ABDULLAH & RICHARD F. BURTON: ISLAM AND OTHERNESS IN PERSONAL NARRATIVE OF A PILGRIMAGE TO AL-MADINAH & MECCAH (1855-56) Cover Image

ABDULLAH & RICHARD F. BURTON: ISLAM AND OTHERNESS IN PERSONAL NARRATIVE OF A PILGRIMAGE TO AL-MADINAH & MECCAH (1855-56)
ABDULLAH & RICHARD F. BURTON: ISLAM AND OTHERNESS IN PERSONAL NARRATIVE OF A PILGRIMAGE TO AL-MADINAH & MECCAH (1855-56)

Author(s): PAULA CAROLINA DE ANDRADE CARVALHO
Subject(s): History, Language and Literature Studies, Cultural history, Studies of Literature
Published by: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti
Keywords: Richard Francis Burton; Islam; Pilgrimage; Travel Literature; Identity;

Summary/Abstract: This is a study about identities, relationships to the “Other,” and the questioning of the concept of difference. At its core are two figures, which are ultimately one and the same. The source is the Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah & Meccah (1855-56), by British explorer Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890). By donning the guise of the Muslim Shaykh Abdullah, Burton was able to undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca, the hajj, a sacred ritual in Islam in which non-Muslims are forbidden to take part. This is thus a study of the representation of the Muslim “Other” – or, rather, of the representation of oneself as the “Other.” It is argued that the narrative presents a tension between two narrators, Burton (the book is written in first person) and Abdullah (generally referred to in the third person). Abdullah emerges as a disruptive presence in the narrative, destabilizing assumptions as to where protagonism lies. This study reflects on the nature of Abdullah’s relationship to Burton and analyzes how he is perceived by other characters, Muslim and non- Muslim; just as the nature of identity is neither fixed nor impermeable, the character shifts and evolves over the course of the work.

  • Issue Year: XVIII/2018
  • Issue No: 18
  • Page Range: 35-44
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: English, Arabic