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Arabian Mirrors and Western Soothsayers

Nineteenth-Century Literary Approaches to Arab-Islamic History

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Muhammed A. Al-Da'mi

The value of Arab-Islamic history in Western thought has undergone many vicissitudes, but it is now greater than ever. This book investigates the intellectual motives and compulsions that hide behind the nineteenth-century British and American elite’s invocation of this history. The touchstones are many – the prophet, the Caliphate, the conquests, and Muslim Spain to mention a few. Al-Da’mi discusses such issues in an attempt not only to show their relevance to domestic problems, but also to trace the roots of an idea and to forecast future crises and dialogues. The book’s finale demonstrates the unbridgeable gap between Eastern and Western approaches to the Islamic past.