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Geographies of Contact

Caroline Lehni
Fanny Moghaddassi
Hélène Ibata
et al.

III. Objects Transferred

Ottoman Things in Early-Modern England

Gerald MacLean

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Though primarily a literary historian, some years ago I turned my attention beyond written texts to the things, the material objects, that mediated and promoted knowledge and understanding of the Ottomans, their empire and its culture, among people living in the British Isles. Before going further, let me say I will use “England” and “English” to indicate a dominant and often self-nominating cultural centre largely focussed on the royal court and metropolitan London, while keeping regional and national differences in mind. Indeed, the historical and cultural shift from the insular English of the early-sixteenth century to the imperial British of the eighteenth century is among my concerns here. While the term “Great Britain” appeared regularly during the reign over both England and Scotland of King James (1603-25), this translation of the French term, Grand Bretagne, was used to indicate the British Isles, and only incipiently to indicate a claim to future imperium.1 On which topic ...


Emeritus Professor, University of Exeter (UK), is most recently author of Abdullah Gül and the Making of the New Turkey (2014). Earlier books include Looking East: English Writing and the Ottoman Empire before 1800 (2007; Turkish, 2009), The Rise of Oriental Travel: English Visitors to the Ottoman Empire, 1580-1720 (2004; Turkish, 2006), Time’s Witness (1991), and with Donna Landry, Materialist Feminisms (2003). With Nabil Matar, he is co-author of Britain and the Islamic World, 1558-1713 (Oxford, 2011). He edited Britain and the Muslim World: Historical Perspectives (2012), Writing Turkey: Explorations in Turkish History, Politics and Cultural Identity (2006), Re-Orienting the Renaissance (2005), and with Donna Landry, The Spivak Reader (1996) and The Country and City Revisited (1999). With Ercihan Dilari, Caroline Finkel, and Donna Landry, he established The Evliya Çelebi Way, since 2013, a UNESCO Cultural Route suitable for walkers, cyclists and equestrian travellers in western Turkey.

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