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Gertrude Bell and IraqA life and legacy$
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Paul Collins and Charles Tripp

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266076

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266076.001.0001

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Gertrude Bell’s Perception of Faisal I of Iraq and the Anglo-Arab Romance

Gertrude Bell’s Perception of Faisal I of Iraq and the Anglo-Arab Romance

(p.187) 8 Gertrude Bell’s Perception of Faisal I of Iraq and the Anglo-Arab Romance
Gertrude Bell and Iraq

Myriam Yakoubi

, Paul Collins, Charles Tripp
British Academy

This chapter analyses Gertrude Bell’s perception of King Faisal I during the former’s time as Oriental Secretary in Iraq. It tackles Gertrude Bell’s vision of Arabia as an authentic and pure area, which paved the way for her fascination with Faisal, a descendant of the Prophet born in that region, whom she saw as the embodiment of Arab gentlemanliness. For Bell, Faisal’s lineage and personality made him an ideal ruler, and once he was king, their relationship grew more personal as Bell became his confidante and endeavoured to legitimise his rule by including him in the narrative of Iraqi history as she saw it. However, the chapter tries to show that Bell’s high opinion of Faisal was put to the test of imperial politics, and the evolution of Bell’s discourse, in the context of the political crises which opposed Faisal to the British, is closely studied.

Keywords:   Gertrude Bell, Faisal, Hashemites, Iraq, Britain, Mandate, representations, romance, Levant, Arabia

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