Discovering Self and Other: Representations of O'itoman Turks in English Drama (1656-1 792)

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Discovering Self and Other: Representations of O'itoman Turks in English Drama (1656-1 792)

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Title: Discovering Self and Other: Representations of O'itoman Turks in English Drama (1656-1 792)
Author: Akalin, Esin
Abstract: Throughout history, culturd encounters between the East and the West have led to attempts to struggle with the relations between Self and Other. It is a cornmonplace that dramatic events such as the fail of Constantinople (renamed Istanbul), the 6rst siege of Vienna in 1529 and the BattIe of Lepanto in 1571 generated a widespread and an ongoing interest in the Ottomans as the West's Other. The presence of the Ottomans in the Mediterranean and the extension of Ottoman ruie over large parts of South-Eastern Europe and North Africa deeply affected Westerners politically and culturally. Renaissance curiosity and anxiety about the Ottoman Turks led to an outpouring of texts conveying ideas and knowledge about the Ottoman Empire (1299-1922)w hose power in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries extended even as far as the English channel. In the sixteenth century, English dramatists joined most continental artists (literary and visual) in representing the Ottoman Turks on stage through a fascination that oscillated between fear and emulation. My purpose in this thesis is to shed some light on the politics and strategies of European representations by contextualizing and analyzing the practices of representing the Ottoman/Muslim on stage as the West's Other. My premise is that without a histoncal perspective, the meaning of texts written about the Ottomans remains obscure, and their contemporary allusions lost. The thesis focuses on the representations of the Ottoman Turks in seventeenth and eighteenth-century drama, mainiy English. It addresses the relationship between text/history, knowledge/power, Other/Self in order to develop a methodology specific to representations of the Ottoman Turks, a nation usually ignored by such theoretical constructs as Orientalism. And it analyzes the pIays historicaliy and ideologicaily, to reopenfreexamine English understandings of and attitudes towards the Turks.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/1023
Date: 2001


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