English literature on the Ottoman Turks in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

English literature on the Ottoman Turks in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

By Anders Ingram

PhD Dissertation, University of Durham, 2009

Abstract: In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century a large and complex English literature on the Ottoman Turks developed, characterised by its diversity in form, content, opinion and context. This was a literature in the sense of a large body of texts sharing a topic, written in a similar time and place and in similar context, but also in the sense of a discourse, sharing literary conventions, citing similar sources, recycling information, accepted ‘facts’, anecdotes and images and drawing upon the same authorities.

I examine this literature from its sixteenth-century roots, tracing its growth at the turn of the seventeenth century and its development into a complex literature, influenced by English religious and political contexts as well as growing Anglo-Ottoman trade and diplomacy, until the dramatic changes brought by diminishing Ottoman power in Europe at the close of that century. I draw these sources together as a ‘literature’, by examining trends, chronological developments and connections between them, while on the other hand I focus upon the contexts of individual works and a nuanced reading of their representations of the Ottomans. Through this I seek to bring a broader and more balanced perspective on both English literature on the Ottomans as a whole and the diversity and complexity of the works of which it was comprised.

Click here to read this thesis from the University of Durham

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