The Ghost of Achilles


Luke Strongman
Independent Researcher, MRSNZ, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

Series: Focus on Civilizations and Cultures
BISAC: HIS002000

This book concerns the retracing of the steps of the colonial project beyond the binary oppositions and Manichean divisions of master and slave, colonizer and colonized, Christian and infidel, to the nexus of the colonial exchange – civilization and savagery. This book examines prominent Christian and Muslim texts on alterity from accounts of the Alexandrian library to Derek Walcott’s Omeros, to Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlain. Through a broad anthro-literary re-reading of historical sources and Elizabethan, colonial, and modern fiction and art, the argument is made about the basis of encounter, trade and exchange amongst different nations, tribes and selves of the old and new worlds, which precipitated the international world era before globalization. It was not the apparent differences in race, class, religion and belief, nor was it strictly due to the access to a single paradigm of technology, which brought about geo-political hegemony. Rather, the argument becomes valid through the opposition between civilization and savagery. The basic differences are in what people do, the actions they perform, and the attitudes they strike, not in what people think of themselves. (Imprint: Nova)


Table of Contents


Civilization and Savagery

Part I. The Desert

Chapter 1. A ‘Perpetual Sunrise’: The Alexandrian Library

Chapter 2. ‘Let Rome in Tiber melt’: William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra

Chapter 3. ‘Then, oh! Unbar this churlish gate’: The Crusades

Chapter 4. ‘And wrote my will across the sky in stars’: T. E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

Chapter 5. ‘ . . . a Talking Bird, a Singing Tree, and some Golden Water . . .’: The Arabian Nights

Part II. The Sea

Chapter 6. ‘Every life was a spark’: Derek Walcott’s Omeros

Chapter 7. ‘Our faithful guide through all the vicissitudes of climates’: Polynesian Navigation.

Chapter 8. ‘A brutal innocence’: Gauguin and Primitivism

Part III. The Land

Chapter 9. ‘Meet heaven and earth, and here let all things end!’: Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine

Chapter 10. ‘A dream within a dream’: Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses

Chapter 11. The ‘History House’: Arundhati Roy’s, The God of Small Things.

Chapter 12. A ‘tear on the cheek of time’: The Taj Mahal at Agra.

The Citadel


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