Samuel Johnson’s Attitude Toward Islam: A Study of His Oriental Readings and Writings

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This volume is the first to juxtapose pre-existing texts with Samuel Johnson’s portrayal of the Orient, particularly Islam and Arab culture. Nassir asserts that Johnson’s observations of Islam in both his writings and conversations prove that he did not look at it objectively and was highly biased against Islam and Arab culture in his assessment. The book seeks to furnish the students of eighteenth century English literature, Johnsonian scholars, and orientalists with useful observations of his orientalism as a whole in light of Johnson’s life, personality, and period in which he wrote.


“[This work] leads the student of Johnson beyond the familiar route to Johnson and morality. It looks at Johnson through the lens of that culture and offers a reassessment of Johnson, his moral position, and eighteenth-century perceptions of Islamic culture.” – Prof. Myron Yeager, Chapman University

“[The author] balances a frustration with Western bias with a measured assessment of what could be known at the time.” – Prof. Timothy Erwin, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Table of Contents

Foreword by Professor M. Yeager



1.Representations of the Orient before Samuel Johnson

2.Samuel Johnson’s Oriental Reading

3.Samuel Johnson and His Attitude toward Islam

4.Irene: Islam Is a Menace, not “An Object of Curiosity”

5.The Perception of the Orient in Rasselas

6. Johnson’s Orientalism in the Short Oriental Tales in the Rambler and Idler



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