Sarah Star, University of Toronto After witnessing the baptism of his son, in which the boy miraculously metamorphoses from a formless lump of flesh into a living child, the Sultan in the Middle English romance The King of Tars decides that his wife's Christian God is the true Father of all; spurred by this revelatory perception, the formerly Saracen Sultan is, in turn, baptized. Now that he is also a devout Christian, this Sultan, the ruler of Damascus, rushes to tell his father-in-law, the titular king, the entire case of his conversion. As the narrator reports, the Sultan plans to inform the king: Hou þe child ded born was A misforschapen þing; & þurth þe preier of his wiif Hou God hadde sent it leme & liif In water ate cristening; & hou þat heþen soudan Was bicome a Cristen man. (ll. 97783).1 In the narrator's account, Christianity, which sends "liif" to the Sultan's son, is a metamorphic force that plays a vital role in determining the categorization of the living and the dead. Like his son, the Sultan is equally given new life through Christian baptism, metamorphosing from "heþen" to Christian. With these dual (re)vitalizations, the narrator
JEGP, Journal of English and Germanic Philology – University of Illinois Press
Published: Oct 20, 2016
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