The Structure of the Seraglio

The Structure of the Seraglio : European Fantasies of Asiatic Despotism

3.9 (20 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by  , Introduction by 

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This is a survey of Western accounts of "Oriental despotism" in the 17th and 18th centuries. It focuses particularly on portrayals of the Ottoman empire and the supposedly enigmatic structure of the despot's court - the seraglio - with its viziers, janissaries, mutes, dwarfs, eunuchs and countless wives. Drawing on the writing of Montequieu, Rousseau and Voltaire, the book examines their intense fascination with the seraglio. It describes the way in which they constructed a fantasized account of a rational society. It also explores the nature of these fantasies and what they reveal about the foundations of modern political thought.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 141.48 x 230 x 25.65mm | 547g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1859848168
  • 9781859848166

Review quote

"What Said's "Orientalism" achieves in breadth, "The Sultan's Court" provides in depth: the precise outline--the elementary formula--of the sexual-political fantasy of 'Oriental Despotism'--which structures our perception of the Muslim countries from the seventeenth century to our own times, and on to which Western ideology projects its own inconsistencies and repressed traumas. Combing French elegance and clarity of style with the highest conceptual stringency, this immensely readable book demonstrates the extraordinary potential of Lacanian psychoanalysis for social analysis. A classic of the theory of ideology to be ranged with the greatest achievements of Adorno, Foucault or Jameson!"--Slavoj Žižek
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Rating details

20 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 35% (7)
4 40% (8)
3 15% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 10% (2)
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