Lawrence of Arabia-the Influences


The course deals with the culture and history of the Middle East and its relationship with the West through the travel narratives of British people who travelled to the Middle East Lawrence of Arabia and the British in the Middle East
Out of the swirling sands of Lawrence of Arabia the Englishman clad in Arab robes rides into battle leading the Bedouin tribes against their Turkish enemies. An iconic image but it needed a century of British involvement in the Middle East before it could become a “reality”. This course focuses on British travellers to the Middle East who were important
in the 19th and early 20th centuries and whose works influenced Lawrence. Those to be discussed include: Sir Richard Burton who enjoyed “the dear delights of fraud” and who depicted the Bedouin tribes as noble warriors; the poet and nationalist Wilfrid Scawen Blunt who first dreamed of an independent Arab nation which become an ally of Britain; C.M. Doughty who was the first to live with the Bedouin and Gertrude Bell who was one of the women to play an important role in Middle Eastern imperial policies. The importance of Byron and the Romantics in defining the East for the West will also be discussed.

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