Some medievalists use “medieval Orientalism” to address critiques of Edward Said's engagement with the Middle Ages in Orientalism. However, the author of this article argues that “medieval Orientalism” entrenches a divide between the Middle Ages and other time periods, which sequesters medieval objects of study from contributing to the ongoing theorization of critical frameworks. The article analyzes a thirteenth-century Old French text, Les enfances Renier, to demonstrate how a medieval text depicts ambivalence in the face of alterity, a hallmark of recent post-Saidian engagement with Orientalism. The author argues that the nuances and complexities of medieval representations of interfaith encounter contribute to theories of Orientalism.

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