Editors: George W. Tuma, Professor of English, and Dinah Hazell, Independent Scholar
Hosted by the English Department, San Francisco State University


Emaré’s Fabulous Robe:

The Ambiguity of Power in a Late Medieval Romance1

Christine Li-ju Tsai


Emaré belongs to the "Constance saga," "of which twenty-three literary and more than forty popular versions have been listed" (Loomis 23) throughout medieval Europe, including Chaucer’s Man of Law’s Tale. Although the author categorises Emaré as a "Brytayne lay" (Breton lay; 1030), critics find this problematic due to the poem’s "numerous conventionalisms in which the romances, especially those written in the tail-rhyme stanzas abound" (Rickert 33), and they usually class it "with the romances because of its romantic embellishment of the legendary material, and because of its style which proves a close relationship between this poem and the tail-rhyme romances" (Mehl 135), as has been maintained by Gibbs (37), and Loomis (25).

The story begins with a widowed emperor who has an only daughter: the beautiful, talented, and courteous Emaré. He is visited by the King of Cesyle, Sir Tergaunt, who presents him with a fabulous cloth. After Tergaunt leaves, the emperor immediately transforms the cloth into a robe for Emaré, demanding incestuous marriage and successfully acquiring the Pope’s bull, only to be protested by her. He then swears that she should suffer death, exiling her to sea without granting any funds or sustenance. Fortunately, Emaré is rescued and married to the King of Galys, but she is soon falsely accused by her mother-in-law of giving birth to a devil when her husband is away at war against the Saracens. Falsified letters by the mother-in-law are presented as those of her son, commanding Emaré’s and her newborn son’s exile. However, she is rescued and sustained by a merchant couple in Rome. After her son reaches the age of seven, her husband comes to repent to the Pope for wronging Emaré. By coincidence, Emaré’s husband is accommodated by the same Roman merchant, and through Emaré’s strategic instructions to her agent, her son, Segremore, their reunion is facilitated. In the meantime, the emperor also comes to the Pope for the sake of his sin, wishing to seek absolution and an afterlife in heaven. Emaré advises her husband to acquaint himself with the emperor, and uses similar tactics to reunite her with her father through Segremore. Soon after, Segremore succeeds the emperor, whereby ends the story.

One extremely intriguing point of the romance is the ekphrasis2 of the cloth (121-69), the gift from Sir Tergaunt to the widowed emperor. In all, the poet devotes ninety-eight lines to an account of the cloth, noting its origin and especially the imagery, in its four corners. The poet’s lengthy description rightly suggests the cloth’s significance and makes it the focus of most present-day criticism.3 However, previous scholarship has overlooked the role of this particular cloth, given as a gift, as the embodiment of issues concerning the disruption of normal family relations. This article explores the social and psychological dimensions of the gift itself and the anthropological perspective of the gift-giving in Emaré, interpreting the ambiguity of the cloth-gift in the context of the commonly perceived nature of the gift-giver Tergaunt as an agent of supernatural malice toward humans. It investigates the domestic and political implications of both, attempting to gain insight into the response to this act of apparent largesse of its contemporary audience.

In the first instance, it is noteworthy that the name Tergaunt is believed by most commentators to be a derivation of Termaga(u)nt (Rickert xxxi). According to the Middle English Dictionary and An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, Termagaunt is referred to in Layamon’s Brut, Mary Magdalene, Robert Mannyng’s Handlyng Synne, Herry Lovelich’s The History of the Holy Grail, King of Tars, and many other medieval texts. Owing to the general lack of knowledge about the monotheistic Islam, Termagaunt is supposed to be a deity worshipped by Moslems, Saracens, or the pagans, "along with Apollo, Mahomer, and others. Amoraunt swears by Tervagaunt (the OF [Old French] form of the name) in Guy . . . and the giant in Lybeaus ‘levede yn Termagaunt’" (Benson 920). There are several alternative spellings, such as Teruagaunt, Tervaga(u)nt, Tervogant, Triviga(u)nt, Tryviga(u)nt, and Turmegaunt. His name has passed into the English language to denote a bombastic blusterer, an overbearing character, renowned for turbulence, violence, and destructive power. His supernatural fierceness is widely scattered throughout many medieval literary texts, including drama. In Chaucer’s Sir Thopas:

Til that ther cam a greet geaunt,
His name was sire Olifaunt,
A perilous man of dede.
He seyde, "Child, by Termagaunt,
But if thou prike out of myn haunt
Anon I sle thy steede
With mace." (807-13)

(Until there came a giant whose name was Sir Elephant, a man of dangerous deeds. He said, "Young noble, by the name of Termagaunt, unless you ride out of my territory, I will immediately slay your steed with mace.")

Similarly, in the romance of The Sultan of Babylon, Termagaunt is thrice invoked:

He made a vowe to Termagaunte:
Whan Rome were distroied and hade myschaunce,
He woolde turne ayen erraunte
And distroye Charles, the Kinge of Fraunce. (137-40)

(He made a vow to Termagaunt that when Rome was destroyed and suffered misfortune, he would go to undertake a further quest and destroy Charles, King of France.)

He cryede to Mahounde and Apolyne
And to Termagaunte that was so kene
And saide, "Ye goddes, ye slepe to longe;
Awake and helpe me nowe
Or ellis I may singe of sorowe a songe
And of mournynge right i-nowe.
Wete ye not wele that my tresoure
Is alle withinne the walle?
Helpe me nowe, I saye, therefore
Or ellis I forsake you alle." (2105-14)

(He cried to Mahomer, Apollo, and Termagaunt who was so fierce, and said, "You gods have been sleeping too long; awake and help me now, or else I may sing a song of sorrow and mourning great enough. Do you not know well that all my treasures are within the wall? Help me now, I therefore tell you, or else I will forsake you all!")

Alagolofur rolled his yen
And smote with his axe on the stone
And swore by Termagaunte and Apolyne
That therby shulde passen never one
But if he smote of his hede
And brought it to his lord Laban. (2175-80)

(Alagolofur rolled his eyes, and smote with his ax on the stone, and swore by Termagaunt and Apollo that he should let no one pass through the bridge, unless the trespasser could smite off his head and present it to his lord Laban.)

Similar presentations can be seen in Song of Roland, in lines 611, 2468, 2589, 2696, 2712, 3267, 3491 (Burgess 218), and in Spenser’s The Faerie Queene Book II, Canto VIII, Stanza 30. As illustrated, Termagaunt symbolises lethal power, upon whom individuals of destructive or murderous intent swear or invoke. However, the only appearance of Tergaunt in Emaré is brief, focusing on the depiction of his gift and his staying as long as he wishes, "wyth the emperour for to play" (183), followed by his leave of the emperor’s court. After his departure, he remains entirely absent from the scene. The scant and non-direct profile of Sir Tergaunt makes his role ostensibly insignificant due to present-day scholars’ unfamiliarity to the Muslim deity. The following seeks to understand Sir Tergaunt as a destructive, overbearing supernatural power familiar to a medieval audience. Tergaunt’s role as gift-giver shall be interpreted first by assessing the whole malevolent true nature of his apparent largess, and then by examining the "significance reception-oriented" nature of theof his gift, in the light of its effects.

The situation of the gift-giving is one in which the emperor’s personal life and political rule are precarious, as he lacks both a wife and a male heir:

Aftur, when hys wyf was dede,
And ledde hys lyf yn weddewede,
And myche loved playnge.
Sone aftur, yn a whyle,
The ryche Kynge of Cesyle
To the Emperour gan wende;
A ryche present wyth hym he browght,
A cloth that was wordylye wroght. (76-83, emphasis added)

(After his wife died, the emperor lived in his widowhood, and loved playing very much. Soon after, the wealthy King of Cesyle went and brought to the emperor a rich gift, a cloth that was worthily wrought.)

When seeing the cloth,

The Emperour sayde on hygh,
"Sertes, thys ys a fayry,
Or ellys a vanyté!"
The Kyng of Cysyle answered than,
"So ryche a jwell ys ther non
In all Crystyanté." (103-8)

(The emperor said aloud, "For sure, this is a fairy’s work, or a vanity [virtual, unreal]!" King of Cysyle immediately answered, "So rich a jewel is never to be found in all Christendom!")

Tergaunt brightens the eyes of the cloth’s beholder, emphasising the exotic, rich making that is exceeded by none in Christendom. He then further stresses that his gift is his family treasure:

"My fadyr was a nobyll man;
Of the Sowdan he hyt wan
Wyth maystrye and wyth myghth.
For gret love he gaf hyt me;
I brynge hyt the in specyalté;
Thys cloth ys rychely dyght." (172-77)

("My father was a noble man, who won the richly wrought cloth from the Sultan with superior strength and might. For great love, he gave it to me. I bring it to you in affection. This cloth is so richly made!")

Effectively, Tergaunt is employing a psychological strategy by stressing what the anthropologist Weiner would call the "inalienable" quality of his gift: "What makes a possession inalienable is its exclusive and cumulative identity with a particular series of owners through time. . . . [I]nalienable possessions are transcendent treasures to be guarded against all the exigencies that might force their loss" (33, emphases added). To especially inform his recipient about his father’s valiant acquisition and loving endowment reveals his emphasis on its "inalienable" quality and his generosity, and hence his palpable intention of flattery. How should one relate such an "inalienable" family treasure to its owner, whose name evokes the imagery of a destructive Saracen deity? How should one interpret why Tergaunt surrenders such a treasure to the emperor?

The Kyng of Cesyle dwelled ther
As long as hys wyll wer,
Wyth the Emperour for to play. (181-83)

(The King of Cesyle enjoyed the emperor’s hospitality and stayed as long as he wished, in order to play with the emperor.)

Although the poem does not reveal any evil intention borne by Tergaunt, the emperor is clearly very much preoccupied with his visitor. Through In exchange for the cloth gift, Sir Tergaunt is privileged to stay as long as he wishes to play with the emperor. This is the second time the poet uses the same word "play" to describe, though indirectly this time, the state of the emperor’s widowhood, after his being portrayed as "myche loved playnge" (78). These two references to "play" reveal that the emperor needs a certain kind of entertainment, and Tergaunt supplies, or prompts the targeting. The gift-giver’s role is thus tinged with a foul colour. No sooner has Tergaunt left than the emperor arranges to speak to his daughter:

And when he [Tergaunt] wolde wende,
He toke hys leve at the hende,
And wente forth on hys way.
Now remeveth thys nobylle kyng.
The Emperour aftur hys dowghtur hadde longyng,
To speke wyth that may. (184-89)
. . . . .
The mayden that was of sembelant swete,
Byfore her owene fadur sete,
The fayrest wommon on lyfe;
That all hys hert and all hys thowghth
Her to love was yn browght:
He byhelde her ofte sythe.
So he was anamored hys thowghtur tyll,
Wyth her he thowghth to worche hys wyll
And wedde her to hys wyfe. (220-28)

(And when Tergaunt wished to leave, he courteously departed. Now let us leave this noble king [and return to the emperor]. The emperor had longing for his maiden daughter and wished to speak with her. . . . The maiden of sweetest appearance sat before her own father; she was indeed the fairest woman on earth, so that all his heart and thought brought him to love her. He beheld her oftentimes, and was enchanted by his daughter. He thought to realise his will to marry her as his wife.)

The emperor soon orders the cloth to be transformed into a robe as a love token for her. He further sends messengers to acquire the Pope’s bull that grants their marriage and gains it without difficulty, which indicates papal corruption. In face of her father’s sexual advance, Emaré laments:

"Yyf hyt so betydde that ye me wedde
And we shulde play togedur in bedde,
Bothe we were forlorne!" (253-55)

("If it so happens that you marry me, and we should play together in bed, both of us would be lost!")

It is such sexual "play" that the emperor is pursuing, an incestuous pursuit perhaps prompted by his playful association with Tergaunt. The word "play" is used in lines 78, 183, 254, 689, 811, the connotations being of amusement, entertainment and recreation. However, lines 78, 183, and 254 are strongly shadowed by one another, for, notably, the emperor, after his wife’s death, is not described as mournful but as playful, and by implication, indifferent, as if her death marked his sexual predation, and post-marital enslavement to lust, which is made clear by Emaré’s fearless chastisement for the incestuous sexual play which would inevitably follow their marriage.

In myriad classical literary antecedents, incest has been portrayed as a destructive force, "from the classical period, such as the downfall of Oedipus in Statius and the suicide of Canace in Ovid," and in numerous medieval romances in which few such episodes "achieved ‘happy endings,’ restoring the fictional world to harmony, when the threat of incest had been avoided" (Donavin 11). Incest was therefore prohibited by canon law so strict and "disadvantageous for most of the population" (Archibald, "Medieval Incest Law" 11) that there was constant tension between the Church and people: "The church was engaged in a continuous (and losing) battle to implement them" (Archibald, "Incest in Medieval Literature" 7). As such, the incest motif emerging here would have immediately alarmed its medieval audience as the outset of disorder and tragedy. That the emperor makes his incestuous advances immediately after Tergaunt’s departure invites the audience to relate gift and gift-giver with the emperor’s daring act. Tergaunt’s latent destructive power in the domestic context lies in his adverse influence and implied sinister encouragement to which a widowed father is exposed in his social circle, outside his family. His gift is an external force thrust intrusively into the imperial family, disturbing its former moral probity and interpersonal propriety, against Christian ethics.

How, then, did the "gift" itself unleash destructive power that projects Termagaunt to Tergaunt? Initially, an Emir’s daughter wrought for the Sultan’s son a cloth, on the four corners of which are three celebrated romance couples: "Ydoyne and Amadas, Trystram and Isowde, Florys and Dam Blawncheflour" (122, 134, 146), probably through "embroidery" according to Donavin (339). On the fourth corner is the Emir’s daughter and her desired lover, the Sultan’s son. Most scholars have focused all too easily upon the convenient and self-evident "trewe love" motif that is ostensibly the primary focus of these four love stories. However, true love is the apparent central theme of innumerable medieval romances. Precisely why were these three particular couples chosen, and what effects were intended by the Emir’s daughter? Further, how does the ekphrasis, overshadowed by its gift-giver, incorporate the heroine’s story before her namesake romance’s "audience?"

Careful examination suggests that the theme of true love is but a merely a vehicle designed to convey to the recipient the three romances’ chief subject matter: a discussion of the profoundly detrimental effects of taboo sexual liasons upon the transgressors.4 These three couples include adulterers, namely, Tristan and Iseult, and lovers of unequal social status, as with Amadas and Ydoine, and Floris and Blauncheflour. The status inequality of Floris and Blauncheflur is further added complicated by their different religions, Floris being the Islamic Spanish prince, and Blauncheflur a Christian captive’s daughter. Each of these three couples are impeded by some impenetrable social and cultural barriers that make their love unattainable. While one out of these three couples end in tragedy, the other two reach happy endings. Tristan does not gain eternal felicity with his lover, and is tragically and permanently separated from her by death. However, Floris strives and gains his father’s permission to seek the bartered Blauncheflur, since his father cannot afford to lose his sole surviving heir, who is then suffering lovesickness and threatening suicide. Floris finally marries his beloved and returns to succeed his recently deceased father. As to the French love story Amadas et Ydoine, which tells a story entirely different from the Middle English Sir Amadas, the namesake hero, son of the Duke of Burgandy’s seneschal, falls in love with the Duke’s maiden daughter, Ydoine. His repeated wooing is cruelly snubbed by Ydoine: "I am a maiden of high birth. . . . I would win no praise for . . . loving beneath myself!" (Arthur, Amadas 29). Amadas finally wins her love but learns that Ydoine’s father has granted her hand to the Count of Nevers. Amadas goes into exile heartbroken. Ydoine feigns illness for more than two years, so as not to be "tainted" by her husband, and in the meantime looks hard for her lover, only to find that he has lost his sanity and health. The couple, however, attains their eventual reunion and happy marriage, owing much to Ydoine’s ingenious engineering.

The Emir’s daughter embroidered all those celebrated lovers, and herself with the Sultan’s son, into each of the four corners of the cloth:

In the fowrthe korner was oon,
Of Babylone the Sowdan sonne,
The Amerayles dowghtyr hym by.
For hys sake the cloth was wrowght;
She loved hym in hert and thowght,
As testymoyeth thys storye. (157-62)

(In the fourth corner was a picture of a Babylonian Sultan’s son, with the Emir’s daughter standing by, who loved him in heart and thought, and wrought this cloth for his sake, as this story testifies.)

The marital statuses of the Emir’s daughter and the Sultan’s son are not made clear in the story, and details about their story are nowhere disclosed. The implications of these stories are therefore multifaceted. First, they reveal the illicit or disapproved character of their love, owing to their disproportionate marital statuses or unequal social ranks.5 Secondly, while the tragedic antecedent of Tristan and Iseult is enlisted to manifest their true love, the comedic exemplars are included to encourage the intended recipient of the cloth, namely the Sultan’s son, to displace himself at the psychological and imaginary level into the other three romances. Such displacement engenders in the recipient the idea and act, psychologically if not physically, of imitation, projection, and exchange, mingling actuality and fantasy between himself and the cloth. By juxtaposing their own story with the other three couples, "weaving" the reality of her wooing story into a cloth,6 a "manifesto" that is to be displayed, the Emir’s daughter seeks not merely to show her true love, but possibly to obfuscate their non-matching social statuses, seeking approval from some disapproving authority. In either case, the Emir’s daughter orients her gift so that it blurs the boundary, abetting the recipients’ response of transgressing taboo sexual liason.

It is this tale-telling cloth that Tergaunt presents to the widowed emperor. Though it is unclear whether the Emir’s daughter’s "authorial intention" is borne by Tergaunt, his gift can indeed help to redefine the emperor’s incestuous desire by employing well-known examples of illicit love. Using his imagination, the emperor could, and would re-contextualise himself and the three romance stories interchangeably, holding the unapproved love stories as exemplars for his sinful and unlawful pursuit. Tergaunt’s gift, therefore, provides some imaginary and emotional justification, and even instigation of social transgression. He presents something that triggers arouses the emperor’s itchillicit concupiscence, something that fuels his desire, spurring his action, like a romantic story would do to an individual desperate for love and "myche love[s] playnge." In so far as Tergaunt presents the gift to the Emperor, who subsequently transfers it to Emaré, the gift is self-evidently "reception-oriented," because it is calculated to have a particular effect on both of these individuals, as their interpretations elicit responses particular to their characters, desires, and inclinations. Through the agency of the Emir’s daughter and Tergaunt, the transgressive romances embroidered on the cloth are enlivened to suit the specific context in the realistic world, transcending their threads and emerging to incite a similar chain of events, with a potentially disastrous and fatal outcome for those who are thus encouraged to consummate morally proscribed sexual relations. For this reason the transmission of the gift, from Emir’s daughter, through Tergaunt, to the emperor and Emaré, must be regarded as ambiguous, or even malevolent, because of its clearly apparent ability to cause the destruction of its recipients after its delivery to them by a stock character commonly employed by romance authors as an agency of evil. However, in Emaré no explanation of the reasons is advanced, save an implied malevolent nature eliciting sadistic pleasure in the deed itself, which causes the heathen Tergaunt to bring disaster upon a Christian ruler and his daughter. It must also be noted that the Emir’s daughter embroidered the cloth only with the intention to further the cause of her love for the Sultan’s son, and yet Tergaunt, having acquired it through his father’s military prowess, has perverted this loving purpose of uniting a mutually enamoured couple in lawful, though unequal, marriage, to the opposite end of causing estrangement through the incitement of the emperor to incestuous lust.

What the emperor really craves is not the cloth, but what is under the cloth–Emaré–and what is manifest and implied on the cloth. By rendering the cloth into a robe and making compelling Emaré to wear it, the father imposes the allegorical undertones of the legendary love stories on Emaré. From the sociological perspective, Tergaunt represents a figure that interferes with a disrupted family, or, taken further, he could have been an instigator and accomplice, fuelling the family tension for an unspecified evil purpose. Examining Emaré as a family drama helps to illuminate the enigma of Tergaunt, and it is through the gift-giving and the disturbed family dynamics that his ambiguous destructive power is to be understood.

Concerning the gift, the cloth consists not only of "secular" romance lovers, but also many emblazing stones. These stones "were associated by the writers of medieval lapidaries with specific human virtues and with the type of life that leads to the knowledge of God"; for example, "he who bears the ruby will gain honour and grace and people will gain joy due to his presence" (Arthur, "Emaré’s Cloak" 88). The cloth, therefore, becomes the "yoking together of heterogeneous elements," that is, the coexistence of contradictory meanings. The implication of such a combination of religious and secular is that the cloth contains ambivalent, ambiguous meanings, and is subject to multiple interpretations from diverse perspectives. It is essential to emphasise the multiple "givings" that the cloth has gone through, the accounts of which therefore seem all the more reception-oriented. It has been a gift from Emir’s daughter to her desired lover, from the Sultan to Tergaunt’s father, from Tergaunt’s father to Tergaunt ("For gret love he gaf hyt me"), from Tergaunt to the emperor, and finally from the emperor who transforms it into a robe to put on Emaré. The cloth is in itself pregnant with accumulated meanings and configured to educe a particular response from the recipient during each transmission, except the ambiguous transference from the Sultan to Tergaunt’s father (172-75). The poet faithfully recounts how the cloth prompts the emperor to desire Emaré incestuously, the mother-in-law to dismiss her bitterly as a "fende" (fiend; 446-47), and the rescuers to sustain her kindly. By this means, the poet demonstrates how differently independent individuals with or without certain intentions can read the very same person in the very same robe. The power of Emaré’s robe is indeed ambiguous and Tergaunt’s role most transparently veiled, spelling out the power of Termagaunt.

Beyond the domestic dimension, Emaré raises political issues, as levelling accusations of incest at a ruler widely perceived to be a tyrant is a common polemical strategy: "As a king is the father of his people, his family can be seen as the microcosm of his kingdom," and his illicit sexual practices represents his abuse of his powers (Archibald, "Medieval Incest Law" 145-46). Incest was a charge usually laid against the barbarous, the tyrannical, and the heathen (Archibald, "Incest Stories" 18), categorised with "buggery, sodomy, . . . adultery, and indiscriminate fornication, [which] were . . . commonplace among the heretics, who considered these activities no sin at all but natural enjoyment of the pleasures of paradise" (Brundage 493). Situated in the Manuscript Cotton Caligula Aii, which consists of many didactic, religious texts, such as "Ihesu for thy blod that thou bleddest," as listed by McSparran (8-9), the romance is not simply another didactic work to demonstrate "suffering and the survival of true virtue through all afflictions" (Mehl 135), but also a work that stimulates anticlerical thought and condemns the papacy as a corrupt mediator between God and Man, because, most ironically, the Pope’s final task is to absolve a sin that the emperor committed only after securing the Pope’s permission. It must be recalled that Tergaunt emphatically reassured the emperor: "So ryche a jwell ys ther non / In all Crystyanté": the cloth is something from the heathendom indeed. In the light of fourteenth-century religious politics, in terms of growing anticlericalism within Christendom, and continued post-Crusading conflict between the Islamic East (expanding Ottoman empire) and Christian Europe, Tergaunt’s impactrole, however ambiguous, overflows with destructive pagan implications, its force intruding that intrude into Christendom and tainting Christian purity. Eliciting the imagery of destructive power by his non-Christian identity, Tergaunt’s impact makes him an external agent of disruption and corruption at the imperial court. This rhetorical device is designed to introduce the subject of incest as the outset of chaos. By combining the myriad meanings of the cloth with the implied malice of a heathen gift-giver drawn from the stock of evil characters, the romance simultaneously explores the impact of foreign agencies on domestic, governmental, and religious politics in terms of their effects on established institutions and interpersonal interaction, long governed by entrenched codes of ethics and conduct configured from within, and thus unable to resist corruption by exotic, vivid, and highly tempting beliefs, practices, and behaviour introduced from without by malevolent agencies, such as the illicit relationships depicted on the cloth presented to the emperor by Tergaunt.


1 This article is adapted from my paper given in the Leeds International Medieval Congress, 2003, University of Leeds, UK. All quotations from Emaré are cited from the Laskaya and Salisbury edition; translations of the quotations are mine. Return.

2 Ekphrasis, "the literary representation of visual art," also spelled as ecphrasis, is a trope widely used by poets for nearly three thousand years, since the ancient Graeco-Roman times, such as Homer and Virgil, through Dante, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelly, and Byron, and is employed in innumerable modern and post-modern poetics (Heffernan 1; 7-8). The word derives from Greek: ek, "out," and phrasein, "to speak." This technique has attracted extensive scholarly interest. See Margaret H. Persin, Getting the Picture: The Ekphrastic Principle in Twentieth-Century Spanish Poetry (London: Associated University Presses, 1997), and Katy Aisenburg, Ravishing Images: Ekphrasis in the Poetry and Prose of William Wordsworth, W. H. Auden, and Philip Larkin (New York: Peter Lang, 1995). Return.

3 See A. C. Gibbs (1966), Dieter Mehl (1969), Maldwyn Mills (1973), Mortimer Donovan (1974), Ross G. Arthur (1989), Amanda Hopkins (2000), Ann Savage (2000). Return.

4 Critics seek for the resemblance between each of the three legends and the Emaré story: "The similarity with Emaré only occurs in the extreme trials that must be endured and in Emaré’s statement that she is ‘simple’ and lowborn (although this is not true at all)" (Laskaya and Salisbury 189). Return.

5 An emir "was the commander in chief, and the grand cadi, a real position of primer minister, co-ordinating administrative activities and participating in the formulation of general policy, including military policy" (Sourdel 128). Encyclopædia Britannica reads, "Arabic amir, ("commander," or "prince"), in the Muslim Middle East, a military commander, governor of a province, or a high military official," which can accordingly vary from a military commander or a mere tribal or local chief. It is therefore probable that the Emir’s daughter is not of equal rank to the Sultan’s son, and her/their love might not be approved by some higher authority. Return.

6 Weaving reality into art is commonplace as a literary motif. See Laskaya and Salisbury’s "Introduction" to Emaré. It is also historically practised in the Bayeaux Tapestry, a record of the battle of Hastings in 1066, William the Conqueror defeating King Harold. See Shirley Ann Brown, The Bayeux Tapestry: History and Bibliography (Woodbridge, Suffolk, U.K.: Boydell Press; Wolfeboro, N.H., USA: Boydell & Brewer, 1988). Return.

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Updated 12/14/03