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  • Author or Editor: Palmira Brummett x
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The early modern era is often envisioned as one in which European genres, both narrative and visual, diverged indelibly from those of medieval times. This collection examines a disparate set of travel texts, dating from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries, to question that divergence and to assess the modes, themes, and ethnologies of travel writing. It demonstrates the enduring nature of the itinerary, the variant forms of witnessing (including imaginary maps), the crafting of sacred space as a cautionary tale, and the use of the travel narrative to represent the transformation of the authorial self. Focusing on European travelers to the expansive East, from the soft architecture of Timur's tent palaces in Samarqand to the ambiguities of sexual identity at the Mughul court, these essays reveal the possibilities for cultural translation as travelers of varying experience and attitude confront remote and foreign (or not so foreign) space.
In: The ‘Book’ of Travels: Genre, Ethnology, and Pilgrimage, 1250-1700
In: Entertainment Among the Ottomans
In: Oriente Moderno
In: Ottoman Women in Public Space
In: Ottoman Women in Public Space


This essay examines the Voyage Pittoresque (1782) of the Frenchman (later French ambassador), Marie-Gabriel-Auguste-Florent Choiseul-Gouffier (1752–1817) and its imagery of an expedition through Anatolia in 1776. Choiseul landed on the Anatolian coast at the head of the Gulf of Macri on June 30, 1776 and proceeded inland, determined to explore Ottoman territories before his arrival in the capitol of the empire. At Mugla, between the village of “Dourlach” and Eski-Hisar, he was introduced to a local chieftain, Aga Hasan Çavuşoğlu. This encounter not only provides Choiseul with an opportunity to assess the Ottoman provincial “court,” but his “conversation” with Aga Hasan, at least in the formal narrative of the Voyage that came later, allows him to envision in advance the sultan’s court in Constantinople – its authoritarian nature, hierarchies, and rituals. At Eski Hisar, Choiseul is further entertained at the court of one of Aga Hasan’s grandsons where he has the chance to ponder civilizational hierarchies. This essay analyzes Choiseul’s narrative of these encounters and seven associated plates in the Voyage to demonstrate the ways in which he crafted a vision of Ottoman provincial space for his “informed” French audience. Engravings from the Voyage served to “share” Ottoman space and style with Choiseul’s readers. But those same pictures highlight the fact that narrative and image may well convey rather disparate “truths.”

In: Ottoman War and Peace