In her paper, "Medieval Cosmopolitanism and the Saracen-Christian Ethos," Marla Segol argues that in Floire et Blancheflor and Aucassin et Nicolette, two medieval Occitanian romances, the writers work actively to incorporate Islamic culture and its accomplishments into a hybrid communal identity. The hybrid elements of this identity are demonstrated in two ways: first, through the portrayal of mixed couples and second, through depiction of a biculturally constituted landscape and culture. Intercultural relations between the characters are dramatized through the structures of religious conversion. Each romance features a mixed couple, with one member Christian and the other, formerly Muslim but converted at some point in the narrative. In each work, the validity of Muslim lover's conversion is probed through an interrogation and a problematization of the process. As these conversions are probed, the hybrid identities of both the characters and their adoptive societies are revealed and accepted. In so doing, these works express cosmopolitan ideals that serve to distinguish Occitanians from their northern and western Christian neighbors. Much of the conflict in each work centers on negotiating an assimilable knowledge of Other within, and as such, the hybrid self.
"Medieval Cosmopolitanism and the Saracen-Christian Ethos."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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