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Conclusion

As emerges from reading Etudes et Souvenirs de l ’Orient, De Wandelbourg’s understanding of the Holy Land was Western and Catholic, leading him to record little of the Ottoman and Muslim dimensions except for their correlations with the activities of missionary establishments and Catholic interests in the East or their relations to biblical traditions and old mores and customs. His narrative path, which proceeds through the fictional devices of personal souvenirs inspired by touching the Holy Land’s landscape and a synoptic tableau of a significant portion of the “Christian or Muslim East”,80 pursues the relationship between geography - frequently informal in his description, as in a traveller’s tale - and theology.81 The Holy Land arises as religio loci, the land of the “revival” and a secure “refuge” for Catholicism. Accordingly, De Wandelbourg delineates a “moral geography”82 of the Holy Land, a territory holy due its biblical past and, at the same time, a land re-sacralised through the account of the life and the pastoral visits of Mgr Valerga, “priest, diplomat and soldier of Catholicism”83 in the East. Consequently, De Wandelbourg’s Holy Land appears as a product of the intertwining of precise forms of poetics with sacred and power relations.84 On the one hand, the theme of the “revival” and “refuge” describes the re-sacralisation process through the “revival”, involving politics of position, property, exclusion and exile.85 On the other hand, the relationship between geography and theology shown through De Wandelbourg’s visits and inspections explains the creative dynamic of working out the Holy Land’s landscape by imagining it promotionally, intuitively and aesthetically.86

 
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