The Holy Land in English Culture 1799-1917

The Holy Land in English Culture 1799-1917 : Palestine and the Question of Orientalism

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The dream of building Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land has long been a quintessential part of English identity and culture: but how did this vision shape the Victorian encounter with the actual Jerusalem in the Middle East?

The Holy Land in English Culture 1799-1917 offers a new cultural history of the English fascination with Palestine in the long nineteenth century, from Napoleon's failed Mediterranean campaign of 1799, which marked a new era in the British involvement in the land, to Allenby's conquest of Jerusalem in 1917. Bar-Yosef argues that the Protestant tradition of internalizing Biblical vocabulary - 'Promised Land', 'Chosen People', 'Jerusalem' - and applying it to different, often contesting,
visions of England and Englishness evoked a unique sense of ambivalence towards the imperial desire to possess the Holy Land. Popular religious culture, in other words, was crucial to the construction of the orientalist discourse: so crucial, in fact, that metaphorical appropriations of the 'Holy Land'
played a much more dominant role in the English cultural imagination than the actual Holy Land itself.

As it traces the diversity of 'Holy Lands' in the Victorian cultural landscape - literal and metaphorical, secular and sacred, radical and patriotic, visual and textual - this study joins the ongoing debate about the dissemination of imperial ideology. Drawing on a wide array of sources, from Sunday-school textbooks and popular exhibitions to penny magazines and soldiers' diaries, the book demonstrates how the Orientalist discourse functions - or, to be more precise, malfunctions - in those
popular cultural spheres that are so markedly absent from Edward Said's work: it is only by exploring sources that go beyond the highbrow, the academic, or the official, that we can begin to grasp the limited currency of the orientalist discourse in the metropolitan centre, and the different meanings it
could hold for different social groups. As such, The Holy Land in English Culture 1799-1917 provides a significant contribution to both postcolonial studies and English social history.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 334 pages
  • 145 x 223 x 22mm | 590g
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 0199261164
  • 9780199261161

Table of contents

Introduction: Holy Lands ; 1. Christian walks to Jerusalem: English Protestant culture and the emergence of vernacular Orientalism ; 2. The Land and the books: High Anglo-Palestine Orientalism and its limits ; 3. Popular Palestine: The Holy Land as printed image, spectacle, and commodity ; 4. Eccentric Zion: Victorian culture and the Jewish restoration to Palestine ; 5. Homesick crusaders: Propaganda and troop morale in the Palestine campaign, 1917-18 ; Epilogue: The Holy Places revisited
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Review quote

Eitan Bar-Yosef's pioneering and theoretically sophisticated monograph is likely to acquire the status of a foundational work...His book provides a fine example of the ways in which literary scholars can enrich our understanding of cultural history. It deserves to find an audience beyond the natural readership of the Oxford English Monographs series in which it appears. * English Historical Review * ...this absorbing study * Contemporary Review * ...well-researched and convincing study...makes several significant contributions... * The Review of English Studies, Vol. 57, No. 232 * extremely well researched and convincingly argued study * Axel Stahler, Wasafiri *
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About Eitan Bar-Yosef

Eitan Bar-Yosef is a Lecturer in the Department of Foreign Literatures and Linguistics at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.
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