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World Literature 9 - • Crafty and sneaky The Turkish...

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Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689 1762) Brief Biography Born (1689) into a titled, aristocratic English family Self educated Eloped with Montagu (1712) having rejected the husband her father had chosen for her Her husband named British Ambassador to Turkey (1714) Travelled with her husband to Turkey in 1716, where she lived for two years, learned the language, and explored the culture Her correspondence from that trip ( Turkish Embassy Letters ) published posthumously in 1763 Orientalism in Male Travelogues Male authors of travelogues in the early 18 th century create an image of Ottoman culture Rich, lazy, effeminate men Women secluded and “imprisoned” in seraglios no freedom to leave their quarters Veiled Lascivious and predatory with men Given to extremes of hetero - and homosexual behaviors
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Unformatted text preview: • Crafty and sneaky The Turkish Embassy Letters • Lady Montagu openly debunks the myths about the “Orient” – Describes her associations with both high-ranking men and women – Describes the women’s “ bagnio ” – baths – in frank terms that reveal male travelers’ ignorance – Openly compares cultures, often at the expense of aristocratic English class prejudices The Legacy of Lady Montagu • Introduces the practice of vaccination against smallpox that she observed in Turkey • Bold and entertaining woman’s view of Turkish culture – She claims to be the first European woman to be admitted to the “bagnio” and to write frankly about them • Proto-feminist – many of her views anticipate the broader feminist movements of the late 18 th and 19 th centuries...
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