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Look Inside Before Orientalism

Before Orientalism
London's Theatre of the East, 1576–1626


Part of Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: October 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521121491

£ 31.99

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About the Authors
  • Studies of orientalism have chiefly concentrated on the eighteenth century and beyond, while Renaissance work on colonial discourse and travel writing has concentrated on the New World. Before Orientalism examines early Anglo-Indian cultural relations through trade (with the establishment of the East India Company), tourism and diplomacy and illuminates important differences between the reports of travellers and the representations of the London press and stage. Richmond Barbour examines exotic visions of the East as staged in the playhouses, at court, and on the streets of Shakespeare's London. He follows the efforts of the newly established East India Company, and the troubled, deeply theatrical careers of England's first tourist and first ambassador in India, Thomas Coryate and Sir Thomas Roe. The wide range of illustrations depict early modern London's theatricalization of the world and exotic representations of the East and reveal European influences on Moghul art and the latter on English representations.

    • Proposes and practices 'cultural logistics' as a theoretical rapprochement between cultural poetics and cultural materialism
    • Analyses passages from Emperor Jahangir's journal (in English translation) in counterpoint to Sir Thomas Roe's journal
    • Offers a wide range of illustrations and includes illustrations that reveal European influences in Moghul art and the latter on English representations
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Barbour's narrative is always elegant and his analysis shrewd and erudite. … The book is liberally illustrated throughout and provides pictorial indices to the construction of the Orient in the imagination. It is a welcome book in the Cambridge series Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture, and it opens up new terrain for Orientalist studies that rarely go back further than the eighteenth century.' Journal of Theatre Research International

    Review of the hardback: 'Before Orientalism contributes to a growing body of scholarship that helps us re-think early English encounters with the East, and by doing so, better understand the early colonial period.' Journal of Colonialism and Coloniam History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521121491
    • length: 256 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Prelude: the cultural logistics of England's Eastern initiative
    Part I. Staging 'the East' in England:
    1. 'The glorious empire of the Turks, the present terrour of the world'
    2. Exotic persuasions in the playhouse: Tamburlaine the Great
    Antony and Cleopatra
    3. Imperial poetics in royal and civic spectacle
    Interlude: imaging home and travel
    Part II. Inaugural Scenes in the Eastern Theatre:
    4. Thomas Coryate and the invention of tourism
    5. Sir Thomas Roe and the embassy to India, 1615–19

  • Author

    Richmond Barbour, Oregon State University

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