This wide-ranging monograph centers on the idea of Babylon in European culture, focusing particularly on the representation of that city—and its associated web of cultural contexts—in Western European literature. The scope of this project makes it a useful point of reference for those who want an overview of Babylon’s depiction in literary history. Clearly, a single monograph cannot do justice to the historical, literary, and cinematic sources from antiquity to the twenty-first century. Andrew Scheil’s “selective study” (11) is not a diachronic history of the representation of Babylon but a carefully curated account of allusions to and reinventions of the concept over a long period of time. The book is strongest in the survey of ancient and medieval texts, especially those in Old English and Latin, as well as in the fascinating analysis of early science fiction of the nineteenth century, along...
Babylon under Western Eyes: A Study of Allusion and Myth
Suzanne Conklin Akbari is professor of English and medieval studies at the University of Toronto. Her books include Seeing through the Veil: Optical Theory and Medieval Allegory (2004); Marco Polo and the Encounter of East and West (2008), edited with Amilcare Iannucci; Idols in the East: European Representations of Islam and the Orient, 1100–1450 (2009); and A Sea of Languages: Rethinking the Arabic Role in Medieval Literary History (2013), edited with Karla Mallette. Akbari is a coeditor of The Norton Anthology of World Literature.
Suzanne Conklin Akbari; Babylon under Western Eyes: A Study of Allusion and Myth. Modern Language Quarterly 1 March 2018; 79 (1): 115–116. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-4264338
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