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Geographies of Contact

Caroline Lehni
Fanny Moghaddassi
Hélène Ibata
et al.

I. Scripting the Orient

Staging English Contacts with the Middle East in Mandeville’s Travels

Fanny Moghaddassi

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First written in the mid-fourteenth century, in 1356 or 1357, Mandeville’s Travels or The Book of John Mandeville, though originally couched in French, claims to be the work of an English knight, named Sir John Mandeville, who left St Albans in England on St Michael’s day in 1322 (both the prologue and the epilogue of the book refer to this date), and returned home 34 years later (epilogue), after having travelled the world and seen “manye diverse londes and many prouynces and kyngdomes and iles”.1 Falling into two main parts, the text combines a guide book to the Holy Land and the Middle East with a description of the marvels of the Far East. A compilation of various medieval encyclopaedias and travelogues, it proved not only a famous narrative, but a widely read book and a great favourite among those, in the British Isles, who were interested in descriptions of the world, more particularly in the Middle East from the time of its composition to the 19th century.

Early readers turned...


Senior lecturer at the University of Strasbourg. She specialises in late medieval English literature, focusing on travel literature and literary representations of space. In 2010, she published Géographies du monde, géographies de l’âme, Le voyage dans la littérature anglaise de la fin du Moyen Age. Devoted to the theme of travelling, the book considers different medieval genres, including visions of the otherworld, romance, and travelogues. Fanny Moghaddassi has recently published various essays on Mandeville’s Travels, as well as research on other late medieval texts, including Middle English Breton Lays.

© Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 2017

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