Veiled Encounters :

Harrigan, Michael.

Veiled Encounters : Representing the Orient in 17Th-Century French Travel Literature. - 1 online resource (299 pages) - Faux Titre Ser. ; v.v. 321 . - Faux Titre Ser. .

Intro -- Veiled Encounters: Representing the Orient in 17th-Century French Travel Literature -- Contents -- Acknowledgements -- List of Illustrations -- Introduction -- Récits and Relations de Voyage -- The Orient and Otherness -- Corpus of Texts -- Geographical Span -- Selection of Texts -- Ecclesiastical Voyagers -- Voyages d'aventure -- Bourgeois or Parfaits Travellers -- Methodological Questions -- Cultural Relativism -- Chapter 1. Capturing Cultural Encounter -- Acculturation and Representation -- La Curiosité -- Categorization -- The Familiar -- Reference to the Familiar -- Religious Practices -- Classical Imagery and Language -- Conjecture -- Depicting the Other -- The Symmetry of the Other -- Comme estans un mesme peuple… -- Exchange -- The Economics of Encounter -- Cultural Clash -- Lesdits Sauvages n'ont cessé de rire… -- Chapter 2. The Literature of Encounter -- Narrative Convention -- Instruction through the Voyage -- The Eye of the Traveller -- Transparency -- Paratexts and the Functional Voyage -- Chapter 3. Threat and the Near East -- The Loss of Antiquity -- The 'Ottoman Peril' -- An Orient of Religion -- Depicting the Muslim -- The Holy Land -- Persians and Turks -- Assuming an Oriental Identity -- The Temptation of the Orient: the Oriental Female and the Orient as Female -- Chapter 4. The East Indies: le Jardin de l'Orient -- The French Colonial Position -- L'Autre européen -- European Action -- A Splendid Isolation: China and Japan -- Riches and Fertility -- Promiscuity and Commerce -- Climate, Spices and an Oriental Essence -- Violence and Excess -- Madagascar: entre les deux Indes -- Chapter 5. Aventures in the Orient -- Aventures and Digressions -- The Forms of Histoires -- Pathos in the Orient -- Une Complexion extraordinairement amoureuse… -- Fanaticism and Fortune -- Transgressions of Nature. The Limits of Observation: the Veiled Orient -- Conclusion -- Bibliography -- Index.

Travel narratives were the principal source of knowledge about the lands of the Near East and the Indian Ocean Basin in 17th-century France. Claiming the authority of first-hand observation, they paradoxically rely for their legitimization on the tropes of an established literary tradition. The status of these texts remained ambiguous, not least because of their anecdotal depictions of great riches, brutality or sexual promise. Drawing on the insights of post-colonial scholarship, this study tackles a question given scant attention in previous work and suggests that beyond the hazy representation of the Orient, an opposition emerges between the threatening Near East and the indolent East Indies. Distinguishing recognizable representations from those generated by new encounters, this book questions the feasibility of cultural representation through travel, exploring a large corpus of original sources written by French ecclesiastics, gentlemen-travellers, ambassadors and adventurers. Linguistic, religious, cultural or geographical barriers meant most travellers remained distanced from the peoples about whom they would simultaneously become authoritative. The encounter was further transformed in narratives that were intended to entertain and to satisfy the criterion of curiosité . The 'Oriental' that emerges is a supremely variable entity, alternately naked or veiled, barbaric or civilized, menacing or attractive.


French prose literature -- 17th century -- History and criticism.;Travelers' writings, French -- History and criticism.;Travel writing -- France -- History -- 17th century.;Orient -- In literature.

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