysterious East (Said, 2003:26). Therefore I will at first present an introduction of Said's concept of Orientalism, in order to be able to distinguish features of Orientalism in Beckford's novel in the main body of my term paper. The main focus will be on: Violence and evilness, homoeroticism, sensuality and religion. The most important sources for my term paper are evidently Edward Said's book -Orientalism-, which has been first published in 1978, and William Beckford's novel -Vathek-(1786), which was originally written in French and translated into English by Reverent Samuel Henley (Khrisat, 2001: 192). Even though many scholars seem to have studied Said's notion of Orientalism in the scope of literary works, like for example Eric Meyer and Bernard Lewis, there seem to exist few researches which are merely based on Orientalism in -Vathek-. However, the most important resource for this paper is Muna Al-Alwana's survey about Orientalism in Beckford's novel, next to Jeffrey Cass's study, who has investigated -Vathek- in respect to Orientalism and Homoeroticism. The most important resource for this paper is Muna Al-Alwana's survey.
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