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Orientalism in the 18 th century. What is Orientalism?  Originally the study by Western scholars of the Near and Far East (its culture, society, languages).

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Presentation on theme: "Orientalism in the 18 th century. What is Orientalism?  Originally the study by Western scholars of the Near and Far East (its culture, society, languages)."— Presentation transcript:

1 Orientalism in the 18 th century

2 What is Orientalism?  Originally the study by Western scholars of the Near and Far East (its culture, society, languages).  Employed in opposition to “Occidental” culture  In late 20th century, a term introduced by Edward Said to describe the historical and ideological process whereby false images of and myths about the Eastern or “oriental” world have been constructed by the West. Important for the development of Post Colonial Studies.

3 Edward Said  Said focuses his attention on the interplay between the "Occident" and the "Orient."  The ‘Occident’ is his term for the West (England, France, and the United States), and the ‘Orient’ is the term for the romantic and misunderstood Middle East and Far East.

4  According to Said, the West has created a dichotomy, between the reality of the East and the romantic notion of the "Orient: The Middle East and Asia are depicted with prejudice and racism. The Middle East and Asia are depicted with prejudice and racism. Seen as backward and ignorant of their own history and culture. Seen as backward and ignorant of their own history and culture. To fill this void, the West has created a culture and history for them. The study of the Orient, and also the political and cultural imperialism of Europe in the East rests on this framework. To fill this void, the West has created a culture and history for them. The study of the Orient, and also the political and cultural imperialism of Europe in the East rests on this framework.

5 Edward SaidEdward Said andOrientalism Edward Said  According to Edward Said: “...that by Orientalism I mean several things, all of them, in my opinion, interdependent. The most readily accepted designation for Orientalism is an academic one, and indeed the label still serves in a number of academic institutions. Anyone who teaches, writes about, or researches the Orient--and this applies whether the person is an anthropologist, sociologist, historian, or philologist--either in its specific or its general aspects, is an Orientalist, and what he or she says or does is Orientalism.

6 Said continues…  Related to this academic tradition, whose fortunes, transmigrations, specializations, and transmissions are in part the subject of this study, is a more general meaning for Orientalism. Orientalism is a style of thought based upon ontological and epistemological distinctions made between ‘the Orient’ and (most of the time) ‘the Occident.’

7 Said continues…  Thus a very large mass of writers, among who are poets, novelists, philosophers, political theorists, economists, and imperial administrators, have accepted the basic distinction between East and West as the starting point for elaborate accounts concerning the Orient, its people, customs, "mind," destiny, and so on.... the phenomenon of Orientalism as I study it here deals principally, not with a correspondence between Orientalism and Orient, but with the internal consistency of Orientalism and its ideas about the Orient.. despite or beyond any correspondence, or lack thereof, with a "real" Orientalism. “(Orientalism, New York: Vintage, 1979, 1-3,5. )

8 Map of Ottoman Empire from

9 Writers  Others who perpetuated and modified the images of Turkey, the Ottoman and Persian Empires, and other Islamic milieux in eighteenth Britain were:  John Dryden (late 17th century: Conquest of Granada, Bajazet, and other works)  Antoine Galland, French translation of the folktale cycle known in English as One Thousand and One Nights, or The Arabian Nights ( ) One Thousand and One Nights One Thousand and One Nights  François Pétis de la Croix, Mille et un jours, contes persanes ( )  Daniel Defoe, in Roxana: Or, the Fortunate Mistress (1724), has his protagonist wear Turkish clothing as a disguise Roxana: Or, the Fortunate MistressRoxana: Or, the Fortunate Mistress  Montesquieu, via translations of his influential Persian Letters (1721) Persian LettersPersian Letters  Johnson and Rasselas (1759) Rasselas  Beckford and Vathek (1786) Vathek  Sir William Eton, A Survey of the Turkish Empire (1799) A Survey of the Turkish EmpireA Survey of the Turkish Empire  French travel literature about the Levant (in French, which most upper-class Britons would understand)

10 Images that populated the writings of many eighteenth-century British writers: Decadent sultans wealthy beyond imagination. Lustful, tyrannical, predatory men. Passive, secretive, voluptuous women. Ferocious and arbitrary justice. The mystery and irrationality of Islam. Many writers added to these common images by their travel narratives and letters, or their flights of fancy:  Lady Mary Wortley Montagu writes about her travels to Turkey in 1717 in letters that are published posthumously in 1763 as the Turkish Embassy Letters.  Penelope Aubin publishes her romance The Strange Adventures of the Count de Vinevil and His Family in 1721.The Strange Adventures of the Count de Vinevil and His Family  Lady Craven writes a collection of letters about her travels in A Journey through the Crimea to Constantinople in  Olaudah Equiano publishes his Interesting Narrative, in 1789 part of which deals with his reception in and observations on Turkey.Interesting Narrative

11  Although Orientalism did not become a well-defined style until the 19th century, its roots can be traced to a general love of exotica in the 18th century.  Jean Etienne Liotard Swiss pastel painter and engraver Swiss pastel painter and engraver painted women dressed in Turkish costume painted women dressed in Turkish costume chose to retain the Turkish dress and beard that he had adopted while abroad. chose to retain the Turkish dress and beard that he had adopted while abroad. Jean Etienne Liotard Woman with a Tamburine 1735

12  Luigi Mayer (c )  travelled through the Ottoman Empire between 1776 and 1794,  sketched and painted panoramic landscapes, ancient monuments, and the Nile and its surroundings. Women of Caramania 1803

13 Luigi Mayer

14 Giovanni Batista Tiepolo )  Painted a series of frescos at the residence of the Prince Archbishop of Wurzburg that included personifications of the four continents on the ceiling of the staircase in the Kaisersaal.  Pays tribute to the Prince-Bishop. He is honoured by the gods of Olympus, and Fame, personified by a woman holding his portrait aloft, while allegories of the four continents cluster around Apollo and the Continents Fresco, Stairwell of the Residenz, Würzburg

15 Apollo and the Continents (America) Fresco Stairwell of the Residenz, Würzburg

16 Joseph-Marie Vien ( ) A Young Woman in Turkish Costume Seated Playing with a Cage-Bird 1766

17 Joseph-Marie Vien ( ) Sultane Reine Joseph-Marie Vien Der Sultan

18 Standard Bearer (M. Barbault) 1748 Sultane Noir (M. Castagnier) 1748


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