Before Orientalism

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

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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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 15mm | 380g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 0521121493
  • 9780521121491
  • 1,268,444

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; Afterword.
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Review quote

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 "Barbour's work is an important contribution to colonial discourse analysis and the (orientalized?) cultural history of the early modern period." Sixteenth Century Journal
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About Richmond Barbour

Richmond Barbour is Associate Professor of English at Oregon State University. His published articles have appeared in Criticism, Publications of the Modern Language Association (PMLA), Journal of English and German Philology (JEGP) and The Huntington Library Quarterly.
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