UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

L’image de l’Asie Mineure et des Turcs dans les textes narratifs du Moyen Âge français (XIIe-milieu du XVe siècle) Lushchenko, Marina


This study explores the medieval French perceptions of Turkish Asia Minor and the Turks in the time period between 1096 and 1453. Unlike medieval representations of other Eastern nations, very little research has been done on those of the Turks. Focusing on a variety of medieval French texts within a variety of genres, this research argues that the collective perception of the Turks results from medieval authors’ subjective interpretations, based more on cultural values and ideologies of European feudal society, memories of classical Antiquity and Christian traditions than on factual reality. Using as a point of reference the cultural approach and the works of Edward S. Said, Jacques Le Goff and Georges Duby, it is shown that the Turkish ‘Other’ is pre-eminently a product of Western imagination. The first chapter centres on the ambivalence of medieval geographical descriptions of Asia Minor, in which its portrayal as a land of evil blends with reminiscences of the classical and Christian past. The second chapter investigates the medieval French conceptions of the Turks’ origins, identity and history through the prism of literary traditions, historiographical considerations and political factors. The third chapter concentrates on the formation and various uses of the enemy image of the Turk in the medieval West. The last chapter shows how conformity or non-conformity of Turkish cultural practices to the system of Western feudal values influenced the genesis of negative but also positive perceptions of the Turks in the medieval West.

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