Veiled Encounters: Representing the Orient in 17th-Century by Michael Harrigan

By Michael Harrigan

Trip narratives have been the significant resource of information concerning the lands of the close to East and the Indian Ocean Basin in 17th-century France. Claiming the authority of first-hand remark, they sarcastically count for his or her legitimization at the tropes of a longtime literary culture. The prestige of those texts remained ambiguous, no longer least due to their anecdotal depictions of significant riches, brutality or sexual promise. Drawing at the insights of post-colonial scholarship, this examine tackles a query given scant awareness in prior paintings and means that past the hazy illustration of the Orient, an competition emerges among the threatening close to East and the indolent East Indies. Distinguishing recognizable representations from these generated by way of new encounters, this booklet questions the feasibility of cultural illustration via trip, exploring a wide corpus of unique assets written through French ecclesiastics, gentlemen-travellers, ambassadors and adventurers. Linguistic, spiritual, cultural or geographical boundaries intended so much visitors remained distanced from the peoples on which they'd concurrently develop into authoritative. The stumble upon was once extra remodeled in narratives that have been meant to entertain and to meet the criterion of curiosité. The ‘Oriental’ that emerges is a supremely variable entity, alternately bare or veiled, barbaric or civilized, menacing or beautiful.

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Additional info for Veiled Encounters: Representing the Orient in 17th-Century French Travel Literature. (Faux Titre)

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No single linguistic term in French could permit Bernier to translate what is signified, and thus a fundamental linguistic impasse arises.

80 In line with these, the present study assumes that the representation of cultures in texts is to varying degrees inseparable from the historical (and by definition, religious) circumstances in which they were composed. Among the most striking examples are the depictions of the Holy Land by ecclesiastics, or of the Far East by missionaries, which will be discussed separately in Chapters 3 and 4 respectively. However, travellers with no direct association with a religious organization could still be caught up in the bitter religious struggles of the 17th century: this was the case with Dellon, a victim of the Inquisition in Goa, or of Chardin and Tavernier, Huguenot travellers.

30 Veiled Encounters observation and measurement, and the commercial and practical nature of the information they often contain. The title of the journal de voyage left by Balthasar de Monconys is representative of these works: Où les Sçavants trouveront un nombre infini de nouveautez, en Machines de Mathematiques, Experiences Physiques, Raisonnemens de la belle Philosophie, curiosités de Chymie, & conversations des Illustres de ce Siecle; Outre la Description de divers Animaux & Plantes rares, plusieurs Secrets inconnus pour le Plaisir & la Santé, les Ouvrages des Peintres fameux, les Coûtumes & Mœurs des Nations, & ce qu’il y a de plus digne de la connoissance d’un honeste Homme dans les trois Parties du Monde.

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