Casting a “Sideways Glance” at the Crusades: The Voice of the Other in Joinville's Vie de Saint Louis
Author: Khanmohamadi, Shirin
Source: Exemplaria, Volume 22, Number 3, Fall 2010 , pp. 177-199(23)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:This article finds in Joinville's late crusading narrative, the Vie de Saint Louis, evidence of past and continuing dialogues and a community of understanding between putative enemies in a theater of war. I argue that the text's mutually derived, Franco-Islamic references and syncretic customs attest to the everyday cross-fertilization and dialogue that took place in the medieval contact zone of Outre-mer irrespective of official crusading ideology emerging from Europe. I then turn to examining closely some of the Vie's many inter-confessional dialogues, showing how the cited Muslim voices of these dialogues reorient meaning within their linguistic environment, casting what Bakhtin called an unofficial “sideways glance” upon what would otherwise be monologic, Latin-Christian discourse. These unofficial, textual sideways glances both open up alternative perspectives within the Vie, and effectively cast an alternative image of the crusading endeavor itself, one in which Muslim and Christian values are mirrored in each other.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Assistant Professor of Comparative and World Literature at San Francisco State University
Publication date: 2010-09-01