PARADISE AND THE PERI, THOMAS MOORE. DESIGNED BY OWEN JONES. DAY AND SON, 1860. STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA – TAASA Review March 2012

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This article was originally found in the March 2012 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 21, Issue 1, Page 21).

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of Asia.’ (Edinburgh Review 29 1817: 2) The problem for Jeffrey and later critics is that the characters are too like Europeans: they are not different enough to be Indian or Persian.

But this attack ­ like those of the opposing viewpoint which complains that 19th century European literature too often portrays Muslims as fundamentally different from westerners ­ overlooks the claim central to the political allegory, that what is true of Islamic imperialism and the Islamic faith is also true of Christian imperialism and Christianity. Despite the recognisably Muslim aspects of the second episode, its recommendation of natural and simple reverence transcends the boundaries between Islam and Christianity.

Paradise and the Peri thus belongs to a minor but longstanding tradition, dating back to the 17th century, which saw Christianity and Islam as fundamentally similar...