Catalogue


Fabulous orients [electronic resource] : fictions of the East in England, 1662-1785 /
Ros Ballaster.
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2005.
description
xiii, 408 p. : ill.
ISBN
0199267332 (Cloth)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2005.
isbn
0199267332 (Cloth)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
general note
Title from e-book title screen (viewed October 15, 2007).
catalogue key
7369906
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 376-392) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Ros Ballaster is Fellow in English Literature at Mansfield College, University of Oxford
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
British Academy Book Prize, GBR, 2006 : Won
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2006-09-01:
Ballaster (Mansfield College, Oxford, UK) offers a rich study of Oriental narratives written in England and France. The author organizes her material in sections devoted to Turkey and Persia, China, and India. This unorthodox arrangement addresses these texts as sites of "transmigration," a metaphor describing how narrative moves from one culture to another. Ballaster's selection of texts, ancient and theoretical, is both judicious and ambitious. Though she draws on cultural and postcolonial theory, she focuses squarely on the literature itself, which ranges from Dryden's Aureng-Zebe to translated fables to fictional correspondence by Montesquieu and Goldsmith. Her marvelous readings of canonical and recovered texts suggest that the generic conventions of Oriental narrative are fundamental, both to the epistemological assumptions underlying European exploration and to the interrogative and imaginative modes developed by European fiction, especially the novel. Ballaster convincingly argues that each region became the locus for a particular set of questions: Arabic tales (especially of the seraglio) dealing with gender and despotism, Chinese with inauthenticity and fiction, Indian with desire and illusion. European fiction drew on these narratives to address its own cultural transmigration, as Enlightenment cultural analogies gave way to Romantic explorations of alterity. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. C. S. Vilmar Emory University
Reviews
Review Quotes
a very welcome addition to the available scholarship
"Reveal[s] eighteenth-century scholars' continuing interest in the ways English readers and writers assimilated, re-imagined, and wrote tales from and about the rest of the world." --Elizabeth Wanning Harries, Smith College "Rich and wide-ranging account of Restoration and eighteenth-century fictions of the East... Critically adroit and historically nuanced... brilliant discussions"--Tom Keymer "A very welcome addition to the available scholarship"--T.H Barrett,Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies "Rich and wide-ranging account of Restoration and eighteenth-century fictions of the East... Critically adroit and historically nuanced... brilliant discussions"--Tom Keymer "A thorough and well-researched work of literary criticism." --The Eighteenth Century: A Current Bibliography
rich and wide-ranging account of Restoration and eighteenth-century fictions of the East... Critically adriot and historically nuanced... brilliant discussions
"Rich and wide-ranging account of Restoration and eighteenth-century fictions of the East... Critically adroit and historically nuanced... brilliant discussions"--Tom Keymer "A very welcome addition to the available scholarship"--T.H Barrett,Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies "Rich and wide-ranging account of Restoration and eighteenth-century fictions of the East... Critically adroit and historically nuanced... brilliant discussions"--Tom Keymer "A thorough and well-researched work of literary criticism." --The Eighteenth Century: A Current Bibliography
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 2006
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
'Fabulous Orients' is an original work of criticism which illustrates the centrality of narratives of and from the eastern territories of Turkey, Persia, China, and India in the novel and constructions of western identity in a culture on the threshold of empire.
Long Description
Narrative moves. Stories migrate from one culture to another, over vast distances sometimes, but their path is often difficult to trace and obscured by time. Fabulous Orients looks at the traffic of narrative between Orient and Occident in the eighteenth century, and challenges the assumption that has dominated since the publication of Edward Said's Orientalism (1978) that such traffic is always one-way. Eighteenth-century readers in the West came to draw their mental maps of oriental territories and distinctions between them from their experience of reading tales "from" the Orient. In this proto-colonial period the English encounter with the East was largely mediated through the consumption of material goods such as silks, indigo, muslin, spices, or jewels, imported from the East, together with the more "moral" traffic of narratives about the East, both imaginary and ethnographic. Through analyses of fictional representations (including travelers' accounts, letter narratives such as Letters Writ by a Turkish Spy, and popular sequences of tales such as the Arabian Nights Entertainments) of four oriental territories (Persia, Turkey, China and India), Ros Ballaster demonstrates the ways in which the East came to be understood as a source of story, a territory of fable and narrative. Fabulous Orients is structured according to territory rather than genre. Each section opens by re-narrating an oriental story in which a feminine character serves to "figure" western desire for the territory she represents: the courtesan queen of the Ottoman seraglio Roxolana; the riddling Chinese princess Turandocte; and the illusory sati of India, Canzade. The book goes on to explore therange of fabulous writings relating to each territory in order to illustrate how certain narrative tropes can come to dominate its representation: the conflict between the male look and female speech staged in the seraglio in the case of Turkey and Persia, the inauthenticity and/or dullness associated with China and its products such as porcelain, and the illusory dreams that are woven in the space of India and associated with its textile industries. This is the first book-length study of the oriental tale to appear for almost a century. Informed by recent historiographical and literary re-assessments of western constructions of the East, it develops an original argument about the use of narrative as a form of sympathetic and imaginative engagement with otherness, a disinvestment of the self rather than a confident expression of colonial or imperial ambition.
Main Description
Narrative moves. Stories migrate from one culture to another, over vast distances sometimes, but their path is often difficult to trace and obscured by time. Fabulous Orients looks at the traffic of narrative between Orient and Occident in the eighteenth century, and challenges the assumptionthat has dominated since the publication of Edward Said's Orientalism (1978) that such traffic is always one-way. Eighteenth-century readers in the West came to draw their mental maps of oriental territories and distinctions between them from their experience of reading tales 'from' the Orient.In this proto-colonial period the English encounter with the East was largely mediated through the consumption of material goods such as silks, indigo, muslin, spices, or jewels, imported from the East, together with the more 'moral' traffic of narratives about the East, both imaginary andethnographic. Through analyses of fictional representations (including travellers' accounts, letter narratives such as Letters Writ by a Turkish Spy, and popular sequences of tales such as the Arabian Nights Entertainments) of four oriental territories (Persia, Turkey, China and India), RosBallaster demonstrates the ways in which the East came to be understood as a source of story, a territory of fable and narrative.Fabulous Orients is structured according to territory rather than genre. Each section opens by re-narrating an oriental story in which a feminine character serves to 'figure' western desire for the territory she represents: the courtesan queen of the Ottoman seraglio Roxolana; the riddling Chineseprincess Turandocte; and the illusory sati of India, Canzade. The book goes on to explore the range of fabulous writings relating to each territory in order to illustrate how certain narrative tropes can come to dominate its representation: the conflict between the male look and female speech stagedin the seraglio in the case of Turkey and Persia, the inauthenticity and/or dullness associated with China and its products such as porcelain, and the illusory dreams that are woven in the space of India and associated with its textile industries. This is the first book-length study of the oriental tale to appear for almost a century. Informed by recent historiographical and literary re-assessments of western constructions of the East, it develops an original argument about the use of narrative as a form of sympathetic and imaginativeengagement with otherness, a disinvestment of the self rather than a confident expression of colonial or imperial ambition.
Main Description
Narrative moves. Stories migrate from one culture to another, over vast distances sometimes, but their path is often difficult to trace and obscured by time.Fabulous Orientslooks at the traffic of narrative between Orient and Occident in the eighteenth century, and challenges the assumption that has dominated since the publication of Edward Said'sOrientalism(1978) that such traffic is always one-way. Eighteenth-century readers in the West came to draw their mental maps of oriental territories and distinctions between them from their experience of reading tales "from" the Orient. In this proto-colonial period the English encounter with the East was largely mediated through the consumption of material goods such as silks, indigo, muslin, spices, or jewels, imported from the East, together with the more "moral" traffic of narratives about the East, both imaginary and ethnographic. Through analyses of fictional representations (including travellers' accounts, letter narratives such asLetters Writ by a Turkish Spy, and popular sequences of tales such as theArabian Nights Entertainments) of four oriental territories (Persia, Turkey, China and India), Ros Ballaster demonstrates the ways in which the East came to be understood as a source of story, a territory of fable and narrative. Fabulous Orientsis structured according to territory rather than genre. Each section opens by re-narrating an oriental story in which a feminine character serves to "figure" western desire for the territory she represents: the courtesan queen of the Ottoman seraglio Roxolana; the riddling Chinese princess Turandocte; and the illusory sati of India, Canzade. The book goes on to explore the range of fabulous writings relating to each territory in order to illustrate how certain narrative tropes can come to dominate its representation: the conflict between the male look and female speech staged in the seraglio in the case of Turkey and Persia, the inauthenticity and/or dullness associated with China and its products such as porcelain, and the illusory dreams that are woven in the space of India and associated with its textile industries. This is the first book-length study of the oriental tale to appear for almost a century. Informed by recent historiographical and literary re-assessments of western constructions of the East, it develops an original argument about the use of narrative as a form of sympathetic and imaginative engagement with otherness, a disinvestment of the self rather than a confident expression of colonial or imperial ambition.
Main Description
Narrative moves. Stories migrate from one culture to another, over vast distances sometimes, but their path is often difficult to trace and obscured by time. Fabulous Orients looks at the traffic of narrative between Orient and Occident in the eighteenth century, and challenges the assumption that has dominated since the publication of Edward Said's Orientalism (1978) that such traffic is always one-way. In this proto-colonial period the English encounter with the East was largely mediated through the consumption of material goods such as silks, indigo, muslin, spices, or jewels, together with the more 'moral' traffic of narratives about the East, both imaginary and ethnographic. Structured by territory - Persia, Turkey, China, and India - rather than genre, Ros Ballaster's analyses of fictional representations (including travellers' accounts, letter-narratives, and popular sequences of tales such as the Arabian Nights' Entertainments) demonstrate the ways in which the East came to be understood as a source of story, a territory of fable and narrative. Each section opens by renarrating an oriental story in which a feminine character serves to figure western desire for the territory she represents: the courtesan queen of the Ottoman seraglio Roxolana; the riddling Chinese princess Turandocte; and the illusory sati of India, Canzade. The book goes on to explore the range of fabulous writings relating to each territory, illustrating how certain narrative tropes came to dominate its representation: the conflict between the male look and female speech staged in the Turkish and Persian seraglio, the inauthenticity and/or dullness associated with China and its products such as porcelain, and the illusory dreams woven in the space of India and associated with its textile industries. This is the first book-length study of the oriental tale to appear for almost a century. Informed by recent historiographical and literary re-assessments of western constructions of the East, it develops an original argument about the use of narrative as a form of sympathetic and imaginative engagement with otherness, a disinvestment of the self rather than a confident expression of colonial or imperial ambition. Book jacket.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. xi
Abbreviationsp. xiii
Narrative Movesp. 1
Dinarzade, the second stringp. 1
The state of narrativep. 7
Shape-Shifting: Oriental Talesp. 25
Fadlallah and Zemroude: transmigratory desiresp. 25
The framed sequencep. 32
Travellers' talesp. 36
Fictional lettersp. 41
Historiesp. 45
Heroic dramap. 52
A passion for talesp. 57
Tales of the Seraglio: Turkey and Persiap. 59
Roxolana: the loquacious courtesanp. 59
Speaking likenesses: Turkey and Persiap. 70
Staging the Orientp. 83
Narrating the Orientp. 95
Spies and correspondentsp. 145
Court secretsp. 171
'Fabulous and Romantic': the 'Embassy Letters' and 'The Sultan's Tale'p. 179
'Bearing Confucius' Morals to Britannia's Ears': Chinap. 193
Tourandocte, the riddling princessp. 193
Chinese whispersp. 202
Orphans and absolutism: tragedies of statep. 208
Empire of Dulnessp. 218
Narrative transmigrationsp. 227
Chinese letters of reasonp. 242
Madness and civilizationp. 252
'Dreams of Men Awake': Indiap. 254
Canzade: the illusory satip. 254
India as Illusionp. 263
'The dreaming Priest': Aureng-Zebep. 275
The treasures of the East: Indian talesp. 292
Tales of India: weaving illusionsp. 295
The Indian fable: rational animalsp. 343
Waking from the dreamp. 358
Epilogue: Romantic Revisions of the Orientp. 360
Bibliographyp. 376
Indexp. 393
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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