The Dragon and the Crescent
"This is a fully annotated work of scholarship as well as an always readable, sometimes exciting book that opens out a previously neglected aspect of Welsh - and British - culture over more than 400 pages" - Steve Dube, Western Mail
In the early twenty-first century, the relationship between the West and Islam has, due to recent political events, become the subject of intense study, curiosity and tension. But to understand contemporary anxieties, we need to trace their historical roots. The Dragon and the Crescent does this for one small European nation, revealing for the first time, the full and surprising story of the Welsh relationship with Islam.
This extensive study has gathered 200 extracts from a huge range of Welsh literature over a 900-year period. It contains the literary testimonies of Welsh Crusaders, of soldiers and seafarers, of missionaries and merchants, explorers and exploiters, pious pilgrims and hedonistic pleasure-seekers.
Ranging from Gerald of Wales's recruiting tour for the Crusades in 1188, up to recent controversy of the Muhammad cartoon, The Dragon and the Crescent is a fascinating and thought-provoking collections drawn from diaries, journals, dramas, travelogues, novels and poetry. It explores writing from both the languages of Wales by authors including Ann Griffiths, T Gwynn Jones, Cynan, T.E Lawrence, David Lloyd George, Gwenallt Richard Llewellyn, Anthony Burgess, Alun Lewis, Alun Richards, Nigel Jenkins, Williams Owen Roberts, Peter Finch, Robert Minhinnick, Gwyneth Lewis and Horatio Clare.
Graham Davies's informative and acute analysis opens up a whole new field of study, revealing the huge Muslim influence on Wales, and the equally momentous Welsh influence on Islamic lands. It examines responses to the growth of Islam in contemporary Wales, casting a new light on Welsh relations with minority communities, and challenging myths of Welsh tolerance. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in intercultural and interfaith relations.
This fascinating and at times unexpected view of Welsh, British and Islamic history is a hugely significant work for contemporary Britain.