Staging the Ottoman Turk : British Drama, 1656-1792
In the wake of the fear that gripped Europe after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, English dramatists, like their continental counterparts, began representing the Ottoman Turks in plays inspired by historical events. The Ottoman milieu as a dramatic setting provided English audiences with a common experience of fascination and fear of the Other. The stereotyping of the Turks in these plays?revolving around complex themes such as tyranny, captivity, war, and conquests?arose from their perception of Islam. The Ottomans' failure in the second siege of Vienna in 1683 led to the reversal of trends in the representation of the Turks on stage. As the ascending strength of a web of European alliances began to check Ottoman expansion, what then began to dazzle the aesthetic imagination of eighteenth century England was the sultan's seraglio with images of extravaganza and decadence. In this book, Esin Akalin draws upon a selective range of seventeenth and eighteenth century plays to reach an understanding, both from a non-European perspective and Western standpoint, how one culture represents the other through discourse, historiography, and drama. The book explores a cluster of issues revolving around identity and difference in terms of history, ideology, and the politics of representation. In contextualizing political, cultural, and intellectual roots in the ideology of representing the Ottoman/Muslim as the West's Other, the author tackles with the questions of how history serves literature and to what extent literature creates history.