Farzad Boobani

Orientalist Imaginings


Representations of Persia in Nineteenth-Century English Literature

This study investigates selected works by a number of nineteenth-century British authors interested in Persia/Iran in the context of the British colonial projects in the ‘Orient’. Taking Edward Said’s Orientalism as its point of departure but critical of its homogenizing tendencies, Orientalist Imaginings offers a ‘historicized’ and ‘localized’ account of Orientalism as manifested in English Romantic and Victorian poetry, fiction and travel writing. In a concise chapter, the book first discusses the prehistory of Romantic Orientalism. Attempting to make up for the absence of Persia in critical analyses of literary Orientalism and, moreover, to contribute to English literary history by expanding the canon, the book, then, undertakes in-depth studies divided along generic lines: the first main part of the book presents close readings of poems by Robert Southey, Thomas Moore and Matthew Arnold; the second main part provides a historical survey of Persia in English travel literature and, then, thoroughly examines novels and travelogues by James Morier and C. J. Wills. Identifying two major representational paradigms – a ‘romanticist’ and a ‘realist’ one – framing their works, Orientalist Imaginings argues that the representations of Persia, though stereotypical at bottom, are as heterogeneous as the individual authors who dealt with it.


ISBN 978-3-86821-487-1, 264 S., kt., € 26,50 (2013)

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