The CMES Director's Series presents
Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Sana'a University, Yemen
Dr. Sharafuddin is the author of Islam and Romantic Orientalism (IB Tauris) and a number of research papers on topics relating to English literature, religion and history. He has taught at a number of universities in the USA, Kuwait and Yemen.
The end of the 18th century was a time of great political and theological upheavals in Europe. It coincided with an unusually genuine interest in oriental cultures particularly that of Islam. Because of the strong connection between politics and religion, European writers, especially those of Britain, began exploring for points of commonalities in other world literature to guide them in addressing themes relating to their age. One of these themes was that of the apocalypse in its religious and political dimensions. There were reasons that motivated this interest. The spirit of the age was characterized by frustration in the political and religious situations of the time. It coincided with a growing popularity in Arabic and Islamic customs and beliefs, which turned into a popular vogue during the last decade of the 18th century. One of the early pioneers of British Orientalism, Robert Southey (1779-1839), wrote several narratives based on Oriental materials through which he said he wanted to bring about “the regeneration of the whole of Europe.” Southey was referring to the moral and spiritual aspects of the apocalypse. His example left a great impact on many writers who came after him. The practice has turned into a popular genre dealing with the apocalypse in our age as well.
Contact: Liz Flanagan