The Dragon and the Crescent (Seren, £12.99), Grahame Davies's new study of the relationship of Wales and Islam across nine centuries, is being featured at a series of events across Wales starting this spring.
On May 10, 6pm-8pm, the book was officially launched at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. The event was filmed live for the Wedi Saith television programme.
On Wednesday June 8 at the Drwm venue in the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, Grahame Davies gave a talk about The Dragon and the Crescent as part of a series of events to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. The first part of the lecture is available on YouTube here.
On Wednesday August 3, Grahame Davies delivered the annual Cymdeithas Carnhuanawc lecture at the National Eisteddfod of Wales at Wrexham in memory of the author 'Carnhuanawc', Thomas Price (1787-1840). The subject of the lecture, delivered in Welsh, was Wales and Islam.
On October 27, at 5pm, Grahame Davies gave a seminar on the subject of Wales and Islam at the University of Wales's Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies.
More about The Dragon and the Crescent
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 the recent controversy of the Muhammad cartoons, The Dragon and the Crescent is a fascinating and thought-provoking collection 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, William Owen Roberts, Peter Finch, Robert Minhinnick, Gwyneth Lewis and Horatio Clare.
Grahame Davies's informative and acute analyis 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.The Dragon and the Crescent is published by in April 2011, priced £12.99, and can be purchased here.
The Dragon and the Crescent is the outcome of years of research by Grahame Davies into Welsh literary portrayals of Islam, and the emerging Muslim literature of Wales. It has followed on from his successful book, The Chosen People (Seren, 2002), which looked at the relationship between the Welsh and Jewish peoples as reflected in literature.
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