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Gothic Romance

The Romance of the Holy Land in American Travel Writing by Brian Yothers

By Brian Yothers

This booklet is the 1st to interact with the whole diversity of yankee trip writing approximately nineteenth-century Ottoman Palestine, and the 1st to recognize the impact of the late-eighteenth-century Barbary captivity narrative on nineteenth-century shuttle writing concerning the heart East. Brian Yothers argues that American trip writing in regards to the Holy Land kinds a coherent, if vastly various, culture, which could in simple terms be absolutely understood while works via significant writers reminiscent of Twain and Melville are studied along missionary bills, captivity narratives, chronicles of non secular pilgrimages, and commute writing within the genteel tradition.Yothers additionally examines works through lesser-known authors reminiscent of Bayard Taylor, John Lloyd Stephens, and Clorinda Minor, demonstrating that American shuttle writing is marked by way of a profound intertextuality with the Hebrew and Christian scriptures and with British and continental trip narratives concerning the Holy Land. His concluding bankruptcy on Melville's Clarel indicates how Melville's poem offers an incisive critique of the nascent imperial discourse discernible within the American texts with which it really is in discussion.

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He has been a missionary in Syria and Palestine for forty years and has thus had ample opportunity to observe both the geography and the people of the Holy Land. As a result of this experience, he is able to reveal the truth about the Holy Land to a degree that is not possible for those who have had less direct experience of the land itself. He sums up both the importance of studying the Holy Land and his own qualifications as an ideal guide for those seeking to understand the relationship between the land and the book with admirable economy: The Land and the Book constitute the all-perfect text of the Word of God, and can best be studied together.

Robinson hopes to pierce the veil of Catholic and Orthodox tradition surrounding the Holy Land in order to produce a Holy Land that will provide a tangible, empirical counterpart to the infallible text of the Bible; therefore, seeing too much of the contemporary religious scene in the Holy Land is not only unhelpful, but also may be an obstacle to the “real” Holy Land that Robinson seeks. When Robinson does stop to observe the activities of the Catholic and Orthodox Christians of the Holy Land, his response is usually revulsion, as his discussion of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, identified by Catholic and Orthodox tradition as the site of Christ’s burial, shows.

What, in fact, is it which gives such supreme gratification to our pilgrimage to Jerusalem? Is it not because we find the names of Olivet, Bethany, Gethsemane, Calvary, Zion, and the like, clinging to those sacred sites and scenes with invincible tenacity, through wars and destructions absolutely without parallel? . . I more than admit that nothing can justify idolatry; but is even a little too much reverence in such a case as odious to Him in whose honor it is manifested as cold neglect or proud contempt?

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