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Her book will no doubt prove very useful to all those interested in the history of ideas in general and in the early modern period in particular, but the clear layout and her agreeable, accessible style will surely attract non-specialists, who will find a wealth of information in this book. Holmberg's study invites an assessment similar to that of the travel narratives she analyzes.

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With all its fascinating descriptions and tantalizing details, organized schematically and topically, it will certainly be of some interest to scholars and students of the period. Help Centre. Track My Order. My Wishlist Sign In Join. Be the first to write a review. Add to Wishlist. Ships in 7 to 10 business days. Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Description Table of Contents Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book!

The story of the birth of science has to necessarily be told as a narrative of travel and transmission with knowledge being produced as a result of intercultural contact and engagement, Charry contends. Her essay examines early modern European narratives of the Islamic intellectual legacy in order to understand how this scholarly tradition became the source of conflict, both moral and intellectual, especially as the perception of absolute cultural difference of one shade or the other became more pronounced.

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Her challenge to Eurocentric modes of thought highlights some of the larger issues of this volume, as a whole. Her metaphor of the emissary as midwife, instrumental in the creation of new worlds—domestic, romantic, as well as political—appropriately brings our volume to a close. It is the profound impact of precisely this confluence of multiple yet shared contexts and modes of engagement that our volume as a whole aims 53 S tephen Greenblatt, Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England Berkeley: U of California P, 5.

We hope that the various thematic concerns and methodologies put forth in these essays will stimulate critical reflection on the nature and purpose of the study of global encounter in the early modern period.


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If the emissary serves as culture-broker and mediator, consciously engaging with multiple systems of signs, contemporary literary and cultural critics too—much like the early modern emissary—confront and engage with transnational and temporal complexities, continually negotiating the dense borders between the early modern past and our own present. We recognize that the essays that follow, like the texts they comment on, are situated analyses, emerging from a certain time and place.

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However, situatedness or location does not necessarily imply stasis or rigidity; rather, it emerges from a long and complex process of engagement with historical and cultural difference. Together, the essays in this volume convey the inevitability of this engagement, as well as the difficulty and wonder of it, both in times past and present.

That the embassy produced no formal Perso-Christian alliance is only part of a story which would appear in French, Spanish, and at least six English versions over the dozen years that followed. No two accounts are the same, and while some differ only in matters such as dates and numbers, others fail to agree over such seemingly basic details as the identity of the ambassador.

According to some, initiative for the embassy came from the visiting Englishman Anthony Sherley, whose proposal encouraged the Shah to appoint him ambassador. Misapprehension of this sort is emblematic of a larger failure to recognize how categories of historical analysis, when applied without regard to their cultural roots, favor the production of certain histories while simultaneously foreclosing on others.

This helps to explain why Anglo-American scholars routinely recall stories of the Persian embassy as a marker of English and not Persian proto-imperial aspirations. Willems and J. Samuel Chew acknowledges that Abbas made overtures to Christian princes as early as , and cites documents indicating that Sherley was seen by the Persians as a companion to the ambassador, but nevertheless relies upon English accounts to locate the genesis of the embassy in Sherley , , Others recognizing that the Persians had motives but crediting Sherley with animating dormant aspirations include D.

Of course historians of Safavid Persia recognize that the embassy was one and not the first in a series of Persian diplomatic gestures exploring relations with European powers. That Safavid history remains outside of the purview of scholars of English literature is part of the problem this essay will address. This is an approach that seeks to expand upon the current practice of reading early modern literature in terms of a wider global experience, a practice that has not, for the most part, been accompanied by a corresponding turn to global materials.

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While revisionist historians insist on the crucial roles played by Asian and North African peoples in particular in shaping Renaissance architecture, mathematics, philosophy, and science, recognition of how those same cultures might have influenced European literature has been slow in coming. As a result, entire genres are imagined to be singularly, essentially Western, while their global forms are ignored or dismissed as unrelated. This is a fallacy that even today continues to support arguments concerning the absolute difference of Islam and the West.

Yet this is precisely the notion that emerges in most of the writings surrounding the misadventures of Sir Anthony Sherley.

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The Proto-calls of Early Modern Studies It has become something of a commonplace among literary scholars that the early modern period was the crucible in which the practices of the later British Empire were formed. Indeed, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are regularly seen as the ground on which were erected the cultural and institutional foundations of the modern world.

Thus while we may hesitate to project backward the codes and institutions of eighteenth- or nineteenthcentury Britain, our accounts of early modern culture invariably participate in Lewis, What Went Wrong, 3, 12, — Our descriptions of the production and distribution of English linens offer prequels to the story of mass manufactures.

In reflecting on the establishment of joint stock companies, we anticipate a culture of financial speculation. And when we consider the variety of English overseas ventures we intimate a prehistory to colonialism and empire. However, there is also a tendency to find the seeds of empire everywhere, to call proto-imperial not only what was occurring in the British Isles and Virginia, but virtually all geographic and travel writing, whether it concerned Africa, the Americas, or Asia.

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Now what are the consequences of this shift? On one hand, we can see that a fully formed and potent empire does not simply spring up in the eighteenthcentury. Kamps and S ingh, Travel Knowledge 85— T o these ends, historians have developed a technique of integrative, or interregional history, featuring the economic-demographic comparison of a particular system or institution in two or more societies in different geographical regions. First introduced in separate works by Marshall Hodgson, Phillip Curtin, and Joseph Fletcher, the goal of this type of history is not to reveal global or transregional patterns but rather to attend to the unique qualities of each society under study.

In other words, the New World History has sought above all to resituate the history of the West in a global context while detaching it from Eurocentric teleologies. Ross E. Particularly salient critiques of The Great Divergence appear in P. Three scenes feature Thomas, the eldest; four highlight Robert, the youngest; and six scenes are devoted to Anthony, the middle brother, and in particular his travels with the Persian embassy. A complete account of the play would examine the ways in which these scenes are strategically interwoven.

Jews in the Early Modern English Imagination: A Scattered Nation (Transculturalisms, 1400–1700)

But given my limited space, I will focus on the scenes involving Anthony, of which two are set in Persia, two in Venice, one in Russia, and one in R ome. Flush with money provided by the Earl of Essex and earmarked for bribes in Ferrara, Sherley continued on to Venice to cast about for a new venture. It was here that he learned about the Persian silk trade and designed to pass himself off to the Shah as a representative of Christian monarchs.

The first two scenes of The Travels of the Three English Brothers establish in fairly predictable fashion a relationship wherein the English traveler inspires awe and respect in a spectacular but morally stunted Persia. In staging these competing spectacles, the play would seem to enact its own case of reciprocal comparison, setting sideby-side English and Persian codes and institutions of warfare.

Yet, as the historical Sherley and two of his companions noted in their accounts of Persia, artillery was used and even manufactured in Persia. Furthermore, as Anthony Parr points out, Londoners were accustomed to seeing prisoners heads impaled on Tower Bridge. This is, in fact, an apt description for what is happening in the play: Persian customs, concepts, and beliefs are awed, or overwhelmed, by English needs for a particular, and particularly expedient, version of Eastern difference.

In short, the Persians must express gratitude for the aid of superior Europeans without whom their static culture would bridge neither cultural nor technological divides. All future references to this play will be cited parenthetically.


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  7. I will have more to say about the brevity of these scenes, but for the time being I want to concentrate on how they present the conflict between Sherley and his conniving Persian counterpart, whose name is based on that of the actual Persian Ambassador, Hussein Ali Beg, but compacted accordion-like to Halibeck—like referring to Queen Elizabeth as Quizabet. When the next scene opens in Rome, during a joint papal audience, Anthony has his just revenge, striking down Halibeck as he ascends to meet the Pope.

    In these scenes, Anthony awaits money from Persia to repay a loan from Zariph used to purchase a gem for the Sophy. Yet just prior to his detention, an unusual debate arises concerning the origins of music.


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    In Halibeck, the play then figures Persian accounts as fictions invented solely to undo Sherley and his reputation. But what Persian accounts do we have of Anthony Sherley and his mission? These various texts have been sifted with other corroborating evidence by E. Dennison Ross, Samuel Chew, D. Davies, and considered most recently in relation to the play by Anthony Parr, the editor of the Revels edition.

    When the embassy reached Spain without Anthony Sherley who apparently abandoned the mission Uruch Beg converted to Catholicism, changed his name, and remained in Spain to write an account of his journey along with a history of the Safavid kings. Reciprocal comparison seeks not to clarify the truth of the past so much as it calls our attention to culture24 E.