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The Pre-Raphaelites and OrientalismLanguage and Cognition in Remediations of the East$
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Eleonora Sasso

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474407168

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474407168.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 07 March 2021

The Cognitive Process of Parable: John Ruskin, William Morris and the Oriental Lure of the Forbidden

The Cognitive Process of Parable: John Ruskin, William Morris and the Oriental Lure of the Forbidden

(p.65) Chapter 3 The Cognitive Process of Parable: John Ruskin, William Morris and the Oriental Lure of the Forbidden
The Pre-Raphaelites and Orientalism

Eleonora Sasso

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the pervasive influence of Arabian marvel tales on Ruskin’s The King of the Golden River and Sesame and Lilies (1865), as well as on Morris’s The Earthly Paradise. More similarly to Marx’s ideological Orientalism, Ruskin and Morris sympathise with people’s misery, with their material life and the Arab townsfolk, and thereby with the criminal underworld. Ruskin’s ideological Orientalism is particularly evident in his lectures and autobiography whose rhetorical language may be analysed through possible world theory, Fauconnier’s mental space analysis and Oatley and Johnson-Laird’s cognitive theory of emotions (1987). By projecting such Oriental conceptual metaphors as East is poverty and East is corruption, Ruskin aims at sensitising his readers to the perils of imperialism. Morris’s fascination with the East is first and foremost connected with the Byzantine decorative arts and carpet-making. As founder of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), he promoted a campaign against the restoration of St Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the paramount example of Arab influence on Venetian architecture. His connection with the East can be better understood, however, by investigating the Oriental love scenarios in The EarthlyParadise, whose narrative poems seem to restructure the Arabian tales of the ‘Forbidden Chamber’ cycle.

Keywords:   John Ruskin, William Morris, Ideological Orientalism, Parabolic mapping, possible world theory, imperialism, the forbidden

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