Friday, April 16, 2010

A History of Medieval Islam

A History of Medieval Islam

Dr. Johnson, commenting in one of the Ramblers on the oblivion which overtook Richard Knolles’ Generall Historie of the Turkes (1603), despite its literary merits, explained this neglect on the ground that the author ‘employed his genius upon a foreign and uninteresting subject’ and recounted ‘enterprises and revolutions of which none desire to be informed.’ Indifference to Oriental history among the educated public of the West still exists, but is diminishing, and more ‘desire to be informed’ of the relations between Europe and Islam throughout the ages. Such recent works as Dr. Norman Daniel’s Islam and the West (1960) and Professor R.W. Southern’s Western Views of Islam in the Middle Ages (1962) provide striking evidence of the wider perspectives now being opened up, and as our historians cease to be Europe-centred and devote more attention to the nature and evolution of non-European societies, we may expect the history of the Muslim East to be studied with increasingly critical care.



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