The Talisman: The Works Of Sir Walter Scott
, Mar 1, 2004
- 500 pages
The second of "Tales of the Crusaders," "The Talisman" is set in Palestine during the Third Crusade (1189 - 92). Scott constructs a story of chivalric action, apparently adopting a medieval romance view of the similarities in the values of both sides. But disguise is the leading theme of the tale: it is not just that characters frequently wear clothing that conceals their identity, but that professions and cultures hide their true nature. In this novel the Christian leaders are divided by a factious criminality, and are contrasted to the magnanimity and decisiveness of Saladin, the leader of the Moslem armies. In a period when the west was fascinated with the exotic east, Scott represents the Moslem other as more humane than the Christian west. "The Talisman" is one of Scott's great novels. It is a superb tale. It is also a bold departure as, for the first time, Scott explores not cultural conflict within a country or society but in the opposition of two world religions.