English and American Literature
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Chair and Committee
As the first medieval text to combine the matter of the East with the matter of the Holy Land, The Travels circulated widely in over 300 manuscripts, making it an important text when studying medieval Christian attitudes toward non-Christians. Although many scholars point to The Travels as a tolerant text ahead of its time, a historicized approach reveals that Mandeville's project is better understood in terms of his intolerant universalism. I argue that in casting non-Christians as proto-Christians who stand as evidence of Christianity's global spiritual hegemony, the author appropriates and consumes them in service of his universalist agenda. I suggest that reading the text in terms of this intolerant universalism is a more productive approach to questions surrounding The Travels including Mandeville's demonization of Jews: an exception to his "generous" treatment of non-Christians), his concern for the Holy Land, and his reasons for combining the matter of the Holy Land with the matter of the East.
Patterson, Robert, "Mandeville's Intolerance: The Contest for Souls and Sacred Sites in The Travels of Sir John Mandeville" (2009). All Theses and Dissertations (ETDs). 272.