Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel

Paperback | December 8, 2011

bySrinivas Aravamudan

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Srinivas Aravamudan here reveals how Oriental tales, pseudo-ethnographies, sexual fantasies, and political satires took Europe by storm during the eighteenth century. Naming this body of fiction Enlightenment Orientalism, he poses a range of urgent questions that uncovers the interdependence of Oriental tales and domestic fiction, thereby challenging standard scholarly narratives about the rise of the novel.

More than mere exoticism, Oriental tales fascinated ordinary readers as well as intellectuals, taking the fancy of philosophers such as Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Diderot in France, and writers such as Defoe, Swift, and Goldsmith in Britain. Aravamudan shows that Enlightenment Orientalism was a significant movement that criticized irrational European practices even while sympathetically bridging differences among civilizations. A sophisticated reinterpretation of the history of the novel, Enlightenment Orientalism is sure to be welcomed as a landmark work in eighteenth-century studies.

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Srinivas Aravamudan here reveals how Oriental tales, pseudo-ethnographies, sexual fantasies, and political satires took Europe by storm during the eighteenth century. Naming this body of fiction Enlightenment Orientalism, he poses a range of urgent questions that uncovers the interdependence of Oriental tales and domestic fiction, ther...

Srinivas Aravamudan is professor of English, Romance studies, and in the literature program at Duke University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:360 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:December 8, 2011Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226024490

ISBN - 13:9780226024493

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Figures
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Enlightenment Orientalism

Part 1 Pseudoethnographies

1 Fiction/Translation/Transculturation
  Marana, Behn, Galland, Defoe
2 Oriental Singularity
  Montesquieu, Goldsmith, Hamilton

Part 2 Transcultural Allegories

3 Discoveries of New Worlds, Talking Animals, and Remote Nations
  Fontenelle, Bidpai, Swift, Voltaire
4 Libertine Orientalism
  Prévost, Crébillon, Diderot
5 The Oriental Tale as Transcultural Allegory
  Manley, Haywood, Sheridan, Smollett

Conclusion: Sindbad and Scheherezade, or Benjamin and Joyce

Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Aravamudan’s is a compelling account of the tremendous creativity and intellectual energy of the nonrealist forms of eighteenth-century prose fiction, one that will no doubt seed a series of such studies.”