Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture (Transculturalisms, 1400-1700)

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Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture (Transculturalisms, 1400-1700)

Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture Mediation, Transmission, Traf.c, 1550–1700 Edited by Brinda Charry an

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Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture Mediation, Transmission, Traf.c, 1550–1700

Edited by Brinda Charry and Gitanjali Shahani

Emissari es in Earl y M od ern L it era tur e and Cul tur e

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Emissaries in Early M odern L iterature and Culture Mediation, Transmission, Traf.c, 1550–1700

Edited by Brinda Charr y Keene State College, USA

and Git anjali S hahani San Francisco State University, USA

© Brinda Charry and Gitanjali Shahani 2009 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher. Brinda Charry and Gitanjali S hahani have asserted their moral right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the editors of this work. Published by A shgate Publishing L imited A shgate Publishing Company Wey Court East Suite 420 Union Road 101 Cherry Street Farnham Burlington Surrey, GU9 7PT VT 05401-4405 England USA www.ashgate.com British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Emissaries in early modern literature and culture: mediation, transmission, traffic, 1550–1700 1. Diplomacy – History – 16th century 2. Diplomacy – History – 17th century 3. Intercultural communication – History – 16th century 4. Intercultural communication – History – 17th century 5. Literature, Modern – 15th and 16th centuries – History and criticism 6. Literature, Modern – 17th century – History and criticism 7. Diplomacy in literature 8. Intercultural communication in literature 9. Statesmen in literature I. Charry, Brinda II . S hahani, Gitanjali 327.2’09032 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Emissaries in early modern literature and culture: mediation, transmission, traffic, 1550–1700 / edited by Brinda Charry, Gitanjali Shahani. p. cm. — (Transculturalisms, 1400–1700) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-7546-6207-5 (alk. paper) 1. English literature—Early modern, 1500–1700—History and criticism. 2. Cultural relations in literature. 3. Literature and society—Great Britain—Colonies—History. 4. National characteristics in literature. 5. Colonies in literature. 6. Assimilation (Sociology) in literature. I. Charry, Brinda. II . S hahani, Gitanjali. PR421.E6 2008 820.9’3582—dc22 ISBN: 978-0-7546-6207-5


Contents List of Illustrations Notes on Contributors Acknowledgments Introduction Brinda Charry and Gitanjali Shahani Part 1

vii ix xi 1

Discourses of Diplomacy

1 The Shah’s Two Ambassadors: The Travels of the Three English Brothers and the Global Early M odern Jonathan Burton


2 Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats: Diplomacy, Exchange, and Difference in Early Modern India Ania Loomba


3 Representing the King of Morocco Virginia Mason Vaughan Part 2


Agents of Exchange

4 Just Passing: Abbé Carré, Spy, Harem-lord, and ‘made in France’ Pompa Banerjee


5 ‘After my humble dutie remembered’: Factors and / versus Merchants Barbara Sebek


6 Passengers, Spies, Emissaries, and Merchants: Travel and Early Modern English Identity M.G. Aune


Part 3

Language and Technologies of Mediation

7 The Translator as Emissary: Continental Works about the Ottomans in England Linda McJannet


8 The Queen of Onor and her Emissaries: Fernão Mendes Pinto’s Dialogue with India Hannah Chapelle Wojciehowski



Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture

9 Listening to the Emissary in Middleton’s No Wit, No Help Like a Woman’s Marianne Montgomery


Part 4 Transmission and Transformation 10 ‘Backward and Abysm of Time’: Negotiating with the Dead in The Tempest Brinda Charry


11 ‘Thrown from the Rock’: Emissaries as Midwives and Impediments of a New World Sheila T. Cavanagh


Bibliography Index

237 257

L ist of Illustrations 2.1

Anon, Prince holding court and receiving gifts. Mughal, ca. 1580. British Library Johnson Collection, 8.6.



Tamburlaine, from Richard Knolles, History of the Turks (London, 1603). Special Collections, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.



Hashim, Timur with his descendants, including the emperor Jahangir. Mughal, ca.1650. British Library, J64.38.



Anon, Bayazid in a cage. Mughal, ca.1680. British Library, J1.2.



Jahangir holding a picture of Mary. Mughal, 1614. National Museum, Delhi.



The Deposition from the Cross (ca. 1598), based on an engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi after a lost original by Raphael. Victoria and Albert Museum, IS. 133:79–1964.



Mughal copy of Cornelius Cort, Birth of the Virgin, ca. 1610. Mughal, Philadelphia Free Library, John Frederick Lewes Collection, M. 93.



Mughal copy of Hieronymous Wierix, The Entombment of Christ. Mughal, ca. 1610. Philadelphia Free Library, John Frederick Lewes Collection, M. 92.



A Christian knight fighting with a Saracen soldier. Mughal, ca. 1630. British Library, Johnson Album 14, 8a.


2.10 Portrait of a European, 1610. Victoria and Albert Museum, IM. 386–1914


2.11 European gentleman and lady in Elizabethan costume. Mughal 1620–30. British Library Dara Shikoh Album Add Or. 3129 f.74.


2.12 Isaac Oliver, Portrait of an Unknown Woman in Masque Costume, about 1609. Victoria and Albert Museum. Museum No. p3–1942.



Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture

2.13 Bust portrait Nur Jahan wearing pearl necklace and earrings and a ruby pendant. Philadelphia Free Library, John Frederick Lewes Collection, M. 58.


2.14 Bust portrait of Princess Badi-al-Jamal. Inscribed Pir Ghulam Balchand, 1576. Philadelphia Free Library, John Frederick Lewes Collection, M. 8.


2.15 Lady with a cabinet. Early 17th century, Jahangiri. Philadelphia Free Library, John Frederick Lewes Collection, M. 97.


2.16 A European Lady. Mughal, 1645–50. Victoria and Albert Museum, IM.8–1913.


2.17 Bust of a lady. Shah Jahan School. Free Library of Philadelphia, John Frederick Lewes Collection, M. 111.


2.18 Nini, the Martyrdom of St. Cecilia. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, IM. 139–1921 f. 21.


2.19 ‘Pictures of the Indian Copies made by the Mogols painter,’ from Samuel Purchas, Purchas his Pilgrimes (London, 1625). Special Collections, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.



A formal portrait of Abd El-Ouahed ben Messaoud ben Mohammed Anoun, Ambassador from the King of Morocco to Queen Elizabeth (1600). University of Birmingham Special Collections.



The Vijayanagar Empire, ca. 1530–1565.


Contributors M.G. Aune is A ssistant Professor in the English D epartment at California U niversity of Pennsylvania. His research interests include early modern travel writing, early modern drama, and Shakespeare and performance. His reviews and articles have appeared in Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies, Early Modern Literary Studies, Theatre Journal, and Shakespeare Bulletin. Pompa Banerjee is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado at D enver. S he is the author of Burning Women (Palgrave, 2003), a comparative study of Hindu widowburning and European witchburning. She has published several essays on early modern literature and culture. Her research interests include Shakespeare and his contemporaries, women writers in early modern England, gender constructions, cross-cultural encounters between East and West, European travel narratives, the devil, and European witchcraft. Jonathan Burton is Woodburn Associate Professor of English at West Virginia U niversity. H e is the author of Traf. c and Turning: Islam and English Drama, 1579– 1624, and has co-edited Race in early Modern England: A Documentary Companion. H is essays have appeared in the Journal for Early Modern English Studies, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and Post-Colonial Shakespeares. Sheila T. Cavanagh is Professor at Emory U niversity and editor of the Spenser Review. S he is the author of Cherished Torment: The Emotional Geography of Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania (Duquesne, 2001); Wanton Eyes and Chaste Desires: Female Sexuality in The Faerie Queene (Indiana, 1994) and numerous articles on Renaissance literature and pedagogy. She is also Director of the Emory Women Writers Resource Project, which received a major grant from the NEH. Brinda Charry is A ssistant Professor of English at Keene S tate College, NH . Apart from her research in intercultural engagement in the early modern period (she has recently published an early modern European commentary on the Muslim institution of the veil and is working on references to prophecies of ‘Turkish doom’ in travel writing), she is the author of two novels: The Hottest Day of the Year and Naked in the Wind published by Penguin in 2002 and 2006. Ania Loomba is Catherine Bryson Professor of English at the U niversity of Pennsylvania. Her books include Gender, Race, Renaissance Drama, Colonialism/ Postcolonialism, and Shakespeare, Race, and Colonialism. She has co-edited Postcolonial Shakespeares, Postcolonial Studies and Beyond, and Race in Early Modern England: A Documentary Companion.

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Linda McJannet, Professor of English at Bentley U niversity in Waltham, MA , is the author of The Sultan Speaks: Dialogue in English Plays and Histories about the Ottoman Turks (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) and The Voice of Elizabethan Stage Directions: The Evolution of a Theatrical Code (University of Delaware Press, 1999). Her essays on early modern drama have appeared in Shakespeare Quarterly, English Literary Renaissance, The Journal of Theatre and Drama, and College Literature. Marianne Montgomery is A ssistant Professor of English at East Carolina University, where she teaches courses in Shakespeare, early modern drama, and medieval and Renaissance studies. Her research interests include travel writing, early modern historiography, and dramas of exchange. She is currently working on a book about Europe’s languages on England’s stages in the early modern period. Barbara Sebek is Associate Professor of English at Colorado State University. Interests in the cultural dimensions of economic activity inform her introduction to Global Traffic: Discourses and Practices of Trade in English Literature and Culture (co-edited with Stephen Deng, Palgrave 2008), “Morose’s Turban,” a contribution to Jean Howard’s forum on English cosmopolitanism in Shakespeare Studies (2007), and an essay on traders in the Canary Islands in J yotsna S ingh, ed., A Companion to the Global Renaissance (Blackwell forthcoming). Earlier work appears in The Tempest: Critical Essays, Playing the Globe: Genre and Geography in Renaissance Drama, Journal x, and Early Modern Culture: an Electronic Seminar. Gitanjali Shahani is Assistant Professor of English at San Francisco State University. Her research interests include early modern cross-cultural encounters, women’s writing from the early modern archive, and postcolonial studies. She teaches courses on Shakespearean and non-Shakespearean drama as well as contemporary South Asian literatures. She has published essays on the seventeenthcentury East India trade, Shakespeare and Islam, and is currently working on a project about the early modern spice trade. Virginia Mason Vaughan is Chair of the English Department at Clark University. S he is the author of Othello: A Contextual History (1994) and Performing Blackness on English Stages, 1500–1800 (2005). With Alden T. Vaughan she wrote Caliban: A Cultural History (1991) and edited The Tempest for the T hird Arden Series (1999). Hannah Chapelle Wojciehowski is Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin, and an affiliate of UT’s Program in Comparative Literature. She received her M. Phil. and Ph.D. from the Renaissance Studies Program at Y ale U niversity, and is the author of Old Masters, New Subjects: Early Modern and Poststructuralist Theories of Will (Stanford UP, 1995). Her research interests include the global sixteenth century; feminist theory and women’s writing; early modern technology and culture; and psychoanalysis, cognitive psychology, and narrative theory. Currently she is writing a book on the transformations of group consciousness in the global Renaissance.

Acknowledgments The idea for this project came to us during a seminar we attended at the Folger Shakespeare Institute on ‘Emerging Ethnographies in Shakespeare’s England,’ conducted by Virginia Mason Vaughan in 2004. We are grateful to Ginger Vaughan and everyone else at the Folger for including us in this seminar and providing us with such a stimulating environment in which to pursue our project. Our thanks to Ania Loomba and Jyotsna Singh for giving us feedback on early incarnations of this volume and for their continuing support through all its stages. We are deeply indebted to Jonathan Burton for his detailed feedback on our Introduction. It has been a pleasure working with Erika Gaffney at Ashgate and we appreciate her support on every aspect of this work. Thanks also to Whitney Feininger, Assistant Editor at Ashgate, for her thorough and careful work on the typescript. Brinda Charry would also like to thank her parents, Partha Srinivasan, Dympna Callaghan, and Crystal Bartolovich of Syracuse University, and the English Department at Keene State College. In addition, Gitanjali Shahani would like to thank Rohit Chopra and everyone else in her family; Sheila Cavanagh, Deepika Bahri, and Pat Cahill at Emory University; as well as her wonderful colleagues at San Francisco State University.

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Introduction Brinda Charry and Gitanjali S hahani

In the spring of 2007, while on the campaign trail for the American presidential primaries, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton declared that if elected, she would appoint her husband, former President, Bill Clinton, a ‘roaming ambassador to the world.’ It is precisely a man like Mr. Clinton, she announced, who can best help ‘repair the nation’s tattered image abroad.’ Mrs. Clinton’s oft-quoted remarks provide us with a wonderfully apposite starting point for a collection on emissaries, albeit early modern ones. Her statement reproduces long-standing and traditionally held beliefs about the qualities that constitute an ideal ambassador. If the ambassador is ‘representative,’ in that he serves as a symbol of the nation, Mrs. Clinton seemed to imply that there could be no better representative of the United States of America than one of its former Presidents. ‘I can’t think of a better cheerleader for America than Bill Clinton ...,’ the senator insisted. For critics of Mr. Clinton, however, it is his very standing as former President of the United States that renders him unfit as an ambassador. ‘The greatest challenges for the United States brand, internationally, come from the rest of the planet and its peoples,’ one commentator argued, adding that ‘in most corners of this earth, the name Clinton is as distrusted as that of Bush.’ While this critic’s stand on the prospect of Bill Clinton serving as ‘roaming ambassador’ is hostile to Mrs. Clinton’s vision, his views on the representative function of the ambassador are not entirely opposed to hers. If, for Mrs. Clinton, her husband is the perfect ambassador (because as former President he is the symbol of the United States), for his critics, it is in fact his status as former President and the world’s memory of his policies as President that make him unsuitable for the job. In both cases, the emissary / diplomat is not a mere carrier of the message; he actually embodies it. The reception of the message is determined by one’s perception of the emissary. Indeed, there is no separating the messenger from the message. Because Mr. Clinton is strictly neither a trained nor a ‘professional’ diplomat (to the extent that the U.S. foreign service has not been the mainstay of his career), it is interesting that his advocates still perceive him as the best man for the job. Supporters responding to Mrs. Clinton’s announcement on the World Wide Web maintain that the former President would make the ideal ambassador because ‘the ‘Clinton Says Husband Would Be Ambassador.’ Washington Post, S aturday, April 21, 2007. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/21/ AR2007042100684.html.  Al Giordano. ‘Ask Latin America First! Bill Clinton “Ambassador to the World?”’ http://www.counterpunch.org/giordano10112007.html. 

Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture/Charry and Shahani

man is smart and personable and knows how to get people to come together and look for a peaceful compromise.’ Implicit in their discourse is the idea that a loosely defined set of qualities and attributes, rather than professional training, contribute most to the making of a fine ambassador. These attributes will be put to use as the ambassador performs his assigned tasks, which in the case of Bill Clinton require him to ‘go out and immediately restore America’s standing, [to] go out and tell people America …[is] open for business and cooperation.…’ Mrs. Clinton’s announcement and the ambassadorial controversy it provoked are reminders of the ways in which international politics in the twenty-first century are deeply concerned with questions of who gets to represent a nation or its social groups, what constitutes a good emissary, and what is the precise nature of his task. Several centuries ago Europe was preoccupied with similar questions. French diplomat Jean Hotman de Villiers (1552–1636), who earlier in his career had served as tutor in the household of the English ambassador to Paris, was one among many early modern commentators to attempt a definition of the model ambassador, ‘the fitte man,’ who would make the perfect emissary. Determining ‘the fitte man’ was of the utmost importance for Hotman, because ideally ‘none are called ordinarily to that charge but men of great honour, virtue and experience.’ T he period also saw the ambassador’s status and importance enhanced in a world where emerging nation-states were often keen to signal that they were indeed ‘open for business and cooperation.’ European powers sought political ties and trade relations with neighboring states and others farther afield. Foreign trade, as Fernand Braudel, K.N. Chaudhuri, and other historians have pointed out, was a crucial, even central, feature of European commerce from the sixteenth century onward. Chaudhuri explains that in the English context ‘hesitant, semi-speculative’ ventures were gradually transformed into well-organized, larger financial enterprises, and ‘scattered and self-contained’ trade routes were becoming well-defined and more ‘global’ in scope. While international trade during this period was, no doubt, a far cry from the movement of goods and capital between ‘center’ and ‘periphery’ that characterized Euro-imperialism at its nineteenth-century height, 

‘Betty,’ Reader comment on ‘Former President Clinton: Ambassador?’ June 3, 2007. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2007/06/03/former-president-clinton-ambassador/ #comments.  Bill Clinton in an Interview to The Guardian. ‘Bill Clinton; Hillary wants me to restore image of the US.’ Friday, October 5, 2007. http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/ story/0,,2184177,00.html.  J ean H otman. The Ambassador. London, 1603. Sig. D5v.  Ibid. Sig. B1r.  S ee Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (New York: Harper and Row, 1972), K.N. Chaudhuri, The English East India Company (New York: A.M. Kelley, 1965), The Trading World of Asia and the English East India Company 1660–1760 (New York: Cambridge UP, 1978) 19.  Chaudhuri, The English East India Company, 4.  Chaudhuri, The Trading World of Asia and the English East India Company 1660– 1760, 19.


the seventeenth century, nevertheless, formed ‘a watershed in the evolution of English trading arrangements, which saw adjustments in the types and patterns of trade, changes that were to be of increasing significance in the future.’10 But who were the individuals working the colossal machinery of international trade and politics (no doubt, with varying degrees of success)? More specifically, who were the ambassadors, envoys, message-bearers, and other emissaries negotiating cultural, political, and geographical boundaries, facilitating English and European interests across the globe? Were they, in their own time, even worthy of narrative? Or were they perceived simply as functional devices, merely playing a peripheral role in the grand drama of early modern transnational exchange? What manner of narratives did they produce and how are we to read the professed transparency of their language and the claims for objectivity in their accounts? It is our aim in Emissaries in the Early Modern World: Mediation, Transmission, Traffic, 1550–1700 to make these seemingly nameless and faceless messengers the focal point in discussions of early modern transnational exchange. T he essays in this volume combine literary and historical analysis, in order to understand the social, political, and textual dynamics of intercultural exchange, as well as the representation of such an exchange in a range of narratives. While they do not attempt a comprehensive history either of early modern diplomacy or of intercultural exchange, nor do they resolve the gap between ‘representations and reality’, they do take up the emissary as a figure who embodies the processes of representation and communication within the world of the (literary and cultural) text, itself an ‘emissary’ that strives to communicate and represent certain perceptions of the ‘real.’ The studies in our volume contribute to a growing body of scholarship that understands European modernity as constituted by global travel and intercultural contact.11 This work has demonstrated that engagement with a multiplicity of racial Chaudhuri, The English East India Company, 3. We are alluding here to early New Historicist work of Greenblatt on European engagement with the New World (Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World. Chicago: Chicago UP, 1991) as well as the foundational work of critics like Ania Loomba, Kim F. Hall, Virginia Mason Vaughan on race in the early modern world. More recently the work of scholars like Jack D’amico, Nabil Matar, Barbara Fuchs, Jyotsna Singh, Jonathan Burton, Daniel Vitkus, and Shankar Raman has also drawn attention to England’s imperial and mercantile expeditions in different parts of Asia and Africa. See Jonathan Burton, Traffic and Turning: Islam and English Drama, 1579–1624 (Newark, DE: U of Delaware P, 2005); Jack D’amico, The Moor in English Renaissance Drama. (Gainesville: Florida UP, 1991); Barbara Fuchs, Mimeses and Empire: The New World, Islam, and European Identities (New York: Cambridge UP, 2001); Kim Hall, Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1995); A nia L oomba, Gender, Race, Renaissance Drama (New York: Manchester UP, 1984); Shakespeare, Race, and Colonialism (New York: Oxford UP, 2002); Nabil Matar, Islam in Britain 1558–1685 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998); Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery (New York: Columbia UP, 1999); In the Lands of the Christians (New York and London: Routledge, 2003); Shankar Raman, ‘Framing India’: The Colonial Imaginary in Early Modern Culture (Stanford: Stanford UP, 2002); Jyotsna Singh, Colonial 10


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and cultural ‘others’ is crucial to understanding the early modern age. In fact, to some degree, throughout history, stasis (as opposed to mobility and travel) and staying at home (indeed even ‘home’ itself), as anthropologist James Clifford suggests, can only be ‘conceived and lived in relation to practices of coming and going.’12 In some sense all spaces—both home and the world—are increasingly shaped by contacts between peoples and cultures. Contributors to this volume see the emissary as representing and facilitating these various ‘contact zones’ of the early modern period and seek to locate him at the intersection of multiple domains of interaction. They study him as a figure situated in culture and history and the acts of mediation and communication that he is involved in as constituting cultural meaning, rather than simply bearing it, or transferring it from community to community. While cultures are often categorized as the conquering or conquered, colonizing or colonized, discovering or discovered (a binarism that has often been reinforced in contemporary critical discourse), an examination of messengers and messagebearing, helps us additionally conceptualize cultures as ‘senders’ and ‘receivers’ (to adopt the terms employed by Russian formalist Roman Jakobson in his model of human communication) of messages and international communication.13 T his is not to imply that we neglect or neutralize the political and economic implications of transnational encounter in the early modern (or indeed any other) period, in favor of an analysis based purely on a formalist model of communication. Instead, we stress the importance of the political and social transactions inherent in cross-cultural communication, and the communicative acts that are inevitable in political events and institutions. Cultures themselves, Clifford points out, are best understood in terms of ‘external relations and displacements,’14 a result of Narratives, Cultural Dialogues (New York: Routledge, 1996); Virginia Mason Vaughan, Othello: A Contextual History (New York: Cambridge UP, 1994); (with Alden T. Vaughan) Shakespeare’s Caliban: A Cultural History (New York: Cambridge UP, 1991); Performing Blackness on the English Stages (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2005); Daniel Vitkus, Turning Turk: English Theater and the Multicultural Mediterranean, 1570–1630 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). This field of enquiry also owes a great deal to the work of historians such as Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (New York: Harper and Row, 1972); K.N . Chaudhuri, The English East India Company: The Study of an Early Joint-Stock Company. 1600–1640 (New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1965); The Trading World of Asia and the English East India Company 1660–1760 (New York: Cambridge UP, 1978); and Asia Before Europe: Economy and Civilisation of the Indian Ocean from the rise of Islam to 1750 (New York: Cambridge UP, 1990); and Sanjay Subrahmanyam’s Explorations in Connected History: From the Tagus to the Ganges (London and New York: Oxford UP, 2005); and The Political Economy of Commerce: Southern India 1500–1650 (New York: Cambridge UP, 1990). 12 J ames Clifford, Routes: Travel Writing and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1997) 6. 13 Roman Jakobson, ‘Closing Statements: Linguistics and Poetics.’ Style in Language. Ed. Thomas Sebeok. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1960) 350–77. 14 Clifford, 24.


‘co-productions,’ or as James Boon puts it, they constitute ‘a multiply authored invention … an ongoing translation.’15 Subjecting the role of the emissary to discussion also serves as a reminder that cultural knowledge and even material goods are not always simply presented and transferred to ‘other’ peoples. The form and meaning they assume are a result of complex processes of mediation and negotiation. Cultures do not simply receive the impressions carried by mediating agents, but rather actively engage with them and with each other to create and give expression to social meaning, to notions of identity and difference, as well as to political and material desires. Simultaneously, ‘contact’ does not simply have sociocultural effects but is itself culturally determined and moved in certain directions by emissaries, and the forces they represent and engage with. A study that focuses on cross-cultural communication serves as a reminder that peoples and societies remain in the realm of the alien, even the fictive, imaginary, or unknown to inhabitants of other spaces, until they are made real via complex networks of knowledge-creation and communication. However, the fact that these networks are constituted by human agents, who always require additional mediating technologies (language being among the oldest and most significant), implies that cultural reality exists in representation and through reconstruction, even as the discourses of alterity and cultural difference emerge in very material contexts, and also have very real, material effects. The essays in this collection demonstrate how the emissary figure is especially well-suited to understanding these, and a number of other issues related to crosscultural encounter: What manner of testimony does the emissary offer about people and cultures in transit in the early modern period? How did the emissary and mediator also function as a significant participant in the complex socioeconomic processes by which ‘new worlds’ were constituted? Did the emissary’s role contribute to an idealized progressive vision of furthering universally shared, truly global interests? Or conversely, did it permeate and dissolve the borders and boundaries between peoples, only to further specific group interests? While we deploy the term ‘emissary’ as a template by which to examine different agents, participating in different kinds of cross-cultural activities (including those conducted by say, spies, traders, or translators), we find it useful to examine institutionalized international communication in the early modern period as a historical backdrop against which to consider these activities. Historian Garret Mattingly in his well-known study of the institution writes that: Diplomacy in the modern style, permanent diplomacy, was one of the creations of the Italian Renaissance. It began in the same period that saw the beginnings of the new Italian style of classical scholarship … [and] its full triumph coincided with the full triumph of the new humanism and the new arts.16


Qtd. in Clifford, 24. Garret Mattingly, ‘The Italian Beginnings of Modern Diplomacy’ Diplomacy in Modern European History. Ed. Laurence W. Martin (New York: Macmillan, 1966) 1–14. 1. 16

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Though Mattingly is certainly accurate in pointing out that permanent diplomacy with residential ambassadors and the attendant stipulations of extraterritoriality and immunity were gradually becoming codified and regularized in the early modern period, formalized interstate negotiation had a long and venerable history and was certainly not an early modern, nor a uniquely European institution. As Chaudhuri and Gunder Frank (among others) have pointed out, complex networks of political and commercial alliance existed in many parts of the world well before European intervention, notably in Ming / Qing China, Mughal India, Safavid Persia, and the O ttoman empire.17 While these systems of diplomatic negotiation were not necessarily less formalized or structured than European ones, notions of what constituted an ‘embassy’ and the role and functions of an ‘ambassador’ were culture-specific. Thus, for instance, as Jonathan Burton’s essay discusses later in this volume, the rights and duties of the safir or the ambassador in S afavid Persia often varied from those of his European counterpart. Unlike European ambassadors, ‘who relied on the ancient Roman law of nations to safeguard their well-being, Persian safirs might expect insult and harm, as was regularly the case in Perso-Ottoman relations where envoys had their beards forcibly shaved off as a retort to their objectionable messages.’18 Despite their differing roles, however, the networks of exchange that the safir and other kinds of middlemen, negotiators, and envoys facilitated were as crucial in the history of diplomacy as those that M attingly outlines. In the European context that Mattingly examines, even as diplomacy is part of an emerging culture of scholarship and artistic endeavor, it is also a result of an emerging inter-city-state relationship of the toughest, most aggressive kind. Nicollo Machiavelli’s political treatises express the view that military strength far outweighs diplomacy in the maintenance of the state and diplomacy is certainly not a replacement for force. However, negotiation does serve as a complement to force. Writing in The Prince, he notes: You must know there are two ways of contesting, the one by law and the other by force; the first method is proper to men, the second to beasts; but because the first is frequently not sufficient, it is necessary to have recourse to the second. Therefore it is necessary for a prince to understand how to avail himself of the beast and the man … it is necessary for a prince to know how to make use of both natures, and that one without the other is not durable.19

Viewed as such, diplomacy, in the modern European sense, was not necessarily born of an idealized vision of international community but rather developed as K.N . Chaudhuri, Asia Before Europe: Economy and Civilisation of the Indian Ocean from the Rise of Islam to 1750 (New York: Cambridge UP, 1990); Gunder Frank, Reorient: Global Economy in the Asian Age (Berkeley: U of California P 1998). 18 See p. 35 in this volume. 19 Nicollo Machiavelli, The Prince. Ed. and trans. Harvey Masfield (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1985) 69. 17


‘one functional adaptation of the new type of self-conscious, uninhibited, power seeking, and competitive organism’—that is, the nation-state.20 Even as scholarly work on the period focuses on movement and the crossing of borders, it is important to remember that these movements did not exist outside of the emerging order of nationalism and worked to further consolidate national identities. What’s more, they paved the way for the emergence of economic structures that might be ‘transnational’ but did not necessarily lead to social orders based on values of egalitarianism and social progress. Diplomacy was clearly functional in seeking and retaining power, as well as in furthering negotiation and compromise. It was perceived as a sign of the heights that civilizations had reached—indeed diplomacy was necessary to keep the world civilized, according to Hotman. Without ambassadors ‘we should fall againe into that first chaos and confusion of things,’ he wrote. But diplomacy was not only a sign of a sophisticated civilization, it was also a fundamental aspect of human society. Hotman argues that the phrase ‘the law of nations’ is almost interchangeable with the phrase ‘the law of Nature,’ since ‘it hath imprinted in the minds of men since the beginning of the world.’21 International relations were considered complex in their sophistication as well as basic and essential; diplomacy was ‘natural’ to human communities, but also a result of a newly emerging world order and the revival of classicism, humanism, and a new interest in Roman international law.22 The many possibilities and benefits that diplomacy offered influenced Henry VIII to adopt the Italian system of mediation. He was, in fact, one of the first Protestant monarchs to do so. While he began by employing Italian envoys, by the 1520s Cardinal Wolsey had urged the King to create an English diplomatic service, and later in the Tudor period, two of the prominent international jurists of the time, the Italian-born Alberico Gentili and the English Richard Zouche, produced much of their work on international law while at Oxford.23 However in many ways, Mattingly argues, the Reformation was a setback for early modern diplomacy in general, with Protestant monarchs, notably Henry’s successor, Elizabeth, refusing to send representatives to Catholic courts (with the exception of France). The Reformation was a ‘clash of ideological absolutes’ and this manner of conflict inevitably ‘drives diplomacy from the field.’24 Yet England’s 20 Mattingly, ‘The Italian Beginnings…,’ 15. The ‘organism’ Mattingly is referring to in the Italian context is the city-state and then the nation-state. 21 J ean H otman, The Ambassador (London, 1603) sig. H3v, H4V. 22 See Douglas Biow, Doctors, Ambassadors, Secretaries: Humanism and Professions in Renaissance Italy (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2002) for a detailed study on diplomacy as one of the professions of humanism. 23 Alberico Gentili was the Italian Protestant refugee who taught law at Oxford. His two treatises are De legationibus (1585) and De iure belli (1588–1589). Richard Zouche (1590–1681) also taught at Oxford, and is well-known for his treatise on “international law,” Iurus et judicci. 24 Garret M attingly, Renaissance Diplomacy (London: Jonathan Cape, 1970) 196.

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attempts to negotiate with powers outside the Christian world are indicative of the complex patterns created by the lines that diplomacy drew across the map of post-Reformation Europe. English ambassadors and factors were sent to ‘infidel’ cultures such as the Ottoman empire and the Barbary states to work out new alliances that were politically and commercially profitable to both. The reception of English emissaries by these foreign powers was an acknowledgment both of the increasing power and sovereignty of the English ruler and of the growing reliance of England on these foreign societies. The willingness of English authorities to negotiate with cultural difference is an indication of the flexible representation of seemingly fundamental identity categories such as religion, language, and race. English travelers such as William Lithgow might have considered such flexibility and international diplomacy as unheroic, perhaps even morally suspect (he remarks in a tone of mild contempt that Venice preserved its interests by ‘presents and money rather than by sword or true valour; so that whatsoever they loose by battle, it is observed they recover againe by treatise’),25 but it was increasingly recognized that diplomacy was a crucial instrument in confronting transnational conflict, and that ambassadors functioned as go-betweens or cultural brokers in a transnational world. Richard Hakluyt reads the presence of English diplomats in the Levant as one of the great achievements of Elizabethan rule. ‘Who ever saw before this regiment, an English Ligier in the stately porch of the Grand Signior at Constantinople?’ he marvels, ‘Who ever found English Consuls and Agents at Tripoli in Syria, at Aleppo, at Babylon, at Balsara...?’26 Hakluyt expresses pride and wonder at English engagement with the distant and exotic. John Chamberlain in his letter to Dudley Carleton, written immediately after the 1600–1601 Moorish embassy (dealt with in greater detail by Virginia Mason Vaughan later in this volume), celebrates the presence of foreign ambassadors in England. ‘It is no small honour to us,’ he writes, ‘that nations so far removed and every way different should meet here to admire the glory and magnificence of our queen of Saba.’27 Even as these foreign dignitaries in Europe represented the distant and the exotic, their hosts often deliberately diminished the difference between themselves and these foreigners. As Judith C. Brown has suggested in a 1994 essay on Japanese emissaries to Europe, ‘The key element in the reception of the emissaries was familiarity with novelty which by the late sixteenth century had become a distinct feature of European society, particularly in urban centers involved in international trade.’ Europeans, she says, stressed the similarities between themselves and their William Lithgow. The Total Discourse of the Rare Adventures and Painefull Peregrinations of Long Nineteene Yeares Travayles from Scotland to the Famous Kingdoms in Europe, Asia and Affrica (London 1632) 39–40. 26 Hakluyt, ‘The Epistle Dedicatory to the First Edition’ (1589). Principal Navigations, Vol. 1. 3. 27 Les Sources Inédites de L’Histoire du Maroc: Archives et Bibiothèques D’Angleterre, Vol. II. Ed. Henry de Castries (Paris: Editions Ernest Leroux, 1918) 192. 25


foreign visitors and saw these visitors as ‘extensions of themselves.’28 It is not only a growing familiarity with other cultures that determined the reception of these ambassadors. Even as they were strangers, they were also familiar figures in so far as the function and purpose of their political roles were understood and recognized as increasingly important. Despite this recognition of the ambassador’s role, however, it would be erroneous to suggest that diplomatic exchanges in this period were always endowed with a sense of mutual respect and harmonious reciprocity. In fact, as Ania Loomba’s essay in this volume demonstrates, cultural differences were frequently incomprehensible, even insurmountable, for emissaries dispatched into unfamiliar worlds. Taking the embassy of Sir Thomas Roe to the Mughal court as the focus of her argument, Loomba chronicles the English ambassador’s many failed attempts to impress Emperor Jahangir with his relatively meager offerings. The gifts sent to Jahangir (ostensibly from James I, but in reality procured by the East India Company) were an attempt to secure trading privileges in the East, ‘but their “pearls” were treated as glass beads by Eastern emperors,’ as Loomba succinctly puts it.29 Indeed it was the fact that these paltry offerings were named as being from a king that appears to have irked Jahangir, along with the suggestion that ‘honor and profit’ would accrue to the Mughal monarch by way of the English trade. In these ‘gifts gone wrong’—to use Natalie Zemon Davis’s terminology, we catch a glimpse of the highly fraught rituals and exchanges that characterized diplomatic enterprises in the period, particularly in some Eastern courts where English emissaries were frequently marginal players.30 It is inevitable that early modern emissaries like Roe be examined in the context of international travel in the time period. The essays here consider both ambassadors (officially designated or self-appointed) and other kinds of travelers as playing a historical role in the construction of a subjectivity and consciousness defined by spatial mobility. Every traveler was necessarily an emissary of sorts, who not only brought the ‘home’ and the ‘world’ to each other, but moved between contexts that were increasingly both ‘local’ and ‘global.’ The early modern traveler functioned as cross-cultural translator, mediator, and facilitator. While it is not always necessary to blur the distinction between traveler and emissary, it is useful to recall that the traveler was the subject of attack and criticism by the moral watch-dogs of Renaissance society. Travel was often associated with shiftlessness, drifting, exile, moral and cultural loss, and displacement. In response, travel guides and handbooks of the period, as M.G. Aune observes in this volume, were at pains to categorize and classify legitimate forms of travel as much as legitimate kinds of travelers. Thus, for instance, a 1609 treatise, An Essay of the Meanes how to make our Trauailes, into forraine Countries, the more profitable and honorourable, distinguished between 28 Judith C. Brown, ‘Courtiers and Christians: The First Japanese Emissaries to Europe.’ Renaissance Quarterly, 47.4 (1994): 872–906. 877, 878. 29 See p. 41 in this volume. 30 Natalie Zemon Davis, The Gift In Seventeenth-Century France (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000) 110.

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‘voluntary,’ ‘nonvoluntary,’ and ‘involuntary’ travelers. Whereas involuntary travelers were those ‘banished or fleeing persecution,’ nonvoluntary travelers were those ‘sent out by the prince,’ and included honorable travelers, such as ambassadors, commissioners, and messengers. Aune observes that in Palmer’s schema ‘categories and motives rest primarily on what the traveler does; identity proceeds through actions,’ yet in practice, English travelers abroad were frequently subject to situations that compelled them to shift and reconsider these identities.31 While some self-appointed ambassadors, like the Sherley brothers who visited the Shah of Persia’s court, were subject to the same kind of criticism as general travelers, officially designated emissaries were perceived as embedded in social and political institutions and missions. They gave shape, form, and purpose to the enterprise of travel / wandering, and it was understood, or at the least expected, that they moved within circuits determined by ‘larger’ interests. However, both the ambassador and other kinds of agents were inevitably (though admittedly to different degrees) perceived as ‘representatives’ of a larger entity, whether this be a trading company, a state, a culture, or a religious group. In this sense, the mediating figure / emissary was synecdocal, having his native country’s identity inscribed in his person; he was, in Hotman’s words, ‘an abridgement of the commonwealth.’32 However, the symbolic function of the emissary is twofold, perhaps even paradoxical. In so far as he represents a certain group and serves to further a certain purpose, he stands for cultural ‘authenticity,’ the fixity of communal identity, and specific group-interest. In that he represents and serves to further communication between cultures and peoples, he also is a reminder of the possibility of cultural exchange and mobility, and the possible transformation of cultural identity that is the inevitable result of transactions with otherness and difference. The notion of the emissary as ‘representative’ or ‘abridgement’ also needs to be considered further. The idea of a ‘representative’ itself implies that the larger entity (for example, the homogenous nation-state, which was and still is, a constructed entity, and an ‘imagined community’) can be condensed into one single ‘representing’ body. Further, terms like ‘emissary’ and ‘ambassador’ clearly foreground an identity that is primarily professional, and downplay class, gender, and other social affiliations. A theoretical approach that studies intercultural encounter by focusing on mobile identities that are defined by travel and border-crossing alone comes dangerously close to ignoring the power of social apparatus to mark yet other kinds of borderlines and allow for the dominance of select social groups. Studies of global travel and transcultural communication need to acknowledge that emissaries were still fixed in social categories such as gender (for the most part women did not enjoy the spatial mobility that was necessary to play the role) as well as class (ambassadors, whatever their political and national affiliation, belonged, by virtue of their position, to an international aristocracy or at least strove to represent themselves as high born). Further, it is important to study the enhanced mobility of the early modern (and our own) world as paradoxically often 31 32

See p. 133 in this volume. Hotman sig. C1v.



leading to the further consolidation of these traditional social boundaries. Foreign spaces were significant arenas for the construction of notions of masculinity and manhood, as well as crucial sites for class formation. The representative and symbolic quality of the emissary, along with his role as the ‘bearer of meaning’ also invites questions about the repertoire of signs invoked in intercultural dialogue. What are the instruments the emissary uses to communicate with the Other, and what are the technologies he deploys to establish his own political and social status and authority? Theatricality and performance are useful lenses through which to examine intercultural exchange in the time period. Indeed a number of authors in our collection ground their analyses of the emissary in the early modern theater, drawing on a variety of canonical and noncanonical dramatic texts. Thus, for instance, while Brinda Charry revisits an oft-discussed text, The Tempest, in order to examine the role of Prospero as ‘an emissary who negotiates between European self and foreign Other,’33 M arianne M ontgomery, Barbara Sebek, Burton, and Vaughan turn to relatively lesser known play texts such as No Wit, No Help Like a Woman’s, If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody, Part II, The Travels of the Three English Brothers, and The Fair Maid of the West respectively, in order to analyze the complex representations of mediating agents on the early modern stage. These theatrical invocations of the emissary, as Sebek argues, are frequently troubled, embodying pervasive anxieties about the bordercrossing enterprise. ‘Unpacking the distinctive cluster of cultural anxieties that accrue around these figures has much to tell us about the salience of conflicts among the English in the imaginative efforts of writers at home and abroad to envisage the dangers and pleasures of overseas traffic,’ Sebek notes astutely.34 Indeed the stage must inevitably become a key site in any examination of crosscultural activity in the early modern period. Theater was clearly the most popular and accessible response to English interaction with foreigners. It brought cultural difference into the everyday lives of Englishmen and women and what’s more made a spectacle of it. As Loomba has pointed out in Shakespeare, Race, and Colonialism, ‘by 1600, eighteen to twenty thousand visits were made each week to London playhouses. The bulk of these visitors got their images of foreign people from the stage, rather than from books or real-life interactions. Thus the theatre deeply shaped English imaginings of outsiders.’35 Even as plays staged the ‘other’ for the audience, in doing so they also staged the ways in which the traveler abroad sees and is seen. In short they foregrounded the very dynamics of encountering the curious, new, and strange. Spectatorship consequently was not a passive act but entailed active engagement and participation in the construction and reception of difference. This process was akin to the deliberate and self-conscious acts of display and witnessing involved in the activity of emissaries and cultural mediators. All travelers were inevitably spectators. While diplomats were received with lavish spectacles, had access to all kinds of spaces, and met with dignitaries that the 33

See p. 207 in this volume. See p. 114 in this volume. 35 A nia L oomba, Shakespeare, Race, and Colonialism (New York: Oxford UP, 2002) 8. 34

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common traveler did not, the scenes they were allowed to witness were carefully selected for them by host cultures, as Brown makes clear when she describes how foreign dignitaries were shown palaces, buildings, and other impressive artifacts while other more disturbing sights, including the religious strife dividing Europe at the time, were carefully shielded from them.36 Likewise, the reception of the embassy from the Moroccan king to Elizabeth’s court in 1600, which Vaughan chronicles in her essay, appears to have been carefully orchestrated by English authorities and trading companies. The London chronicler, John Stow, noted that upon their arrival, the ambassadors and assistants ‘were by certaine English Gentlemen conducted to Gravesend, and from thence ... towards London, where they were landed at the Tower wharffe ... from whence they were convayed in foure Coaches to the Royall Exchange.’ According to Stow, the visitors were ‘honourably entertained’ and were required to witness ‘Justing and other triumphs at Westminster.’37 Even those other travelers discussed in this volume, who cannot be designated ambassadors, but still served as mediators in a wider sense, had access to particular scenes, while others were denied to them. It is this tension between their status as privileged spectators, and the fact that what they witnessed was partial and incomplete that informs the nature of these travelers’ interactions with the foreign nations and their representation of it back home. Besides being subject to official displays of one sort or another, emissaries also set themselves up as ‘spectacles,’ and were keenly aware that they were being seen through the perspective of a judgmental and observant other. Gestures, ceremonies, and rituals carried tremendous symbolic weight for the emissary, who performed, as it were, on a global stage. As Cynthia Klekar writes, embassies in the early modern period invoked ‘a cross-cultural language of gift-exchange, reciprocity, and obligation that informed early modern conceptions of international trade and diplomacy.’38 Furthermore, as Loomba’s essay amply demonstrates, gift-giving, along with all manner of elaborate retinues, and receptions, were subject to misinterpretation and were marked by frequent disputes. Going by the accounts of John Finet, King James’ Master of Ceremonies, ambassadors were constantly taking exception to ‘differences of honour.’ In Finetti Philoxenes, his records of diplomatic visits to London, Finet notes that ‘his Majesty [...] had been often troubled with the Punctilious differences of Ambassadors about invitations, precedences and the like.’39 It is clear that the early modern English were aware that there was also something inherently theatrical about the enterprise of diplomacy as well as other kinds of intercultural transaction. In spite of his vision of the ideal ambassador as 36

Brown, 875. See p. 82 in this volume. 38 Cynthia Klekar, ‘“Prisoners in Silken Bonds”: Obligation, Trade, and Diplomacy in English Voyages to Japan and China.’ Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies 6.1 (2006): 84–105. 84 39 J ohn Finet, Finetti Philoxenes (London, 1656) 14, 59. 37



possessing ‘honour, virtue and experience’ Hotman is also aware that diplomacy involves theatrical performance. In diplomacy, as in theater, certain ‘actors’ play certain roles better than others ‘if he [i.e., the diplomat] be bleare-eyed crookeback, lame, or otherwise misshaped, it is certaine, that he will not be acceptable,’ he writes. He also explains that just any man cannot be sent on any mission, ‘an olde and melancholic man,’ for example, cannot be sent ‘to treate of a marriage with a young Princesse, and make love unto her in the behalfe of his Master.’40 T he theatrical aspect of diplomacy sometimes verged on the duplicitous. For example, the English ambassador at Tripoli advises the newly appointed consul Richard Forster to ‘give it out that you be crazed and not well-disposed, by means of your travel at sea, during which time, you and those there are most wisely to determine what manner you are to present yourself.’41 The fact that theatricality and the performance of identity become especially important in the context of negotiation with foreigners is a reminder that, in the face of encounters with the ‘other,’ categories such as ‘appearance’ and ‘reality,’ and ‘performed’ and ‘true’ identity are unsettled. In the context of complex and ever-changing alliances, identities are strategically constructed, and flexibility and adaptability are recognized as necessary in order to protect one’s own interests in the emerging economic and political order. Several authors in our collection are concerned with the performative quality of the emissary’s task and his fundamental dependence on theatrical metaphor. French agent Abbé Barthélemy Carré, the subject of Pompa Banerjee’s essay, is a perfect example, frequently reverting to the metaphors from the stage in his Le Courier de l’Orient. Describing his misfortunes in Persia the clergyman writes, ‘The first scene in this tragicomedy having thus ended, other actors entered who played their parts better than the first had’ (1:98). Later he adds, ‘But my comedy would not be perfect without a farce, which was to be played in this desert and retired spot’ (1:104). For Banerjee, the specific vocabulary of the theater in Carré’s narrative (scene, tragicomedy, actors, playing parts, comedy, and farce), ‘suggests that Carré is alert to the potential theatricality of his narrative persona: The emissary plays a part on the world stage; he recurrently passes as someone else.’42 The very process of communicating across cultural and linguistic barriers is also a reminder of the limits as well as the licenses of language as mediating technology. As Linda McJannet’s essay on the translator as emissary makes apparent, the very act of transferring meaning and translation involves negotiation with not only the intended receiver of the message but with language itself. Moreover, as Hannah, Chapelle Wojciehowski argues later in this volume, the emissary often functions as a story teller (or a ‘proto-novelist’ as she appropriately calls him),


Hotman, sig. C5r, B7r–B7v, B8r. Cited in Jean-Christopher Agnew, Worlds Apart: The Market and the Theater in Anglo-American Thought (New York: Cambridge UP, 1986) 101. 42 See p. 99 of this volume. 41

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self-consciously foregrounding ‘another’s speech in another’s language.’43 Like the emissary himself, the texts considered in the following essays do not simply translate reality but engage with it to transform it; they bear the imprint of their contexts but alter it in significant ways. It is significant that George Puttenham’s discussions of rhetorical ‘ornament’ in his Arte of English Poesie repeatedly focus on what constitutes appropriate speech in the realm of interstate negotiation. An emissary, writes Puttenham, should remember that ‘there is a measure to be used in a man’s speech or tale, so as it be neither for shortnesse too darke, nor for length too tedious.’ Further, he adds, ‘prowde speeches, and too much finesse and curiositie is not commendable in an ambassador.’ Puttenham also recounts an incident when an ambassador from Henry VIII incurred the wrath of the Charles V of Spain for the misuse of a word, which resulted ‘perchance by ignorance of the proprietie of the Spanish tongue.’ The lesson in rhetoric that Puttenham draws from this is that ‘ye may see how a word spoke undecently, not knowing the phrase of proprietie of a language maketh a whole matter many times miscarrie.’ His solution to this problem is that no ambassador ‘speake his principall commandments but in his own language, or in another as naturall to him as his owne.’44 While Puttenham is aware that translation is tricky business, especially susceptible to the transformation and transgression of language and meaning, the fact is that all manner of message-bearing is risky. The authority of the messenger derives from his claim to be transmitting the word of another, the very fact that he is a ‘stand in,’ a presence that substitutes for that which is absent is a reminder of the possibility of the interruption and going astray of intended meaning. In his reflections on the nature of envois Derrida expresses his desire for communication that would not deploy any intermediary, even that of language (‘I would like to address myself, in a straight line, directly, without courier, only to you’), and so would not run the risk of displacing meaning. ‘Getting out of hand’ is the very condition of the envoi. Meaning fails to reach its destination, or as Derrida puts it: ‘even in arriving ... the letter takes itself away from the arrival at arrival.’ This is a result of all correspondence that is public, deploys intermediaries, and so delivers itself up for scrutiny and misinterpretation. It is perhaps inherent in language itself because ‘within every sign already ... there is distancing.’45 Historically situated studies of the emissary such as the chapters that follow, attempt to locate this ‘distancing’ of meaning, the distortion and possible loss of meaning not only in the inherent ambiguity of the linguistic sign, but in the context of the communicative act—meaning is made or unmade, opacity or clarity are sometimes unintentionally and sometimes deliberately produced, in accordance with the peculiar dynamics and requirements of a specific intercultural transaction. See p. 170 in this volume. George Puttenham, The arte of English poesie Contriued into three bookes: the first of poets and poesie, the second of proportion, the third of ornament (London, 1589) 222, 226, 227. 45 Jacques Derrida. ‘From Envois.’ A Derrida Reader: Between The Blinds. Ed. Peggy Kamuf (New York: Columbia UP, 1991) 484–516. 489, 505. 43 44



The self-conscious and deliberate nature of the emissary also serves as a reminder of the function and purpose of narratives (literary and other), which themselves function as emissaries that strive to communicate and represent certain perceptions of the ‘real.’ Like the emissary the writer of literary texts appropriates and privileges language to fulfill his or her ends, entering into a contract with his or her reader that partly determines how the ‘message’ is read and understood. The ‘truth’ or reality of their content is less accessible to the modern reader than the reality of the location of the creator of the text. The fact that the narratives considered here are all informed by their writers’ awarenesses of ‘new worlds’ and their engagement with foreign and alien spaces is crucial. Space itself, as Michel de Certeau reminds us, is not simply a physical entity but discursively mapped and experienced by human beings.46 The globe in the early modern period was brought into being, as it were, both by human movements and discursive practices. Even as these texts that emerge from intercultural engagements are narratives of space, they are also simultaneously concerned with what Certeau calls ‘the space of the text.’ Texts contribute to the ‘determination or displacement of the boundaries delimiting cultural fields (the ‘familiar’ vs. the ‘strange’)’; they contribute to the ever-evolving making and remaking of racial, cultural, economic, and other social divisions. This function of the text is indistinguishable from the text’s creation of itself, its projection of its own reliability and credibility and it is ‘in fact the text’s reworking of space that simultaneously produces the space of the text.’47 T hese essays on intercultural contact are consequently interested in the production of meaning across cultural barriers, but also in how these barriers themselves are often produced or written into being. Finally, they are concerned with the ways in which texts that engage in these two processes also produce themselves, make a place for themselves as texts—as narratives that came to bear a peculiar weight and significance in both early modern and our own contemporary culture. While scholarship in the field of early modern global encounters has typically focused on England’s interactions with specific parts of the globe, this collection seeks a more historically nuanced approach. This volume examines the connections and interplay of discourses from different cultural domains and aims at understanding how various but interdependent modes of engagement with cultural alterity were practiced in the period. The essays here approach constructions of alterity that emerge from encounters with ‘otherness’ of more than one kind, and together attempt to emphasize the importance of drawing attention to the specificities of particular encounters, while considering these encounters in the context of global change and transformation.

Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life. Trans. Steven Rendell (Berkeley: U of California P, 1988). 47 Michel de Certeau, ‘Montaigne’s “Of Cannibals”: The Savage “I”.’ Heterologies: Discourse on the Other. Trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1997) 67–80. 68. 46

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Entitled Discourses of Diplomacy, the first section of this volume addresses a range of issues related to the theories, practices, and instruments of international mediation. Opening this section is Burton’s essay on ‘The Shah’s Two Ambassadors: The Travels of the Three English Brothers and the Global Early Modern,’ which posits the ambassador at the locus of early modern global and transcultural exchange. Burton’s readings of Persian and English materials on the S herley brothers and the S afavid embassy to Europe remind us that notions of what constitutes an ambassador are culture-specific. He proposes a mode of ‘reciprocal’ analysis where materials from multiple sources—domestic and foreign—inform and modify each other to complicate our understanding of early modern diplomacy. In the essay that follows, Loomba closely examines one of the most crucial instruments of mediation in the history of diplomacy—the gift. Entitled, ‘Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats: Diplomacy, Exchange, and Difference in Early Modern India,’ Loomba’s chapter makes a significant intervention in the vast body of literature on the gift that emerged in the wake of Mauss’s influential anthropological study. For Loomba, the tensions ensuing from Roe’s miscalculated gifts to the Mughal monarch cannot simply be reduced to a conflict between a gift economy (usually premodern and non-European) and an emerging monetary economy (usually modern and European). The differences between the commercial culture of Mughal India and Jacobean England, Loomba argues, cannot be understood in terms of the former being economically more ‘backward’ than the latter. ‘Rather, it is the very coevalness of the two worlds that exacerbates the distance between the two: the Mughals were more than capable of doing the same sums as the English, and calculating that the English gifts simply didn’t add up the value of trading privileges.’ With Vaughan’s essay we begin to see an important connection between theatricality and the ambassador’s role. In ‘Representing the King of Morocco,’ Vaughan reads Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud ben Mohammed Anoun’s visit to the Elizabethan court and John Pory’s translation of Leo Africanus’s Geographical Historie of Africa as possible inspirations for the many Moorish kings on the contemporary English stage. Of the essence in Vaughan’s enquiry into the nature of diplomacy is the hybrid nature of the ambassador. She focuses on a key moment in Africanus’s text, when he compares himself to a ‘wily bird’ called Amphibia, who strategically moved between ‘fishes of the sea’ and ‘fowles of the aire,’ depending on what was more expedient. For Vaughan, this episode speaks to the liminal spaces in which the ambassador must perform his identity. ‘Bridging cultural barriers between alien cultures, the ambassador is necessarily a hybrid figure who can dissimulate at will and successfully play both sides of the street,’ she argues.48 Banerjee’s essay on ‘Convents, Harems, and Abbé Carré’s le Courier de l’Orient’ provides us with an appropriate segue into the next section of our volume. Like the 48

See p. 79 in this volume.



Vaughan’s essay in Discourses of Diplomacy, Banerjee’s piece is concerned with the emissary’s intrinsically theatrical nature and function. ‘While distinguished envoys and courtiers such as Sir Thomas Roe and François Bernier performed in the glare of public scrutiny as diplomats and ambassadors,’ Banerjee notes, ‘lesserknown voyagers such as such as Carré performed equally complex missions in comparative obscurity as agents and emissaries.’49 For Banerjee, Carré’s narrative hinges on the recognition that successful agents are often fictional characters assuming different costumes in varied locations. It is the many roles that Carré performed—religious, commercial, political, and military—that make him a fitting figure in our section on Agents of Exchange. The essays in this part of our volume take up a group of emissaries, who much like Carré, participated in a variety of cross-cultural activities outside the immediate realm of diplomacy, and were yet thoroughly imbricated in diplomatic practices abroad. Barbara Sebek uses the phrase ‘ideologically vexed figures’ to describe the positionality of merchants’ factors or agents in her essay, a term that could just as easily be applied to any of the travelers, spies, merchants, and other agents in this section.50 Indeed it is the very indescribable, somewhat unfixed quality of these peripatetic agents that distinguishes them from the more official diplomats foregrounded in the first section of our volume. This confusion of categories and hierarchies is the subject of Sebek’s essay, which analyzes the relationship between factors and merchants. Entitled ‘“After my humble dutie remembered”: Factors and / versus Merchants,’ Sebek’s essay explores the ambiguous position of factors residing abroad, trading on behalf of their home-based merchants and companies. Highly prized for their knowledge of foreign languages, commercial instruments, and local conditions abroad, they were nevertheless chronically distrusted as servants and employees, precisely because of the ways in which they destabilized received notions of order and obedience. The fluid, even shifting identity of the emissary that forms the focus of this section is apparent in the very title of Aune’s essay, ‘Passengers, Spies, Emissaries, and Merchants: Travelers and Early Modern English Identity.’ He draws on the example of Henry Blount, whose efforts to blend into local cultures during his journeys through the Ottoman Empire, frequently meant that he was accused of being a spy. Aune shows how the emerging humanistic discourse of travel and its emphasis on categories and hierarchies sometimes conformed to and sometimes clashed with the material experiences of travel. Travel writers, in attempting to establish the stability of English identity for the benefit of their readers at home, freely deploy the self / other binary. ‘However, when the cross-cultural encounter is personal and when the Other is given a voice, however mediated, we can glimpse how identities became malleable and how alterity could be constituted as more than binary difference,’ Aune argues.51 49

See p. 96 of this volume. See p. 114 of this volume. 51 See p. 131 in this volume. 50


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Language, as we noted earlier, serves as a major mediating technology in intercultural exchange. Francis Bacon in his essay ‘Of Negotiating’ writes that ‘men of the plainer sort [who are] like to do that is committed to them’ and more importantly who are also likely ‘to report back again faithfully’ make the best negotiators.52 T he essays in Language and Technologies of Mediation focus on issues related to speech, translation, and other such modalities of exchange. However, they draw attention to the fact that language is never a neutral or transparent medium of transmission and that the acts of reporting and messagebearing are more fraught than Bacon would have them be. Linda McJannet’s essay on ‘The Translator as Emissary: Continental Works about the Ottomans in England’ starts off this section. McJannet posits the translators of continental ethnographies as emissaries, who shaped the discourses concerning the Ottomans that circulated in early modern England. Her emphasis on the communication of ideas across cultural and linguistic borders informs Hannah Chapelle Wojciehowski’s ‘The Queen of Onor and her Emissaries: Fernão Mendes Pinto’s Dialogue with India.’ Using the Bakhtinian idea of heteroglossia and double-voiced discourse, Wojciehowski gives voice to the concealed ‘others’ in the seemingly monologic texts of Portuguese colonial discourse on India. Wojciehowski’s essay (like Banerjee’s in the previous section) focuses on non-English figures and narratives (Fernão Mendes, the central figure in Wojciehowski’s essay is Portuguese, while Abbé Barthélemy Carré in Banerjee’s piece is French). This move away from specifically English narratives is useful in that it reminds us that European powers were in fierce competition for trading and other privileges in the East. Besides, it also draws attention to the ways in which one form of cultural interaction (Indo-Portuguese, Anglo-Indian or Indo-English) impacted another. Many European narratives were also translated into English and proved influential in that they too contributed to English constructions of cultural difference. In the essay that follows Wojciehowski’s, Marianne Montgomery makes audible, as it were, another kind of dialog—a staged one. Focusing on the speech of foreign characters on the English stage, ‘Listening to the Emissary in Thomas Middleton’s No Wit, No Help Like a Woman’s’ is especially concerned with the figure of the Dutch merchant in the play. Montgomery situates this character as a double emissary: not only is he a reliable reporter of events abroad by virtue of his occupation, but his mastery of both Dutch and English brings him into linguistic proximity with his English audience. The focus on the transmission of information and ideas in our section on Language and Technologies of Mediation anticipates some of the major concerns in the last section of our volume. If the first three sections are more obviously concerned with human agents—ambassadors, spies, travelers, factors, merchants— the final section of our volume shifts to a more abstract conception of the emissary. 52 Francis Bacon, The Essays or Counsels Civil and Moral (New York: Doubleday, 1965) 133.



T he essays in Transmission and Transformation examine how exchange and negotiation lead to transformation and creation of identity. In doing so, they also look at the variable and complex ways in which continuity and discontinuity, community and difference are established. The essays in this section, along with those by Burton, Montgomery, Sebek, and Vaughan in earlier sections, are also interested in ways that literary texts work as sites where intercultural contact is performed and simultaneously function as mediators between the foreign and the familiar, the world and the audience. They are also interested in how these texts come into dialogue with nonliterary texts, which might belong to the same ‘discursive field.’ They examine how movement across generic boundaries shapes material and how, in Stephen Greenblatt’s words, ‘boundaries were marked between cultural practices understood to be art forms and other, contiguous forms of expression.’53 These studies attempt to understand how the early modern text functioned as an emissary—a means of mediation and negotiation—in more ways than one, a connection borne out in the etymological similarities between karyx the Greek word for herald and ‘karu’ the Sanskrit word for poet / bard.54 In ‘“Backward and Abysm of Time”: Negotiating with the Dead in The Tempest,’ Brinda Charry deals with the flow of scientific thought from East to West. 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. She then considers Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest, as a narrative in which a Eurocentric discourse of cultural, intellectual, and moral systems of knowledge is produced through the suppression of difference. Her challenge to Eurocentric modes of thought highlights some of the larger issues of this volume, as a whole. Following Charry’s essay, we conclude this book with Sheila Cavanagh’s piece, ‘“Thrown from the Rock”: Emissaries as Midwives and Impediments of a New World.’ Like Charry, Cavanagh examines the shaping and transformation of worlds by acts of travel and transmission. She studies the critical influence of messengers, both human and otherworldly, in Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania and their role as midwives to the expanded political world that is growing throughout the Urania. 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, 1988) 5. 54 P. Chantraine, Dictionnaire Etymologique de la Langue Grecque (Paris: Klincksieck, 1968).


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to foreground. We thus end by looking at the emissary’s role in the making and unmaking of both old worlds and new. 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. 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. 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.

PART 1 Discourses of Diplomacy

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Chapter 1

The Shah’s Two Ambassadors: The Travels of the Three English Brothers and the Global Early M odern J onathan Burton

In July of 1599 Shah Abbas I dispatched an embassy from Isfahan to promote a strategic alliance between Safavid Persia and Christian Europe. Bearing the Shah’s gifts and message, his ambassador was to travel across the Caspian, north to Moscow before continuing on a journey with stops in Prague, Venice, Rome, Valladolid, and Lisbon. The ambassador’s 42-man entourage, comprised of Persian, English, Italian, French, Dutch, and Portuguese subjects, was to present a model of Perso-Christian cooperation before Pope Clement VII and the Hapsburg courts. His rich gifts were to persuade Europe’s prevailing commercial and military powers that opposing the Ottomans would bring both economic benefits and increased security. 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. Featured in these narratives were episodes of conversion, deceit, intrigue, theft, imprisonment, and murder. 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. Another report insists that Sir Anthony was merely a puffed-up adjunct to the Shah’s true ambassador, Hussein Ali Beg. ‘The uncertain status of the two emissaries,’ Samuel Chew notes, ‘is amusingly indicated in an extant  In addition to the various references to the Sherleys in letters, newsletters, and journals, the remarkable archive of ‘Shirleiana’ includes the following major accounts: the anonymous True Report of Sir Anthony Shierlies Journey (London, 1600); Sir Anthony Sherley His Relation of His Travels into Persia (London, 1613); William Parry, A New and Large Discourse of the Travels of Sir Anthony Sherley (London, 1601); George Manwaring, A True Discourse of Sir Anthony Sherley’s Travels into Persia (1601); Don Juan of Persia, Relaçiones de Don Juan de Persia (1604); Anthony Nixon, The Three English Brothers (London, 1607); John Cartwright, The Preacher’s Travels (London, 1611); Abel Pinçon, Relation d’un Voyage faict es annees 1598 et 1599 in Relations Veritables et Curieuses (Paris, 1651).


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letter in which Sherley is described as ambassador: the word ‘ambassador’ has been stricken out of the text and then reinserted in the margin.’ What is certain is that arguments between the Shah’s two ‘ambassadors’ dogged the embassy as late as its arrival in Rome, where the two claimants came to blows on the steps of a Vatican palazzo. Attempts to corroborate the conflicting accounts share a tendency to ignore rather than account for contradictory evidence, and as a result one strain of critical narratives is through repetition compounded into ‘History’ while another effectively dissolves in neglect. Key differences in the various stories of the Shah’s two ambassadors can be explained by a failure, both on the part of early modern authors and contemporary critics, to consider how notions of an embassy or ambassador can be specific to particular cultures. 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. Of course, since the embassy’s English contingent numbered 15 men, it is not surprising that its story entered into English lore and even inspired a stage play, John Day, William Rowley, and George Wilkins’s The Travels of the Three English Brothers (1607), commissioned by Anthony Sherley’s brother Thomas. Nor is it without cause that, despite its inconsistencies, its dubious  Samuel C. Chew, The Crescent and the Rose: Islam and England during the Renaissance (New York: Oxford UP, 1937) 271.  Among those early modern texts that credit the Englishman Anthony Sherley and efface any Persian motives for the 1599 embassy are manuscripts by Abel Pinçon and George Manwaring, and the printed accounts of William Parry, Anthony Nixon, and Sherley himself. Twentieth-century critics reproducing this idea include Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response (New York: Oxford UP, 2002) 12; Nasrin Rahimieh, Missing Persians: Discovering Voices in Iranian Cultural History (Ithaca, NY: Syracuse UP, 2001) 26; and Anthony Parr, ‘Foreign Relations in Jacobean England: the Sherley Brothers and the “voyage of Persia’” in Ed. M. Willems and J.P. Maquerlot, Travel and Drama in Shakespeare’s Time (New York: Cambridge UP, 1996) 14–3. Samuel Chew acknowledges that Abbas made overtures to Christian princes as early as 1580, 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 (250, 259, 273). Others recognizing that the Persians had motives but crediting Sherley with animating dormant aspirations include D .W. D avies, Elizabethans Errant (Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1967); and Jan Steensgaard, Carracks, Caravans and Companies: The Structural Crisis in the European-Asian Trade in the Early 17th Century (Lund, Denmark: Studentlitteratur, 1973). Of course historians of Safavid Persia recognize that the 1599 embassy was one (and not the first) in a series of Persian diplomatic gestures exploring relations with European powers. See, for example, Rudi Matthee, ‘Between Aloofness and Fascination: Safavid Views of the West’ Iranian Studies 31.2 (Spring 1998): 219–46. That Safavid history remains outside of the purview of scholars of English literature is part of the problem this essay will address.

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characters, and the obvious self-aggrandizement of its principal English player, the story of the Persian embassy and its dramatic incarnation has been incorporated into English histories where it is characterized as ‘part of a process ... defining the challenge of empire.’ Y et, obvious as it sounds, the story of the Persian embassy is not only a story about England. It is also a story about Safavid Persia’s global aspirations and its own drive to modernization, although these elements are regularly undervalued in histories that exclude non-English sources and/or reflexively work backward from the age of high imperialism and ‘the Great Game.’ Taking the case of the Shah’s two ambassadors as a working example, this essay will consider the significance of Safavid histories and institutions in order to indicate how non-English sources can inform, and even modify, our accounts of early modern English literature. 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. 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. Even the literature of old world encounters, whether between the English and the Ottomans, the Persians, or the Chinese—all highly literate cultures—is routinely assessed in light of English texts alone. What comparative criticism exists tends to hold as sacred the boundaries of Area Studies or traditional Comparative Literature, drawing together only European authors such as Richard Hakluyt and Luis de Camôes, Edmund Spenser and Torquato Tasso, or Francis Bacon and Michel de Montaigne. As a result, entire genres are imagined to be singularly, essentially Western, while their global forms are ignored or dismissed as unrelated. In the case of Muslim cultures such as Safavid Persia, this tendency has nourished the misconception of a culture aloof to and fatally uninterested in the Anthony Parr, ‘Foreign Relations,’ 19. The term, ‘the Great Game,’ was used in English writings to describe the 19th-century conflict between the British and Russian empires for control over Central Asia.  For the transmission of classical culture via the Muslim world, see William Dalrymple, ‘Foreword’ to Gerald MacLean (ed.), Re-Orienting the Renaissance (New York: Palgrave, 2006); Maria Rosa Menocal, The Arabic Role in Medieval Literary History (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1987); and Dorothy Metlitzki, The Matter of Araby in Medieval England. For an example of scholarship that acknowledges the debts of Renaissance literature to the East, see Walter Cohen’s discussion of Cervantes in, ‘The Literature of Empire in the Renaissance’ Modern Philology 102:1 (August 2004): 1–34.  For an expansion of this point, see Sanjay Subrahmanyam, ‘On World Historians in the Sixteenth Century’ Representations 91 (Summer 2005): 26–57. One recent and noteworthy exception to the practice of ignoring Eastern texts in the analysis of English literature is Linda McJannet’s The Sultan Speaks: Dialogue in English Plays and Histories about the Ottoman Turks (New York: Palgrave, 2006). See also Jonathan Burton, Traffic and Turning, Islam and English Drama, 1579–1624 (Newark: U of Delaware P, 2005) 38–52.  

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West. This is a fallacy that even today continues to support arguments concerning the absolute difference of Islam and the West. Thus, after claiming that Abbas sent letters to Europe only at the suggestion of the Sherley brothers, Bernard Lewis proceeds to account for Muslims’ ‘seething anger’ toward the West by offering a history that begins with early modern Islamic disinterest in the West, which in turn enabled Europe to outpace Muslim cultures that would, as a result, feel indignation and resentment. It is ironic, if not remarkable, that accounts of a Persian embassy to the West can reproduce the notion of Muslim peoples lacking a spirit of curiosity toward the West. Yet this is precisely the notion that emerges in most of the writings surrounding the misadventures of Sir Anthony Sherley. Critics have long recognized that Sir Anthony was ‘an inveterate and unscrupulous intriguer, a sententious hypocrite devoid of all real sentiment, being incapable of single-minded devotion to any person or cause.’ Still, none have bothered to collate his account, those produced by his countrymen, or the play commissioned by his brother Thomas, with the Relaçiones of Uruch Beg, a Persian Secretary who traveled with the embassy until converting to Catholicism in Spain (long after Sherley himself had abandoned the delegation). If turning to non-English texts such as the Relaçiones is immediately useful in interrogating the individual narratives of English writers, it is more generally significant as a means of cross-examining the cultural narratives that associate Europe alone with mercantilism, empire, and ultimately modernity itself. Thus in the remainder of this essay I will approach the various texts concerning the Shah’s embassy to Europe as an opportunity not only to measure the alleged protoimperialism of Day, Rowley, and Wilkins’s play but more generally to reexamine in a global context relationships between early modern structures of thought and institutions of the age of high empire. 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. What makes this the ‘early modern’ period, the argument goes, is the phenomenon of an ‘industrious revolution,’ a period of proto-industrialism preparing the way for the later Industrial Revolution. 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, 151–60. For critiques of this theory, see Subrahmanyam, ‘On World Historians ...’ 44–5; Matthee, ‘Between Aloofness and Fascination.’  E. D ennison R oss, Anthony Sherley, His Persian Adventure (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1933) 86. Samuel Chew, The Crescent and the Rose (New York: Oxford UP, 1937), says of Sir Anthony, ‘His impudence was colossal, his self-conceit fantastic’ (239). 

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the formation of longer histories that take in the triple juggernauts of capitalism, state formation, and empire. 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. Certainly there is a good deal of merit to these arguments, particularly those that stress England’s occupation of Ireland and its interest in developing new export markets. 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. The study of geography, one critic argues, helped the English to ‘begin to think of ways to increase the possibility of England’s foray into outward imperialism.’10 For others, travel writing, ‘bears the marks of a colonial imagination,’ deploying the kinds of ‘tropes, fantasies, [and] rhetorical structures’ that would ‘later consolidate and justify full-blown colonialism.’11 When it is acknowledged that beyond the British Isles actual imperial ventures were largely failures, it is argued that the representation of failures celebrated an English anti-materialism and thus became a ‘causal force’ for a ‘peculiar otherworldly expansionism.’12 Even when it is acknowledged that imperialism is virtually nonexistent in the period’s literary works, it is suggested that the imperial theme was not so much absent as it was nonmimetic, ‘registered in nonrepresentational terms,’ in an imaginative, cultural, psychological, philosophical, cosmological, and scientific ‘sense of expansiveness.’13 In short, we have gone from an ‘empire nowhere,’ to the conclusion that empire, in early modern English writing, is everywhere. 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. Thus we recognize how early modern structures of thought could be complicit in later practices, and that England’s keen interest in the Spanish and Ottoman empires came in part out of an envy that produced both emulation and disavowal.14 On the other hand, by pointing toward an imperial rhetoric in early modern writings we risk obscuring the power and sophistication of Eastern 10

Lesley Cormack, ‘Britannia Rules the Waves?: Images of Empire in Elizabethan England,’ Early Modern Literary Studies 4.2 (September 1998): 10. A related argument appears in Bruce McLeod, The Geography of Empire in English Literature, 1580–1745 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999) 1–31. 11 Ivo Kamps and J yotsna S ingh, Travel Knowledge: European ‘Discoveries’ in the Early Modern Period (New York: Palgrave, 2001) 2–3. 12 J effrey Knapp, An Empire Nowhere: England, America and Literature from Utopia to the Tempest (Berkeley, CA: U of California P, 1992) 18, 7. 13 Cohen, ‘The Literature of Empire in the Renaissance,’ 6. 14 For a discussion of ‘imperial envy,’ see Gerald MacLean, ‘Ottomanism before Orientalism? Bishop King Praises Henry Blount, Passenger in the Levant’ in Ed. Kamps and S ingh, Travel Knowledge 85–96.


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empires, the relative weakness of England on the global stage, as well as the parts of ecology and demographics in facilitating English advances. Not only can this make the ‘rise of Europe’ and especially the British Empire seem more preordained than it was contingent, it draws our attention away from dynamic, innovative Eastern cultures, contributing to a misguided sense that the European Renaissance inaugurated modernization (when it would be more accurate to argue that the Renaissance inaugurated westernization). In recent debates in the field of world history, scholars have begun a ‘historiographical recentering’ designed to interrogate established narratives of continuity, or proto-modernization.15 Most significant among their revisions has been a widespread rejection of the tendency to measure civilizations on the basis of their successful adoption of European modernity. 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.16 Dubbed ‘reciprocal comparison’ by Kenneth Pomeranz, this method seeks to dislodge European categories of analysis from their privileged positions as organizing and hence universalizing themes in world history. 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.17 Thus, in the work of both Pomeranz and R. Bin Wong for example, the point is not to indicate why by the nineteenth century, the British and not the Chinese became the world’s leading industrial power, but rather to display how both Chinese and British paths beyond the early modern appear as ‘deviations when seen through the expectations of the other.’18 15 S anjay S ubrahmanyam, Explorations in Connected History: From the Tagus to the Ganges (London and New York: Oxford UP, 2005) 24. 16 Phillip Curtin, Cross-Cultural Trade in World History (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1984); Joseph Fletcher, ‘Integrative History: Parallels and Interconnections in the Early Modern Period, 1500–1800’ in Journal of Turkish Studies 9 (1985): 37–57; Marshall H odgson, Rethinking World History: Essays on Europe, Islam, and World History (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993). It should be pointed out that Hodgson, in spite of his methodological innovations and particularly his demonstration of European dependence on crucial Asian inventions and markets, undoes many of his own claims by crediting the Industrial Revolution to ‘bourgeouis morality’ and a European tendency toward and institutionalization of rational innovation (51–6). 17 I borrow the term from The New World History. Ed. Ross E. Dunn (New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000). 18 Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (Princeton: Princeton UP, 2000) 8. Though Pomeranz coins the term ‘reciprocal comparison, the method is first elaborated in R. Bin Wong, China Transformed: Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1997) 1–7.

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For Pomeranz, Bin Wong, Andre Gunder Frank, Frank Perlin, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, and others, our understanding of the ‘rise of the West’ is fundamentally altered by the simultaneous study of Eastern civilizations that, in their similarities with Europe, ‘invite a reexamination of European history in which its development can be placed in a world historical context, and in the process, deexceptionalized.’19 Assertions of a worldly and forward-looking early modern East denaturalize Western hegemony and challenge us to rethink what allowed early modern Britain to distinguish itself in its innovatory rise to industrial nationalism. In place of Marx’s global division of labor and ‘Asiatic mode of production,’ Weber’s ‘Protestant work ethic,’ and the English exceptionalism of E.L. Jones and Eric Hobsbawn, the New World History insists upon the importance of ecology, geography, and demographics to produce a history of modernity that is, as Subrahmanyam asserts, ‘global and conjunctural, not a history in which Europe alone first produces and then exports modernity to the world at large.’20 In drawing our attention more closely to the non-European world then, the New World History helps us to unfasten the early modern from the modern, and the modern from the West, or at the very least to see the consequences of conjoining each.

Bin Wong returns to the concept in a more recent article, ‘Early Modern Economic History in the Long Run’ Science & Society, 68:1 (Spring 2004): 80–90. For Pomeranz, the explanation for Britain’s imperial primacy lies not in some genius for innovation peculiar to British culture, but rather in ‘geographical accidents’ that allowed Britain to transcend ecological ‘bottlenecks’ posed by simple limits on the quantity of land (thus limiting food, energy, textiles, fuel). Put simply, Britain’s abundant supply of coal, and its access to New World resources, ‘obviated the need to manage land intensively’ (13). There are problems with Pomeranz’s argument, not the least of which is the way his emphasis on ‘geographic good luck’ (12) downplays the human elements that convert coal into energy, forests into timber, and men into slaves. Particularly salient critiques of The Great Divergence appear in P.H. Vries, ‘Are Coal and Colonies Really Crucial? Kenneth Pomeranz and The Great Divergence’ Journal of World History 12:2 (Fall 2001): 407–46 and Prasabnan Parthsarathi, ‘The Great Divergence,’ Past and Present 176 (2002): 275–93. 19 Edmund Burke, ‘Marshall G.S. Hodgson and World History,’ Introduction to Rethinking World History, xv. Gunder Frank argues for the centrality of China in ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age (Berkeley: U of California P, 1998). Perlin’s research in ‘Proto-Industrialization and Pre-Colonial South Asia,’ Past and Present 98 (February 1983), revised our picture of early modern India, demonstrating significant parallels with historical developments in Europe. A related argument concerning the role of Persian ‘portfolio capitalists’ appears in Sanjay Subrahmanyam, ‘Iranians Abroad: Intra-Asian Elite Migration and Early Modern State Formation’ The Journal of Asian Studies 51:2 (May 1992): 340–63. See also, Subrahmanyam, ‘On World Historians in the Sixteenth Century.’ 20 Karl Marx, The German Ideology (1845); Max Weber, The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), E.L. Jones, The European Miracle (1981); Eric Hobsbawn, The Age of Empire (1987); Subrahmanyam, ‘On World Historians,’ 28. Also useful here is Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton: Princeton UP, 2000) 6–9.

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In the case of the Shah’s two ambassadors, reciprocal comparison allows us to understand better how conflicting accounts emerged, as well as how they have been evaluated and synthesized in broad historical narratives. Thus it enables us to evaluate with new eyes scholarship that places Day, Rowley, and Wilkins’s play in a history of British imperial progress. Putting to work ‘strategies of evaluation that avoid privileging European categories of analysis and dynamics of historical change,’ we can discover how a unilaterally European notion of ambassadors has shaped previous critical engagements with a multicultural history, and consider the potential scope of alternative readings.21 Anthony Sherley, Knight, Adventurer, Ambassador The Travels of the Three English Brothers interweaves the misadventures of Thomas, Anthony, and Robert Sherley. 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. 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. Some background to Anthony Sherley’s life is useful here. Although he proved a capable soldier, Sir Anthony’s ambitions typically exceeded both his means and talents. His extravagance meant that he was in and out of debt for much of his life; the order of his knighthood, conferred by the French King Henry IV, was acknowledged to be of little esteem, but rankled Queen Elizabeth enough to result in Sir Anthony’s imprisonment; his attempts at privateering cost the family its fortune; and when, in 1598, he was sent to foment the Spanish-Italian conflict over Ferrara, Sherley found himself still in Augsburg when the situation was resolved. 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. His successful disruption of Spanish-Persian relations and the promise of a new Anglo-Persian trade would, he calculated, overshadow any liberties taken and ensure a hero’s welcome upon his return to England. In fact, Sir Anthony would never regain the crown’s favor and never set foot on English land again, despite the efforts made by his brother Thomas and his heroic presentation in Day, Rowley, and Wilkins’s play. 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. Although he is newly arrived, Sir Anthony has already impressed the Governor of Qasvin, who has 21

Bin Wong, China Transformed 2.

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passed along word of the Englishman’s ‘fair demeanour’ to Shah Abbas, here referred to as ‘the Sophy.’22 Thus, upon his victorious return from battle, the Sophy dispenses with customary ceremonies of deference whereby a guest is to kiss his foot. Instead, he gives Sherley his hand and offers a show of ‘the manner of our Persian wars’ (i. 43). When Sherley and his brother Robert in turn present a spectacle designed, Anthony explains, to ‘shadow forth my country’s hardiment’ (i. 64), the Sophy identifies two key differences between Persian and English warfare. First, whereas the Persians impale the heads of the vanquished on stakes, the English take captives, a difference that leads the Sophy to exclaim, ‘We never heard of honour until now’ (i. 110). Second, where the Persians use ‘hardy strokes’ (i. 58) of the sword in combat, the English so impress Abbas with their firearms, ‘high tongues of war / Whose thunder ne’er was heard in Persia’ (i. 21–22) that he wonders aloud whether Sherley ‘hast godhead, and disguised art come / To teach us unknown rudiments of war’ (i. 125–126). 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.23 Thus the circumstances drawn into comparison are out-and-out historical distortions that preclude any useful conclusions. This is not a case of reciprocal comparison, but rather a skewed verification of Persia’s deficiency in the moral and technical qualities of the normative Englishman. Thus while Sir Anthony assures the Sophy that Persians and Englishmen ‘may be the other’s anatomy’ (i. 166), the play imagines a continuum of civility and expertise along which the English far outstrip the Persians. Accordingly, when the Sherleys demonstrate their superior valor while leading the Persians in battle against a blustering Ottoman Sultan, one Persian concedes, ‘Our nation’s custom shall be awed by you’ (ii. 143). 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. Consequently, the Sophy himself defers to Anthony’s proposal to, ‘make league with Christendom ... And crave their general aid against the Turk’ (ii. 241–3, emphasis mine). 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. The Sophy hence determines that ‘Late Sherley knight, [is] now Lord Ambassador, / Chief in commission with Duke Halibeck’ (ii. 267–8), a Persian John Day, William Rowley, and George Wilkins, The Travels of Three English Brothers in Ed. A nthony Parr, Three Renaissance Travel Plays (New York: Manchester UP, 1995) i. 11. All future references to this play will be cited parenthetically. The term ‘Sophy’ was a common Anglicization of ‘Safi’ or ‘Safavi,’ the dynasty that ruled Persia from 1449 to 1736. 23 See Manwaring’s account, reprinted in Ross. Anthony Parr, ‘Foreign Relations,’ 24. 22


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courtier, and two very brief scenes follow depicting the diplomatic mission. 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. In a 48-line Russian episode, Halibeck spreads rumors of Sherley’s ‘low birth, base manners, and defects’ (iv. 15), and accuses him before the Russian Imperial court of being ‘a fugitive ... a spy, a pirate, and a thief’ (iv. 21). A chorus at the opening of scene five informs us that ‘Sir Anthony was ... imprisoned’ (v. 1), but swiftly released and ‘graced by the Muscovian emperor’ (v. 19) when found to be ‘sprung from honourable stock’ (v. 14). 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. Sir Anthony’s two remaining scenes are set in Venice and also feature the conflict with Halibeck. Here Halibeck is joined in his scheming by the moneylender Zariph, a Jew patterned on Shylock and Barabas but more treacherous than either in his rapacious appetite for ‘a banquet of Christian flesh’ (ix. 23). In these scenes, Anthony awaits money from Persia to repay a loan from Zariph used to purchase a gem for the Sophy. When the Sophy’s payment is secretly intercepted by Halibeck, Anthony is threatened by the Jew’s desire to ‘tear him piecemeal / And devour him raw’ (x. 51–2). Yet just prior to his detention, an unusual debate arises concerning the origins of music. While Zariph insists that ‘the art was first revealed to Tubal Cain, / Good Hebrew,’ Sir Anthony points out that various cultures make their own claims: ‘The Grecians do allow Pythagoras, / The Thracians give it to their Orpheus’ (x. 74–5). Sir Anthony’s point would seem to offer an argument for cultural relativism and even reciprocal comparison, but that impulse is cut off when a group of performers enter to begin their play and are in turn cut short by the entrance of officers come to arrest Sir Anthony. Thus where rival theories favoring various cultures might have been weighed, we are instead left with the ‘envious knave’ (xi. 106) Halibeck’s scheme to abandon the embassy and ‘return to Persia where he will ‘invent such tales / As shall remove [from Sir Anthony] the Sophy’s further love’ (x. 58–9). 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? Anthony Sherley, Charlatan, Scoundrel, Murderer Archival materials concerning Sir Anthony are available in relative abundance. There are three English accounts penned prior to the play’s 1607 publication, depicting in piecemeal fashion Sherley’s travels between 1598 and 1601. The first, published in 1600, was the anonymous A True Report of Sir Anthony Sherley’s Journey. Containing only a transcript of Sir Anthony’s oration to the Shah, and the safe conduct and letters of commission he allegedly received in return, the True Report runs a mere 10 pages and tells nothing of the actual embassy. It was

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swiftly suppressed by an Elizabethan government that undoubtedly saw Sherley’s unauthorized dealings with the Shah as a threat to the stability of Anglo-Ottoman commercial and diplomatic relations. The second, A New and Large Discourse of the Travels of Sir Anthony Sherley, appeared a year later in 1601, authored by William Parry, one of six gentleman attendants that accompanied Sherley as far as Russia. The third is a manuscript account of Anthony’s attendant, George Manwaring, which ends with the company’s departure from Persia. A French account, also in manuscript, is available in the journal kept by Anthony’s chief steward, Abel Pinçon, though this too is cut short, ending with the party’s arrival in Russia. One fuller account of Sherley’s travels appeared in 1607, concurrent with the publication of Day, Rowley, and Wilkins’ play. According to its author Anthony Nixon, The Three English Brothers, was written on the basis of notes, likely received from Thomas who appears to have commissioned this work as a part of the same public relations campaign that produced Day, Rowley, and Wilkins’s play. Finally, in 1613 Anthony’s own account was published under the title, Sir Anthony Sherley, His Relations of his Travels into Persia. These various texts have been sifted with other corroborating evidence by E. Dennison Ross, Samuel Chew, D.W. Davies, and considered most recently in relation to the play by Anthony Parr, the editor of the 1995 Revels edition.24 None however, have much of anything to say about the account of Don Juan of Persia.25 If Don Juan’s name brings to mind the picaresque, in fact his account suggests that Sir Anthony was the pίcaro. Originally Uruch Beg, Don Juan was one of four secretaries attached to the Persian Ambassador Hussein Ali Beg, the play’s Halibeck. 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. Ross admits that the Relaçiones of D on J uan is a very important and interesting work, but he treats it in only one paragraph, observing that Don Juan ‘always takes the part of his fellow countryman against Anthony in the disputes which arose between these two envoys.’26 Not surprisingly, Ross’s explanation is less impartial than he maintains, for Manwaring always takes Anthony’s part, and Ross reproduces his account in full. But what is to be gained by a reciprocal comparison of the English texts concerning Anthony Sherley and Don Juan’s Relaçiones? Reciprocal comparison seeks not to clarify the truth of the past so much as it calls our attention to culture24 E. D ennison R oss, Anthony Sherley, His Persian Adventure; D.W. Davies, Elizabethans Errant; Parr, Three Renaissance Travel Plays and ‘Foreign Relations.’ 25 In a nearly 50-page account of Anthony Sherley, Chew includes only a single paragraph on the Relaçiones dismissed as ‘curious and entertaining’ (262). Davies makes similar use of Don Juan, referring to him four times and only to corroborate points made by others. Parr’s introduction to The Travels of the Three English Brothers refers to Don Juan just once, in order to confirm the number of Uzbeks killed and decapitated by the Persian army. 26 Ross xxiii– xxiv.

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specific categories of analysis and thus challenges us to rethink historical narratives and their explanations of what allowed events to transpire. A thorough reciprocal comparison would then ask both why does Don Juan of Persia’s account differ from English accounts, and why do English accounts differ from Don Juan’s? (The difference between these questions lies in the fact that each presumes a norm from which an other deviates.) For lack of space, I will perform a truncated version of this process in order to rethink Anthony Parr’s conclusion, which ignores Don Juan almost entirely while locating The Travels of the Three English Brothers and the various English texts on Anthony Sherley ‘within a larger narrative of national enterprise ... [where] they become part of a process of shaping public attitudes to exotic experience and defining the challenge of empire.’27 For Parr, ‘It is clear that the British imperial idea ... is being canvassed in embryonic form in these texts.’28 But what happens when we ask why these accounts differ from Don Juan’s? What happens when the grand narrative of British imperialism is replaced with the grand narrative of a Persian Golden Age under Abbas I?29 To begin, we might usefully consider the position of ambassador, which appears to lie at the heart of the story. Here, a proper reciprocal comparison involves providing what Dipesh Chakrabarty calls ‘plural or conjoined genealogies for our analytical categories.’30 Thus, the term ‘ambassador’ must not be imagined ‘to have transcended the fragment of European history in which it may have originated,’ or in which it signifies for Anglo-American readers.31 A Persian ambassador, or safir, most often carried gifts or letters as a confirmation of already existing relationships. He did not negotiate diplomatic relations himself, nor did he stay on for extended periods in foreign courts. The safir was typically one of multiple envoys sent to a single location, a practice Abbas implemented as part of his ongoing efforts ‘to establish a variety of links—economic, political and cultural—by which to strengthen ties to the West’ and redirect trade away from Ottoman dominated ports.32 As opposed to European ambassadors who relied on the ancient Roman 27

Parr, ‘Foreign Relations,’ 19. Ibid. 30. 29 For a discussion of the ‘total reorganization’ of Persia coinciding with the reign of A bbas I, see R oger S avory, Iran under the Safavids (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1980). Savory emphasizes four major changes that allowed Abbas to consolidate state power: (1) the creation of a force of Georgian, Circassian, and Armenian soldiers proficient in the use of firearms; (2) a reorganization of the land tax system; (3) a resettlement of populations featuring the settlement of Armenian traders in urban Iran; and (4) a drastic reorganization and state centralization of trade, and particularly the silk trade. See also, John Foran, Fragile Resistance: Social Transformation in Iran from 1500 to the Revolution (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993) 35; R ula J urdi A bisaab, Converting Persia: Religion and Power in the Safavid Empire (New York: I.B. Tauris and Co., 2004) 54; and Andrew Newman, Safavid Iran: Rebirth of a Persian Empire (London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2006) 61. 30 Chakrabarty, 20. 31 Ibid. 17. 32 Newman, Safavid Iran 61. 28

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law of nations to safeguard their well-being, Persian safirs might expect insult and harm, as was regularly the case in Perso-Ottoman relations where envoys had their beards forcibly shaved off as a retort to their objectionable messages.33 T his explains why safirs, like Hussein Ali Beg, a Qizilbash qurchi, or royal life-guard, were typically low-ranking officials with a limited view of their role.34 Compared with the responsibilities of Henry Lello, who served as England’s ambassador in Istanbul from 1597 to 1607, the safir performed only ceremonial functions. This is, therefore, a distinctly different post than the European ambassador who was to be wealthy and learned, so that he might impress others with his deportment and bring ‘insight and facility to the negotiation of treat[ies and] ... many matters that fall out in diverse places, as for example, of the right of succession of princes, of the difference of borders, of taking booties of prisoners, reprisals, and of sea matters ...’35 The position for which Sir Anthony wrangled then was not at all the position English readers would have in mind upon reading accounts of his embassy. Thus upon applying just one category of analysis with Persian, rather than English roots, we learn two important things: first, whatever his position was with the embassy, Sherley was not an ‘ambassador’ as we think of the term; and second, in employing the Englishman, Abbas was not deferring to Sherley’s experience and worldliness but rather using him to display his own.36 Before considering how the distinction between safir and ambassador matters to any reading of The Travels of the Three English Brothers, I wish to turn first to Don Juan’s Relaçiones, a text that also uses the term ‘ambassador’ (ambajadore, an issue to which I will return later), but which is at variance with English sources in several noteworthy regards. Unlike those English accounts that ground Anthony’s travels in his connections to the militant Elizabethan War Party, Don Juan’s text instead provides a backdrop of Safavid history that culminates in Shah Abbas’ defeat of the Uzbeks just prior to Anthony’s arrival. Within the Persian narrative then, Anthony’s arrival comes at an opportune time for Persian plans, and Abbas takes further advantage of his eager visitor to steer their conversations into military reconnaissance. Unlike English texts that figure the Persians as static until moved by Anthony’s proposals, we learn that Abbas has long contemplated a league with 33 The Law of Nations as it pertains to an ambassador is outlined in Jean Hotman, The Ambassadour (London: Valentine Simmes, 1603) H2r–I1r. Don Juan of Persia describes insults and injuries involving envoys between the Shah and the Ottoman S ultan in Don Juan of Persia: A Shi’ah Catholic, 1560–1604. G. L e S trange, trans. and ed., (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1926) 232. 34 The role of the ambassador is not covered in Willem Floor’s study of Safavid Government Institutions (Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2001), however Dr. Floor generously discussed this position through email correspondence. See also, Davies 115. 35 H otman, The Ambassadour, C1v. See also, Francis Thynne, The Perfect Ambassador: treating of the antiquitie, priveledges, and behaviour of men belonging to that function (London: John Colbeck, 1652). 36 For a related argument concerning the varying meanings attributed to gifts and giftgiving in Anglo-Mughal relations, see Ania Loomba’s essay in this volume.

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European nations that might facilitate an attempt to reclaim territories surrendered to the Ottomans earlier in his reign. With his Eastern front secured, the time was particularly auspicious for Abbas’ plans and, as Don Juan puts it, ‘This Christian gentleman had by chance arrived in the very nick of time, for the King of Persia was then himself preparing to send an ambassador with many gifts to the king of Spain.’37 Here Sir Anthony is merely a convenient device that comes to the hand of a proactive Shah at just the right moment. Unlike the several English texts that draw attention to Anthony’s oration at Qasvin and its great impression on the Shah, Don Juan does not even recall Sherley’s appearing until the Shah had returned to Isfahan. The 27-man English faction was undoubtedly eclipsed by the Ottoman envoy whose delegation of 300 Don Juan does record. Unlike the English texts that emphasize Sherley’s role as ambassador, Don Juan recalls the Shah’s order that ‘Sir Anthony should accompany his envoy the Persian ambassador,’ (233) and regularly refers to the conflicts between Sir Anthony ‘and the Persian ambassador.’ Unlike the English texts that figure Halibeck (aka Seane Olibege, aka Cuchin-Allibi) as, at best Anthony’s companion and peer, and at worst a haughty and ambitious figure of treachery, Don Juan presents Hussein Ali Beg as the honorable ambassador embarrassed by Sherley’s repeated improprieties.38 Unlike the English texts that attempt to document Sherley’s position as ambassador, Don Juan indicates that Sherley carried the same letters that were given by Abbas to a Portuguese Dominican, who also accompanied the mission but who is omitted entirely from the play and likewise from Nixon’s contemporaneous account.39 T o D on J uan, S ir Anthony is just one among numerous foreigners drawn to the magnificent court of Shah Abbas and radiating his greatness in their subsequent service. Sir Anthony does, however, manage to distinguish himself from other outsiders in Don Juan’s estimation in as much as no other comes across as equally duplicitous, a liar, a thief, possibly a murderer, certainly a charlatan. Unlike English accounts that present the Portuguese friar, Nicolas de Melo, as a lecherous swindler who merits Anthony’s ire and is justly imprisoned, Don Juan notes that the friar ‘also heartened the Shah in the idea of sending his ambassadors to the Christian powers’ and went before the Englishmen in the procession from Isfahan. Furthermore, where English accounts emphasize Sir Anthony’s generosity, Don Juan indicates that Sherley was a prodigal who stole to support his excesses. Indeed, his account

Don Juan of Persia, 232. Further references to this text will be noted parenthetically. Don Juan’s treatment of Hussein Ali Beg is the more remarkable for the fact that he was writing after the safir had plotted against Don Juan’s life upon learning of his conversion. 39 On this account, Ross complains that Don Juan is ‘inclined to ignore Anthony’s official position.’ Yet from another perspective it is Ross who is inclined to ignore the legitimacy of Don Juan’s account and the fact that the nature of Sir Anthony’s position remains unclear. 37


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of the friar’s fate suggests that Anthony’s greed may very well have made him a murderer. In Russia, Don Juan explains, [W]e ... lost sight and all knowledge of the Dominican Friar, for he suddenly had disappeared and we could get no news of him, though we diligently sought to find him. It was our suspicion that Sir Anthony Sherley had made away with him ... for the Friar had explained to us that he had lent Sir Anthony a thousand crowns, and further entrusted him with ninety small diamonds to keep safe for him, and that it was because he had wanted these and the money back from Sir Anthony that he was so treating him to compass his destruction. (258)

While none of the texts on Sir Anthony record a source for Zariph, the play’s moneylender, Don Juan’s account of Anthony’s debts to the friar suggest that the episode of the vicious Jew may have been an attempt to render Anthony’s reckless borrowing and possible villainy into duty and virtue.40 English accounts of the embassy’s doings in Russia are particularly abbreviated. In the play, you will recall, Russian events are relegated to the commentary of a chorus that tells of Anthony’s being ‘graced by the Muscovian Emperor’ (v. 19). But in Don Juan’s account, we learn that for five months the Persian ambassador enjoyed the hospitality of the czar while Sir Anthony was kept under house arrest, having no recognizable position or official business. When the embassy left Russia via the White Sea port of Archangel, Sir Anthony arranged to have the Shah’s gifts, intended for European sovereigns and the Pope, sent separately aboard an English ship that would, he promised, deliver them safely to Rome. Yet when the delegation arrived in Italy, Don Juan explains, ‘It now appeared the whole affair had been a cheat, for no chests had ever been brought to Rome, Sir Anthony having sold or bartered away their contents’ (284). In light of Don Juan’s account, it appears that Halibeck’s theft of the Sophy’s payment stands in for the historical Sir Anthony’s thievery, allowing the Englishman to exchange his roguery for the Persian safir’s virtue and discomfiture. In Rome, Sir Anthony and Hussein Ali Beg had separate audiences with the Pope, though the two were spotted together, engaged in fisticuffs in the Eternal City. Furious with Sir Anthony and embarrassed at being left empty-handed, Hussein Ali Beg was forced to go to his audience with the Pope carrying nothing more than the Shah’s letter. The Pope, however, reassured the Persian that ‘the matter of presents was of no importance’ and advised him to ‘carry [Sir Anthony] to the King of Spain, and let his Majesty chastise him’ (285–6). Don Juan expresses no great surprise then when Sir Anthony disappears just as the embassy is ready to depart for Spain. Of course, the embassy goes on to Spain without Sherley and Don Juan’s narrative continues. The Relaçiones, after all, is not about Anthony Sherley; the Englishman is merely a minor character, the scoundrel whose misconduct jeopardizes Safavid Persia’s global profile. 40 Sir Anthony was in fact imprisoned in Venice, most likely for debt, three years later in 1603.

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Conclusion: Proto-Imperial Appropriation That Don Juan of Persia indicates certain contradictions and distortions in the English texts on Anthony Sherley is no earth-shattering conclusion. Indeed, it is no less surprising that English accounts illuminate error and exaggeration in Don Juan’s narrative. But the point of reciprocal comparison is not to get to the bottom of things. Instead, it is to see the past as bottomless without the thumbprints of bias. It is to see how experience is crystallized into the more finite event, and in turn located in relation to a series from which other experiences have been excluded. Within the grand narrative of the rise of British Empire, the various travelogues, histories, and dramatic work concerning Anthony Sherley are perhaps legitimately seen as ‘part of a process ... defining the challenge of empire.’41 But from the perspective of Don Juan of Persia, these are texts less concerned with imperial aspirations than they are with converting renegade duplicity into honor and fame, less concerned with an embryonic ‘British imperial idea’ than with appropriating Persian imperial authority. To emphasize the role of appropriation in England’s early steps toward globalism amounts to an outgrowth of much recent critical work on transculturation. It suggests that Eastern authority was more readily incorporated into Western knowledge when Eastern, and especially Muslim, origins were first decultured and imagined as universal. Thus, ‘appropriation’ should not be understood in terms of an annexation, where a forceful party takes possession of something belonging to or associated with another. After all, Anthony Sherley’s successful appropriation of Persian authority was due in no small part to the fact that he chose to appropriate something that did not actually exist, a Europeanized version of a Persian title. Likewise in Day, Rowley, and Wilkins’s play Persian authority, honors, and titles are easily, and repeatedly, transferred into English possession precisely because they are first decultured and then figured as transcultural. This mode of translation / appropriation is most apparent toward the play’s end, when Halibeck returns to the Persian court to deliver his account of ‘[t]hat Sherley whom you joined with me in embassy’ (xiii. 65). The historical Hussein Ali Beg himself delivered no report on the embassy since he died on the return voyage from Lisbon. But with its emphasis on Sherley’s threat to Persia’s global profile, Halibeck’s narrative seems almost a dramatized account of Don Juan’s Relaçiones. S ir A nthony, Halibeck informs the Sophy, became ‘so proud, so wild, so prodigal,’ he ‘abused your greatness’ and was only released from a Russian prison ‘for the honor of the cause in hand’ (xiii. 67, 76, 78). In Venice, Halibeck adds, Sherley ‘kept his flood of riot and abuse, / For which he’s there kept prisoner (86–7). Although Continental sources largely corroborate this account, in The Travels of the Three English Brothers, the Persian ambassador’s narrative is a treacherous fabrication, quickly exposed when Anthony’s younger brother Robert produces exculpatory letters from Russia, Rome, and Venice. For the infuriated Sophy, Halibeck’s greatest crime is in abusing his position: 41

Parr, ‘Foreign Relations,’ 19.

The Shah’s Two Ambassadors


We sent thee forth as our ambassador, To deal for us as we ourself were there, Which dignity of ours thy tongue profaned (150–52)

That which provokes the anger of the Sophy could not have prompted a similar response from Shah Abbas. As the Shah’s safir, Hussein Ali Beg was not entrusted with the powers imagined here for the ambassador, Halibeck. Thus it is in an act of cultural legerdemain that Day, Rowley, and Wilkins’s Sophy turns from Halibeck to Robert Sherley to announce, ‘His honours and possessions now are thine’ (166).42 In effect, one Sherley completes the appropriation initiated by another as a distinctly European honor is inserted into a scene of Persian governance. Perhaps the play’s most outrageous example of this mode of appropriation, where the foreign is grasped, translated, and puffed up beyond its original consequence, involves Robert Sherley’s Persian marriage. The youngest of the Sherley brothers was left behind when Sir Anthony departed for Europe, ‘so deare a pawne’ in Anthony’s terms, a hostage in less self-acquitting language.43 D uring his eight-year residence, Robert wore Persian clothing, served in the Shah’s army, and married Teresa Sampsonia, a Circassian woman in the court of Shah Abbas. While some sources suggest that Lady Sherley was a Christian, others claim that she converted from Islam. Likewise, because so few records of Lady Sherley survive, it is unclear whether she was a slave, or brought to the court by her aunt, a favorite wife of the Shah. Given these possibilities, the play not only chooses the latter, it imagines the Sophy’s ‘niece’ as a direct line to the Persian throne. Thus the Sophy, initially enraged by the match, himself remonstrates, ‘She once his own, / He’s lord of us and of the Persian crown’ (xi. 27–8). When later he decides to allow his niece’s marriage to ‘Sherley the Great,’ and even to stand godfather at their child’s baptism, the play stages the ultimate dream of imperial appropriation: an eastern princess is converted, while an eastern potentate submits to English greatness.44 In fact, Robert would never be Shah. He would, however, in 1608, In as much as the historical Robert would later serve Shah Abbas in the same role as his brother, this statement is not entirely untrue, though it would have to be prescient, since the play was produced before Robert Sherley was sent to Europe. 43 A nthony S herley, Relation of Travels into Persia (1613) (Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1974) 127. 44 For a discussion of Eastern princesses converted to Christianity in English Renaissance drama, see Burton 126–59. In ‘Lady Sherley: The First Persian in England?’ Muslim World (95.2): 279–95, Bernadette Andrea elaborates on the play’s discourse of empire in regard to Lady Sherley, pointing out how she ‘projects her desire for Robert onto one of Western imperialism’s foundational couples: Aeneas and Dido’ (284). Andrea goes on to examine the connection between Lady Sherley and Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania, arguing that ‘Lady Sherley resonated in [English] culture as a sign of the conflicting discourses of empire that marked the transition from England as a potential colony of the great powers of Europe, including the Ottoman Empire, to England as a potential world power with colonial ambitions stretching from the East to the West Indies’ (280). 42

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follow his brother and present himself in Europe as the Shah’s ‘ambassador,’ sent to Europe simultaneously with a Qizilbash officer and a Portuguese Augustinian. It should be recalled at this point that Don Juan’s Relaçiones also uses the term ‘ambassador’ (ambajadore). This is surprising if we consider that the Persian secretary Uruch Beg would have understood very well the role of the safir. But the Relaçiones was not the work of Uruch Beg, but rather Don Juan of Persia, the newly converted ‘Shi’a Catholic’ who composed his work in Valladolid with the assistance of the licentiate Alfonso Remón. This alone should be a reminder to us that reciprocal comparison, with its schematics of bilateral comparison, may not be enough to fully elucidate the cross-cultural relations of the early modern period, where neither East nor West can be treated as a single or consistent ideological pole.45 But reciprocal comparison does not ask us to choose one explanation over the other; it asks us to see how the narratives produced in one culture appear as deviations when seen through the expectations of another. And therefore, perhaps there is a workable middle ground for the problem of the Shah’s two ambassadors. If Anthony Sherley is a figure of England’s proto-imperial aspirations, then perhaps he is best understood as a proto-Flashman, George MacDonald Fraser’s irrepressible nineteenth-century bigot, coward, and all-around scoundrel who wins admiration and honors due only to his virtuoso charlatanism in British East India. And perhaps this is precisely what reciprocal comparison tells us. If English texts of the early modern period develop an imperial rhetoric, the defining mode of that rhetoric is appropriation. In Novum Organum, Francis Bacon asks his reader to ‘consider what a difference there is between the life of men in the most civilized province of Europe, and in the wildest and most barbarous districts of New India.’ The difference, he argues comes ‘not from soil, not from climate, not from race, but from the arts.’ In support of his argument he cites three mechanical discoveries that ‘have changed the whole face and state of things throughout the world.’ Those discoveries are printing, gunpowder, and the compass. What Bacon does not say is that all three were Chinese inventions, acquired only through contact with the East. In effect, Bacon here appropriates Chinese innovation to make a case for English civility. And isn’t this precisely what Don Juan of Persia indicates about The Travels of the Three English Brothers and the other English accounts of Anthony Sherley? The rise of Europe, and of England in particular, cannot be seen as a European or English phenomenon. Rather, as Lynda Shaffer argues, ‘it should be portrayed as one part of a hemisphere-wide process, in which northwestern Europe ran to catch up with a more developed south—a race not completed until the 18th century.’46 For a discussion of The Relaçiones as a hybrid product of a ‘contact zone,’ see Rahimieh 21–38. 46 Lynda Shaffer, ‘Southernization,’ in Dunn, The New World History 187. Concerning the question of how the West did ultimately rise, Andre Gunder Frank similarly argues, ‘The answer ... is that the Europeans bought themselves a seat, and then even a whole railway car, on the Asian train’ (277). 45

Chapter 2

Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats: Diplomacy, Exchange, and Difference in Early M odern India 

A nia L oomba

In early modern English contact with Ottoman Turkey and Mughal India, the persistent European dream of unequal gift exchange—‘I give you a glass bead and you give me a pearl worth half your tribe’—turned into an endless nightmare. T he English became gift-givers in an attempt to secure trading privileges in the East, but their ‘pearls’ were treated as glass beads by Eastern emperors. Sir Thomas Roe, officially an ambassador of King James I to the court of Mughal emperor Jahangir at Agra in India (1615–1619), but in fact employed by the East India Company to establish trade in the region, reported that the gifts he had carried, including an expensive coach, were extremely despised by those [who] have seen them ... Here are nothing esteemed but of the best sorts: good cloth and fine, rich pictures, they coming out of Italy over land and from Ormus; soe that they laugh at us for such as wee bring.

This coach was not used for nine months during which time two more opulent ones had been copied from it, and it had been upgraded with cloth of gold and nails of silver. Thus the Mughals were simultaneously unimpressed by European artifacts, and quick to demonstrate that they could replicate, and improve upon, them. If early modern scholarship once highlighted the asymmetry between literate and sophisticated Europeans and culturally and linguistically ‘naked’ non This essay has been long in the making and has benefitted from the intellectual inputs and logistical help of many people—thanks to Sunil Kumar, Tony Ballantyne, Jonathan Burton, Antoinette Burton, Suvir Kaul, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, and Peter Stallybrass; to Joel Sartorius (Philadelphia Free Library), Susan Stronge (Victoria and Albert Museum, London)and Daljeet (National Museum, New Delhi) for help with the paintings, and to audiences at the many venues where this paper was presented.  The quotation is from Stephen Greenblatt, Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World (Chicago: Chicago UP, 1991) 110.  Sir Thomas Roe, ‘To the East India Company’ [24 November 1615] in William Foster ed., The Embassy of Sir Thomas Roe to India (London: Oxford UP, 1926) 76–7.  ‘The Journal of Sir Thomas Roe’ in Ed. William Foster, The Embassy of Sir Thomas Roe to India (London: Oxford UP, 1926) 306. Subsequent references to The Journal are incorporated into the main body of the text and are indicated by page number.


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Europeans (understood as natives of the colonized New World), more recent revisionist scholarship has turned to Europe’s Eastern encounters to indicate almost the opposite scenario, one in which early modern Europe was desperate to enter a global economy centered in the East. The different dynamics of contact are at least partly captured through the nature and ideology of gift exchange in the two regions. If, in the Atlantic, European cultural superiority was expressed by the gifting of ‘little things’ in exchange for life-sustaining food and information, and the promise of wealth whose value, it was presumed, the natives could not understand, in the East, costly and often outlandish gifts were presented in the hope of tantalizing jaded royal palates and receiving trading privileges in return. It would, however, be a mistake to simply counter-pose the two scenarios. At a local level, the same individuals could be involved in journeys to different parts of the world, and ideologically and practically, trade and colonialism were not entirely discrete practices. While sixteenth-century European advocates of overseas trade invoked it, as indeed such advocates do now in our era of rampant globalization, as a relation of perfect reciprocity, neither in the sixteenth century, nor today, has global trade been established through simple mutuality. The relationship between trade and colonialism, moreover, is crucially complicated by the vexed question of cultural attitudes and ideologies, or perhaps it is more accurate to suggest that the economic sphere is not independent of these issues. As Jean-Christophe Agnew has shown, it was during the early modern period that the notion of the market as something that stands above social and historical contexts emerged: … economists treat social exchange as a matter of buyers and sellers (or their surrogates) engaging in the pursuit of their self-interests, though evidence again indicates that the very concept of selves and their interests are historically conditioned ideas. Classical and neoclassical economic theory thus takes as its starting points categories of explanations that are, in fact the end points of protracted historical struggles and debates.  Janet Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1989); Andre Gunder Frank, Re-Orient, Global Economy in the Asian Age (Berkeley: U of California P, 1998); Lisa Jardine and Jerry Brotton, Global Interests: Renaissance Art between East and West (London: Reaction, 2000). Literary reevaluations of East-West relations include N abil M atar, Turks, Moors and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery (New York: Columbia UP, 1999); John Archer, Old Worlds: Egypt, Southwest Asia, India and Russia in Early Modern English Writing (Stanford UP, 2001), and Shankar Raman, Framing ‘India’: The Colonial Imaginary in Early Modern Culture (Stanford: Stanford UP, 2001); Richmond Barbour, Before Orientalism: London’s Theatre of ‘the East’, 1576–1626 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003); Daniel J. Vitkus, Turning Turk: English Theater and the Multicultural Mediterranean, 1570–1630 (New York: Columbia UP, 2003); Jonathan Burton, Traffic and Turning: Islam and English Drama 1579–1624 (Newark: Delaware UP, 2005); Gerald MacLean, ed., Re-Orienting the Renaissance (New York: Palgrave, 2005).  See Natalie Zemon Davis, The Gift In Seventeenth-Century France (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000) ���� 40.  Jean-Christophe Agnew, Worlds Apart: The Market and the Theater in Anglo-American Thought 1550–1750 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986) 5.

Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats


Agnew is concerned with developments within Europe, but international trade and colonialism were crucial to the development of the notion of a value-free ‘market’ just as they graphically expose the myth of such a market. Sudipta Sen argues that in eighteenth-century India, ‘the East India Company’s demands for commerce and markets came face to face with a different organization of trade, market exchange, and authority. This difference was crucial in determining the nature and outcome of the conflict of economic interests.’ In a much earlier period, when the English had just begun to articulate their trading interest in India, an analogous distance is discernible. Several commentators have been at pains to delineate that these early years were characterized by an easy camaraderie between Europeans and natives, with the former taking to Indian clothes, manners, languages, and women. The suggestion is that during this time, social relations were simply free of the ideologies of difference that emerged in a colonial period. Indeed they may seem to be structured by a reverse asymmetry— despite the fact that within a few generations, large parts of India would witness the ascendancy of the British, the Mughal emperor treated Roe as his inferior, and his memoirs, the Tuzuk-e-Jahangiri, chronicle Persian missions and embassies from neighboring countries but do not mention Sir Thomas Roe. However, despite being conscious of his status as a supplicant for trading privileges in India, Roe’s journal and letters, a major resource for the study of the early English presence in India, are thick with references to English and Christian superiority that we associate with a later period. What explains this? In this essay I want to discuss the exchanges of gifts and art between the English and the Mughal court during the embassy of Sir Thomas Roe in order to draw attention to the complicated interconnections between insularity and exchange, difference and coexistence, trade and colonialism, individual actors and historical processes. I The English were obsessed with the importance of gifts at the Mughal court; William Hawkins, who accompanied the East India Company’s third voyage to India after previous experience in Turkey, thought he had mastered the semiotics of the eastern gift: ‘By the gift you give him [the Indian emperor] he knoweth that you demand some thing of him; so after enquiry is made, if he seeth it convenient, he granteth it.’ In English writings, the insufficiency of English gifts becomes the occasion to lament the ‘insatiable covetousness’ of ‘barbarians,’ particularly of the ‘overgrown elephant,’ Emperor Jahangir himself.10 Edward Terry, chaplain to Roe,

 S udipta S en, Empire of Free Trade, The East India Company and the Making of the Colonial Marketplace (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania UP, 1998) 3–4.  William Hawkins ‘A briefe discourse of ... the Great Mogol ...’ in Ed. William Foster, Early Travels in India, 1583–1619 (Delhi: S. Chand, 1968) 110. 10 ‘Advice for Goodes for Surratt’ in Embassy 458.


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Fig. 2.1

Anon, Prince holding court and receiving gifts

Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats


described Jahangir’s heart as ‘covetous’ and ‘so insatiable, as that it never knows when it hath enough; being like a bottomless purse, that can never be fill’d.’11 Gift-giving at the Mughal court was a crucial part of an elaborate system of patronage and power. It involved ‘the offering of naẓar and peshkash, presents from an inferior to a superior, which showed humility. These were frequently rejoined by the emperor or nawab through a return gift of sar-o-pa (consisting of a turban and robe from head to foot) or khil’at (which included shawls).’ Such exchange of gifts ‘bound the persons of the supplicant and the padshah in a single relationship.’12 Thus Jahangir bestowed gifts upon Thomas Roe, too, including a ‘clothe of gould cloake of his owne, once or twice worn.’ But Roe was not thrilled—he ‘made reverence, very unwillingly’—for, although aware that ‘it is here reputed the highest of favour to give a garment woorne by the Prince,’ aware too that in India ‘The Kings bountyes are rather markes of honor then of profitt,’ he refers to the fact that in England castoff clothes of the nobility were suitable for the use of low-born actors. There a cloak such as this would have ‘well become the actor’ who represented Jahangir’s ‘ancestor Tamerlane’ (‘Journal’, 310, 294). Since the Mughals traced their descent from Timur, Roe’s reference to Marlowe’s play Tamerlane, which depicted the hero as a low-born upstart, served to downgrade the Emperor. In 1614, James had sent a picture of Timur to Jahangir, who doubted the English claim that it was a likeness taken at the time of Timur’s conquest of the Turkish Emperor Bayazid, for ‘the picture had no resemblance to any of his descendants.’13 At the court, the connection between Timur and the Mughals was emphasized, as in a picture that shows the Mongol king surrounded by his descendants, including Jahangir himself (Figure 2.3). On the other hand, contemporary English books, such as Richard Knolles’ History of the Turks, portrayed T imur as a version of an English gentleman; indeed, until recently, this picture was assumed to be a likeness of Edward Alleyn in the title role of Marlowe’s play (Figure 2.2). However, the English and the Mughals also shared something with respect to the story of Bayazid’s humiliation by Timur, since both were inclined to view the Turks with suspicion as well as admiration. Marlowe’s play graphically represented the scene of Bayazid being caged by Timur, as did a Mughal artist in a picture reproduced here (Figure 2.4). The English were well aware that in India they would have to work their way through local ways and customs. Roe’s position as an ambassador of the King, but one who was financed, paid, and instructed by merchants, was an awkward one. Quoted by Foster in Embassy 226, n.2. S en, Empire, 67, 69. See also Patricia L. Baker, ‘Islamic Honorofic Garments,’ Costume Vol. 25 (1991): 25–35. 13 The Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, or Memoirs of Jahangir. Trans. Alexander Rogers and Ed. H enry Beveridge (Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1968) Vol. 1, 153–4; Letters Received by the East India Company from its Servants in the East, Vol. 2 (London: S. Low, Marston and Co., 1897) 138. 11



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Fig. 2.2

Tamburlaine, from Richard Knolles History of the Turks

Roe describes how the Mughals objected to the fact that the paltry English gifts had been listed in the official letter from King James: ‘if they [these gifts] had not been named as from a monarch, it had been lesse despiceable.’ The Mughal emperor was also annoyed that King James inscribed his name before Jahangir’s and was irritated by James’s suggestion that ‘honor and profitt should arise to this Prince by the English or their trade, which he so much despiseth to hear of that he will willingly be rid of it and us if he darest.’14 In a letter to King James, Roe confessed that he had ‘sought to maintain upright Your Majesty’s greatness and dignity, and withal to effect the ends of the merchant; but these two sometimes cross one another, seeing that there is no way to treate with so monstrous overweening that acknowledges no equal ... To article on even terms he [Jahangir] avoids, and holds


Letter to the East India Company, 24 November, 1616, Embassy 306.

Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats

Fig. 2.3


Hashim, Timur with his descendants, including the emperor J ahangir


Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture/Loomba

Fig. 2.4

Anon, Bayazid in a cage

Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats


me to his own customs of government by new firmans upon new occasions, in which he is just and gracious.’15 Roe is aware that judged by his own customs, Jahangir is entirely ‘just and gracious.’ At the same time he needs to translate his efforts and his failure into a different language comprehensible to the Company and the Jacobean Court. It is a measure of the distance between these two sets of ethics and expectations that Roe does not translate the word ‘firman’ into English. A Mughal fārman was a royal favor not a reciprocal arrangement or a business transaction, even if it had been granted through a process of gift-giving and taking. Nor was it a legal document in the English sense; as Sen explains, it could not be possessed as property, and ‘insofar it was a gracious donation from the hands of the emperor, rights inherent in it were not alienable but carried the aura of authority on their exercise.’ In a later period, this singularity was not respected by the East India Company, and fārmans ‘were imposed on local marketplaces, sometimes with the sanction of force by Company agents, both foreign and native, who lodged themselves in the networks of trade and patronage, instigating conflicts decades before wars of formal conquest.’16 In an influential essay Bernard Cohn analyzes the different set of expectations and beliefs with which the English and the Mughals saw each other, concluding that Europeans of the seventeenth century lived in a world of signs and correspondences, whereas Indians lived in a world of substances. Roe interpreted the court ritual of the Mughals in which he was required to participate as sign of debasement rather than an act of incorporation in a substantive fashion, which made him a companion of the ruler. Relations between persons, groups, ‘nations’ (quam), and between ruler and ruled were constituted differently in Europe and in India. The British in seventeenth-century India operated on the idea that everything and everyone had a ‘price.’ The presents through which the relationships were constituted were seen as a form of exchange to which a quantitative value could be attached, and which could be translated into a price. Hence, the cloth which was the staple of their trade was seen as a utilitarian object whose value was set in a market. They never seemed to realize that certain kinds of cloth and clothes, jewels, arms, and animals had values that were not established in terms of a market-determined price, but were objects in a culturally constructed system by which authority and social relations were literally constituted and transmitted.17

Cohn’s opposition between an Indian world of ‘substances’ and a European world of ‘signs and correspondences’ appears to contradict his statement that the English saw only the literal and not the symbolic value of the goods being exchanged. His 15 Sir Thomas Roe to King James, February 15, 1618, in Ed. William Foster, The English Factories in India 1618–1621 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1906) 22. Emphasis added. 16 S en, Empire 77, 62. 17 Bernard Cohn, ‘Cloth, Clothes and Colonialism,’ in Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1996) 106–62. at 18.


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suggestion here is that the Mughals were part of a symbolic system in which the materiality of the symbol (in this case the gifts) had not been transcended, whereas the Europeans lived in a world where material objects had become commodities and thus had exchange value only. Although the processes of commodification are closely tied in with colonialism as well as the self-definition of the European subject, this opposition oversimplifies both Mughal India and Jacobean England, in each of which clothes, pictures, and other substances, including gifts, were invested with symbolic value, although the precise meanings of the symbols were different.18 While it is true that the exchange of gifts between Roe and Jahangir was fraught with tension between two cultural codes, William Pinch rightly comments that Roe ‘quickly perceived’ the significance of Jahangir’s gifts to him, as he ‘himself inhabited a ritual-political world. He was invested already, ritually and emotionally, in the English court and its European connections ... Enmeshing himself in the ritual web of the Mughal court would have meant, for Roe, compromising, or at the very least blunting those earlier meanings.’19 While the English repeatedly complained that the gifts demanded by the Indian royalty were in reality bribes, the distinction between gift and bribe was equally murky at home at the increasingly corrupt Stuart court. Indeed, as Linda Levy Peck has shown, ‘Among the glues which bound together superior and subordinate were gifts, given in tribute to the power and authority of the superior and of the deference of the inferior. […]Increasingly … the market was coming to penetrate areas of governance so that the line between gifts and bribes became more difficult to draw.’20 Cohn argues that Indians wanted gold, silver, and copper, not the ‘curiosities’ the Europeans gave them, but Roe suggests exactly the opposite, reporting that Jahangir was thrilled with crafted, cunningly wrought presents representing labor and skill, such as ‘A little box of crystal, made by art like a ruby, and cut into the stone in curious works, which was all enamelled and inlaid with fine gold … the King sent me word he esteemed it above a diamond given him that day of 6000 li price’ (127). Jahangir’s desire for English horses and other live animals, as well as his appetite for curiosities and paintings testifies to shared codes of

18 S ee A nn R osalind J ones and Peter S tallybrass, Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000) for an insightful discussion this process, 1–14. See also Ed. Margreta de Grazia, Maureen Quilligan, and Peter Stallybrass. Subject and Object in Renaissance Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996). 19 William Pinch, ‘Same Difference in India and Europe,’ History and Theory, Vol. 38: 3 (October 1999): 389–407, 401. I am grateful to Tony Ballantyne for directing me to Pinch’s essay, which I saw after completing preliminary work on this essay. Despite some differences, I am in agreement with Pinch that cultural differences between the Mughals and the English were often a matter of different interests rather than incompatible cultural views. 20 Linda Levy Peck, Court Patronage and Corruption in Early Stuart England (London: Routledge, 1993) 4, 19.

Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats


luxury across the imperial regimes of Europe and Asia.21 But within this sharing, we also detect a tension between Roe’s vocabulary and Jahangir’s, because these objects were part of another exchange, desired only by the English. Roe’s attempt to secure ‘a more formall and authentique confirmation’ of trading privileges than an ‘ordinary firmaens, which were temporary commands’ confirms that he (and the East Indian Company) grasped the difference between the two only too well. That the Company subsequently operated as if there was not was clearly not a matter of cultural ignorance. Cohn’s formulations invoke the binaries that emerged in the vast anthropological literature on gift-giving, which, following Marcel Mauss’s influential work, suggested that archaic societies (usually understood as both premodern and nonEuropean) were organized around the personalized exchange of gifts, in contrast to modern (monetary and usually capitalist and European) forms of impersonal commerce between strangers.22 These oppositions have been widely critiqued, especially because they relegate both premodern and non-European or colonized societies to the archaic, and overlook the overlaps between the moral, symbolic, and practical economy of gifts and commercial exchange. Gift exchange can be a form of promoting self-interest and gain, and gifts, as much as trade, can be exchanged in the hope of profit. The division between monetary and nonmonetary exchange as well as gift and commodity can end up reifying both; as one astute critique observes, the opposition ‘derives, in part … from the fact that our ideology of the gift has been constructed in antithesis to market exchange. The idea of the purely altruistic gift is the other side of the coin from the idea of the purely interested utilitarian exchange.’23 With respect to early modern England, Barbara Sebek argues that at this time older forms of gift-giving coexisted with newer, more commodified practices of exchange. For my purposes, it is significant that Sebek clinches her argument by turning to the gifts given to Eastern monarchs by trading companies: What we see in the examples of [Levant traders] … are the ways that gift exchange was used as a practical, deliberate strategy—albeit an expensive, cumbersome and unreliable one—in conducting international commercial affairs. Notably absent from the accounts of our far-flung traders is any hint of tension between noble gift-exchange and ordinary commerce ... gift and commodity exchange are seen to be mutually constituting discursive and material modes of exchange ... 24 21

J ardine and Brotton, Chapter 3. Marcel Mauss, The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1954). A useful summary of the debates is offered by Davis, The Gift Chapter 1. 23 Maurice Bloch and Jonathan Parry ‘Introduction’ in Money and the Morality of Exchange (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989) 1–31, 9. 24 Barbara Sebek, ‘Good Turns and the Art of Merchandising: Conceptualizing Exchange in Early Modern England,’ Early Modern Culture 2 (2001), (σ 35). References indicate the paragraph numbers within the article. Scott Cutler Shershow argues that Sebek 22


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Sebek is right about the overlaps between gift and commodity, but, as is evident from Roe’s experience, they were not free of tension, especially when one did not lead seamlessly to the other as the traders expected. The English assume that the Eastern monarchs live in a gift economy where no one will want, or be able to do, the same arithmetic as the English, and thus will offer returns larger than the value of the gifts they receive, or rather that they will return the ‘noble gift’ with ‘ordinary commerce.’ Already it is supposed (or hoped) that non-Europeans live in a society whose codes can be played upon by Europeans, but not vice versa. Thus they accuse the Indians of violating the rules of the gift economy, of being greedy, and inhospitable, and of offering the wrong gifts in return. The notion that the West was avant-garde in developing markets, trade, early capital—in short, what is understood as ‘modernity’—has been widely questioned.25 The differences between the commercial culture of Mughal India and Jacobean England cannot be understood in terms of the former being economically more ‘backward’ than the latter. Rather, it is the very coevalness of the two worlds that exacerbates the distance between the two: the Mughals were more than capable of doing the same sums as the English, and calculating that the English gifts simply didn’t add up the value of trading privileges. II Unfortunately, Jahangir’s own view of the English gifts is not to be found in his writings. Roe’s journal tells us that paintings were the gifts he most desired, the medium by which he expressed both his admiration of Europe and his superiority over it. As art critics, historians, and others have richly documented, borrowing from and appropriation of Western art is a striking feature of Mughal painting, architecture and artifacts from the time of Jahangir’s father, the Emperor Akbar

could question the opposition between gift and commodity further; he rightly points out that, ‘none of these [anthropological] observers, including Mauss himself, were ever able to decide once and for all whether the practices they observed really constitute a distinctly different economy ... [T]hey always leave open the possibility that members of archaic cultures simply exchanged gifts in the rational expectation of receiving ever-larger gifts later, making the gift economy merely a kind of rudimentary capitalism under a different form ... ’, ‘Response to Barbara Sebek's “Good Turns and the Art of Merchandising.”’ Nicholas Thomas cautions against abandoning all distinction between gift and commodity, Entangled Objects: Exchange, Material Culture, and Colonialism in the Pacific (Cambridge, MA, and London, England: Harvard UP, 1991) 29. 25 Jack Goody, The East in the West (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996). Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (Princeton, NJ and Oxford: Princeton UP, 2000); Sanjay Subrahmanyam, ‘On World Historians in the Sixteenth Century,’ Representations 91 (Summer 2005): 26–57. See also C.J. Fuller ‘Misconceiving the grain heap: a critique of the concept of the Indian jajmani system’ in Ed. J. Parry and M. Bloch, Money and the Morality of Exchange, 33–63.

Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats


(r 1556–1605).26 Indeed, Mughal art represents ‘the most extensive non-European experimentation with European and especially Christian art anywhere in the preindustrial world.’27 This experimentation registers the Mughal encounter with the English in a way that the written records simply do not, confirming, paradoxically, the marginality of Europe to the Mughal conception of the world, and reversing the asymmetries that are seen to accompany non-European attempts to master European cultural production during the colonial period. By the time Roe came to India, English pictures were already an established part of Mughal courtly display; at Jahangir’s new year celebrations, he found ‘pictures of the King of England, the Queene, my lady Elizabeth, the Countesse[s] of Sommersett and Salisbury, and of a cittizen’s wife of London; below them another of Sir Thomas Smyth, Governor of the East India Company’ (125). English colonists of the time routinely assumed that European pictures would dazzle the natives into submission—in his journey to Guiana, Walter Raleigh describes showing the natives of Trinidad ‘her Majesties picture which they so admired and honoured, as it had bene easie to have brought them idolatrous thereof.’28 In the very different context of his journey to Japan, John Saris tells his readers that he allowed ‘divers women of the better sort to come into my Cabin, where the Picture of Venus, with her sonne Cupid, did hang somewhat wantonly set out in a large frame, they thinking it to be our Ladie and her Sonne, fell downe, and worshipped it, with shewes of great devotion, telling men in a whispering manner 26 This literature is too vast to list; I am indebted to Ebba Koch, Mughal Art and Ideology; Collected Essays (New Delhi: Oxford UP, 2001); Milo Cleveland Beach and Ebba Koch, King of the World: The Padshahnama (London: Thames and Hudson, 1997); Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Art on the Jesuit Missions in Asia and Latin America 1552–1773 (Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1999) and The Jesuits and the Grand Mogul: Renaissance Art at the Imperial Court of India 1580–1630 (Washinton, DC: Smithsonian Institute, 1998); Milo Cleveland Beach, The Grand Mogul: Imperial Painting in India, 1600–1660 (Williamstown, MA: Harvard UP, 1978), The Imperial Image, Paintings for the Mughal Court (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institute, 1981) and Early Mughal Painting (Cleveland, MA: Harvard UP, 1987); E.D. Maclaglan, The Jesuits and the Great Mogul (London, Burns, Oates, and Washbourne, 1932); Asok Kumar Das, Mughal Painting During Jahangir’s Time (Calcutta: Asiatic Society, 1978); Toby Falk and Mildred Archer, Indian Miniatures in the India Office Library (London: Sotheby, Parke, Bernet, 1981); L. Binyon and T.W. A rnold, The Court Painters of the Grand Mogols (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1921); Som Prakash Verma, Mughal Painters and Their Work (Delhi: Aligarh Muslim U, 1994); Pratapaditya Pal ed., Master Artists of the Imperial Mughal Court (Bombay: Marg Publications, 1991); also William Pinch, ‘Same Difference in India and Europe;’ Richmond Barbour, After Orientalism, and Ellison Banks Findly, Nur Jahan, Empress of Mughal India (New York and Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993). 27 Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Art on the Jesuit Missions, 114. I am especially indebted to this book throughout this essay. 28 Quoted in Louis Adrian Montrose, ‘The work of gender in the discourse of discovery.’ Ed. Stephen Greenblatt, New World Encounters (Berkeley: U of California P, 1993) 117–217, 137.

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(that some of their owne companions which were not so, might not heare) that they were Christians. ...’29 European pictures were first carried to India by three Jesuit Missions to the Mughal court with similar hopes of converting the King and his followers.30 But, far from being rendered idolatrous by pictures of European monarchs or mythological figures, the Mughals proved extraordinarily resistant to conversion; their tolerance of, and flirtations with, Christianity resulted in an appropriation of European religious (and later secular) art for their own theological, artistic, and political projects. The religious idiosyncrasies of Jahangir’s father, Akbar, had fanned the hopes of the Jesuits that he would convert to Christianity. Father Antonio Monserrate of the First Mission noted ‘the rumour that he had abjured Muhammad, so that it was publicly reported that he wished to become a Christian ... He frequently made jokes at the expense of Muhammad, especially at his being thrust out of doors without shoes or breeches on account of his licentiousness. All this enraged many Mussalmans [...].’31 At this time, friction grew between the Mughals, who controlled the coveted ports on India’s Western coastline, and the Portuguese, who began to establish mastery over the A rabian S ea and pilgrim routes to the holy site of Mecca. The Portuguese demanded that Muslim pilgrims carry passports with the pictures of Mary and Jesus stamped on them.32 A story circulated that Akbar’s mother had demanded of the Emperor that our Bible might be hanged about an asses necke and beaten about the towne, for that the Portugals having taken a ship of theirs at sea, in which was found the Alcoran amongst the Moores, tyed it about the necke of a dogge and beat the same dogge about the towne of Ormuz. But he denied her request saying that if it were ill in the Portugals to doe so to the Alcoran, being it became not a king to requite ill with ill, for that the contempt of any religion was the contempt of God, and he would not be revenged upon an innocent book.33

Such stories of Akbar’s religious tolerance were legion; the Emperor had experimented with the idea of a syncretic religion, appointing himself religious as well as secular head of state, and finally promulgating the Din Ilahi (or divine faith), which combined Hindu and Muslim practices with elements of Sufism and Mongol ancestor worship.34 Such syncretism was also shaped by Akbar’s efforts at imperial expansion and need to consolidate diverse linguistic, ethnic, and religious groups. John Saris, in Purchas, Hakluytus Posthumus, Vol. 2, 367. The three missions arrived in 1580, 1591, and 1595. 31 J .S . H oyland and S .N . Banerjee, eds., The Commentary of Father Monserrate S.J. (New Delhi and Madras: Asian Educational Services, 1992) 65; see also 173. 32 Editor’s introduction, The Commentary of Father Monserrate viii. 33 Editor’s introduction, The Commentary of Father Monserrate viii, ix. Also Coryat in Ed. William Foster, Early Travels in India 1583–1619 (New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint, 1985) 278. 34 Bailey, Art on the Jesuit Missions 139–40. 29 30

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It is this context that we must also place the extensive artistic experimentation of the Mughal court. The Jesuits had brought engravings and illustrated books including Albrecht Dürer’s ‘Small Passion’ and ‘Virgin and Child,’ Christopher Plantin’s recently printed Royal Polyglot Bible, and Abraham Ortelius’s atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Despite the orthodox Islamic injunction against the representation of human and divine figures, Persian painting, from which Mughal art developed, as well as Mongol art, abounds in animal and human figures.35 According to Monserrate, Akbar’s court was enthralled by the displays organized by the Fathers at Christmas, especially by a statue of the Virgin whose fame, ‘had been spread so widely that crowds of Musalmans and Hindus (the latter bringing offerings) came to the chapel[...]’36 M onserrate also narrates the story of a nobleman at Akbar’s court who displayed a picture of the Virgin, which had been gifted to the king, draping it with rich cloth hangings and placing it at the side of the audience chamber where the king showed himself to the people.37 Koch speculates that this display ‘generated a new iconographic tradition for the representation of the Mughal emperors: the emperor in the company of Christian pictures). She concludes that The Jesuit priests had taken along the pictures as a means to make the emperor perceive the realities of the Christian faith and the duties of the Christian ruler, to bring about eventually the Moghul’s conversion to Christ—the great aim of the Mission. The Mughals accepted the means eagerly but used them as vehicles to represent the reality and the glory of their own dynasty and rule.38

Thus, Christian images and European techniques became an integral part of Mughal self-representation (see Figures 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8). Artists demonstrated their ability both to copy closely as well as to infuse the Christian figures with a different spirit or to place them in Indian settings. The painter Basawan was intrigued by the images of women, while Kesu Das was more interested in the musculature of the body. Das, a Hindu himself, was the first to paint Christ’s crucifixion. Charting these intricate encounters, Bailey calculates that ‘by the turn of the century, paintings and drawings in which Christian devotional images were the primary subject represented a major share of Mughal artistic production.’39 Why did the Mughals find Christian imagery so useful or inspiring? Such images were not entirely foreign to the Indo-Islamic tradition. Jesus and Mary, especially the Nativity, feature frequently in Islamic theology and literature, which, however, disputes that Christ died on the cross (an event that Mughal painters do 35 S ee L inda Komaroff and S tefano Carboni eds., The Legacy of Genghis Khan, Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia 1256–1353 (New York, New Haven, and London: Yale UP, 2002). 36 The Commentary of Father Monserrate 60. 37 The Commentary of Father Monserrate 176. 38 Koch, Mughal Art and Ideology 8, 11. 39 Bailey, Art on the Jesuit Missions 119.


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Fig. 2.5

Jahangir holding a picture of Mary

depict, as can be seen from Figure 2.6). William Hawkins describes how Jahangir had ‘pictures of Our Lady and Christ’ engraved in stone at one end of his prayer room.40 The mothers of both Akbar and Jahangir were called ‘Maryam’ and the paring of the Virgin with the king could be suggestive in multiple ways, claiming a divine lineage and messianic stature for the latter (see Figure 2.5).41

40 41

Hawkins, ‘A briefe discourse’ 115. T his is suggested by Bailey, The Jesuits 36–7.

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Fig. 2.6


The Deposition from the Cross (ca. 1598), based on an engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi after a lost original by Raphael


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Fig. 2.7

Mughal copy of Cornelius Cort, Birth of the Virgin, ca. 1610

Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats

Fig. 2.8


Mughal copy of Hieronymous Wierex, The Entombment of Christ, ca. 1610


Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture/Loomba

Fig. 2.9

A Christian knight fighting with a Saracen soldier

As Bailey observes, perhaps Christian imagery was less threatening to the Mughals than to the Ottomans, ‘where the contiguity of Imperial territories with the European frontier resulted in a much more reserved attitude towards European imagery, in spite of its availability in much larger quantities than in Mughal India.’42 If, in European art, ‘the two great Religions of the Book’ can be seen ‘strenuously and openly competing as familiar neighbours for the belief of the faithful,’43 in Mughal India, they were so asymmetrical that Christianity could be appropriated to the extent that the Muslim viewer can identify with Christian subject. Even in this picture of a Christian knight fighting with a Saracen foot soldier, where one would expect such identification to be strained by the reference to a long history of Muslim-Christian strife, the Christian soldier on a horse is painted with Central Asian features (see Figure 2.9). With the advent of trading companies, secular pictures from Holland and England became increasingly popular in India; one Dutch factor wrote back home in 1626 asking for ‘two or three good battle pictures, painted by an artist with a pleasing style, for the Moslems want to see everything from close by — also some

42 43

Bailey, Art on the Jesuit Missions 140. J ardine and Brotton, Global Interests 19

Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats


decorative pictures showing comic incidents or nude figures.’44 Even the Persian ambassador, according to Roe, presented Jahangir with European pictures. Jahangir boasted that he could identify the painter of any work, and ‘if there be a picture containing many portraits, and each work be the face of a different master, I can discover which face is the work of each of them. If any other person has put in the eye and eyebrow of a face, I can perceive whose work the original face is, and who has painted the eye and eyebrow.’45 Less interested in religious experimentation than his father, he commanded portraits that employed European devices such as globes, hourglasses, halos, and angels to proclaim royal authority. In a famous picture ‘Jahangir Preferring a Sufi Shaikh to Kings’ painted by Bichitr (ca. 1615– 1620), he is shown sitting on an hourglass, and framed by a halo, presenting his memoirs to a Sufi saint, and ignoring the Turkish emperor and James I. The figure of James I in this picture was copied from the portrait by John de Critz, Sargant Painter at the English court, who would have supplied royal portraits sent as diplomatic gifts.46 Ordinary Europeans too were often copied from pictures. Eventually, English portraits and miniatures became central to Mughal experimentation with European art. In Roe’s narrative, the allure of art and female beauty become intricately connected. Advising the East India Company about what gifts it should send in the name of the King of England, Roe included pictures of good quality, noting that ‘Diana this yeare gave great content.’47 However, ‘content’ was complicated by competitiveness. Late one night in September, 1616, Jahangir sent for Roe, demanding a picture that he had not yet been shown, and asking that if I would not give it him, yet that hee might see yt and take coppyes for his wives ... I replyed that I esteemed it more than any thing I possessed, because it was the image of one that I loved dearly and could never recover ... He [replied] ... that, if I would give it him, hee would better esteeme it then the richest jewell in his house ... hee confessed hee never sawe so much arte, so much bewty, and conjured mee to tell him truly whither ever such a woeman lived. (222–3)

Roe’s modern editor, William Foster, speculates that this was a picture of Roe’s wife whose existence he had kept secret. Jahangir assures Roe that he would only ‘show yt his ladyes and cause his woorkmen to make him five coppyes, and if I knew myne owne I should have yt.’ When Roe protests that he has freely and willingly given the miniature to Jahangir, the King insists that ‘hee loved mee the better for lovinge the remembrance of his frende ... hee would not keepe yt, but only take

Quoted Beach, The Grand Mogul 156. Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, Vol. 2, 20–21. 46 Jahangir Preferring Sufi Saints by Bichitr, 1625. Reproduced by Stuart Cary Welch, Imperial Mughal Painting (London: Chatto and Windus, 1978), Plate 22, 83 (here called ‘Jahangir Enthroned on an Hourglass’); James’s picture is reproduced by Roy Strong, The Elizabethan Image, Painting in England, 1570–1620 (London: Tate Gallery, 1969) 77. 47 ‘Advise for goodes for Surratt,’ in Embassy 459. 44 45


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Fig. 2.10

Portrait of a European, 1610

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Fig. 2.11

European gentleman and lady in Elizabethan costume



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Fig. 2.12

Isaac Oliver, Portrait of an Unknown Woman in Masque Costume, about 1609

copyes, and with his owne hand hee would returne yt, and his wives should weare them; for indeed in that arte of limninge his paynters woorke miracles’ (224). On an earlier occasion, too, Jahangir had asked his chief painter to duplicate a small miniature of a woman, painted by the famous English miniaturist Isaac Oliver. Roe doubted it could be done, offering ‘10,000 rupies for such a coppy of his hand, for I know none in Europe but the same master can perform it’ (189­–90). Later the king triumphantly ‘shewed me six pictures, five made by his man, all pasted on one table, so like that I was by candle light troubled to discerne which

Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats


was which: I confesse beyond all expectation; yet I showed myne owne and the differences, which were in arte apparent, but not to be juged by a common eye. But for that at first sight I knew it not, hee was very merry and craked liked a northern man ...’ (199). Roe suggests that it is clear ‘His majestie needed noe picture from our country;’ Jahangir responds by insisting that Roe should reward the painter, and in return take one of the copies home ‘to showe in England wee are not so unskillful as you esteeme us’ (200). The next year, another painting became the occasion for sharper contention. Examining two pictures of English women, and a third ‘of Venus and a satyre,’ Jahangir first forbids his interpreter from translating his remarks to the English, then asks the newly arrived chaplain Edward Terry what he makes of the painting. Annoyed by Terry’s plea of ignorance, the King demands to know ‘why he brought up to him an invention wherein he was ignorant.’ Roe says his report of the incident is meant to serve as a warning to the East India Company to be very wary what they send may be subject to ill interpretation ... I suppose he understood the morall to be scorne of Asiatiques, whom the naked satyre represented, and was of the same complexion, and not unlike; who being held by Venus, a white woman, by the nose, it seemed that she led him captive. (350)

If Jahangir had forbidden his interpreter to translate into English, how did Roe, who had picked up no local language, understand the king? In Roe’s version of things, Jahangir is ever sensitive to being thought of as provincial—commenting on some small figurines that were sent to show Jahangir ‘the formes of certaine beastes with us, Jahangir ‘replyed quickly: Did you thinke in England that a horse and a bull was strange to mee?’ (350). But did the Mughal King even register the English ‘scorne of Asiaticks,’ let alone be driven to respond to it? Or was it Roe who fabricated a narrative where the powerful Mughals become provincial and marginal to the English world? In Mughal India, I have been suggesting, European pictures, including representations of women, became the grounds for contestation and exchange between men. Jahangir repeatedly claimed that he wanted English miniatures not for himself but in order to ‘show yt his ladyes,’ to ‘take coppyes’ so that ‘his wives would weare them;’ he also wanted English hats because his wives found them attractive (349). This might have especially irked Roe, who resented the power of Jahangir’s best beloved wife Nur Jahan (or Nur Mahal, often misspelled by the English as ‘Normahal’ or ‘Normall’).48 Jahangir’s ‘course,’ writes Roe, is directed by a woman, and is now as it were shut up by her so, that all justice or care of anything or public affairs either sleeps or depends on her, who is more inaccessible than any goddess, or mystery of heathen impiety.’49 R oe even held 48

Jahangir ordered her name to be changed from Nur Mahal (light of the palace) to Nur Jahan (light of the world), Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri 319. 49 Letter to Sir Thomas Smythe, January 16, 1617, Letters Received, Vol. 5, 329. See also Ellison Banks Findly, Nur Jahan 59. I am indebted to Findly in my understanding of Nur Jahan and her world.

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Nur Jahan responsible for the lack of English success in setting up their Eastern trade: ‘If the King did governe, his nature is just, easy, and good, and his opinion and favour to mee extraordinary, considering my barren hands ... but hee, good man, doates, and heares only by one eare’ (338). For Roe, as for many other European commentators, unnatural female power was signaled by the seclusion of royal women. In a letter to Prince Charles, Roe writes that ‘noe man enters his [Jahangir’s] house but eunucks; his woemen are never seene ... the rest of his motion is inward among woemen, of which sort, though hee keepe thowsand, yet one governs him, and wynds him up at her pleasure.’50 While accompanying Jahangir on his trip to the Deccan, Roe imagines he can identify Jahangir’s ‘two principall wives’ spying upon him through a side window in the makeshift camp and mocking him: I saw first their fingers, and after laying their faces close nowe one eye, now a nother; sometyme I could discerne the full proportion. They were indifferently white, black hayre smoothed up; but if I had had no other light, ther diamonds and pearles had sufficed to show them. When I lookd up they retyred, and were so merry that I supposed they laughed at mee. (282–3)

Nur Jahan had more than symbolic power; coins were minted in her name, she was influential in the making of royal policy, and like other wealthy royal women, she had active trading interests. The English quickly realized the importance of pleasing her: William Hawkins had reported sending his broker for jewels for Nur Jahan shortly after her marriage to Jahangir; many years later, Roe also attempted to bribe her with pearls, which he asked the company to send him secretly sown in cloth so that they would escape the notice of customs officials. The strategy appeared to have worked, for Asaf Khan, the queen’s brother and Jahangir’s minister, told Roe that the queen had ‘desired to be our protectresse’ (401). Did Nur Jahan ever wear the 29½ carat pearl ‘shaped like a pare, very large, beautifull and orient’ or the four strings that were sent her? In an exceedingly opulent court, perhaps English pearls were unlikely to be remarkable, but were she or other royal women attracted to the miniatures Jahangir had copied for them? In many of her portraits, Nur Jahan wears diaphanous clothing that no painter would have been allowed to see her in, reminding us that these pictures were painted for the emperor’s pleasure, and rarely, if ever, from life (see Figure 2.13). Female jewelry of the time, such as the pendant worn by the Princess Badi-‘al-Jamal in this picture, could easily have accommodated such miniatures (see Figure 2.14). In England at this time, cosmetics were largely made from imported ingredients, and moralists lamented that English fashions aped foreign practices and were in danger of corrupting English identity.51 But cosmetics and fashions must have traveled in more than one direction. As European paintings became a staple feature of overseas trade, they also exported images of beauty and fashion: Letter to Prince Charles, 30 October, 1616, Embassy 270. Kimberly Woosely-Poiteven, ‘“Counterfeit Color”: Cosmetics, Race and Gender in Early Modern England,’ Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2004. 50 51

Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats

Fig. 2.13


Bust portrait Nur Jahan wearing pearl necklace and earrings and a ruby pendant


Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture/Loomba

Fig. 2.14

Bust portrait of Princess Badi-al-Jamal

Queen Elizabeth exchanged portraits, clothes, and perhaps cosmetics with Safiye, the haseki or principal concubine of Ottoman Sultan Murad II, and this exchange was part of a larger diplomatic negotiation in which Safiye promised to advocate English trading interests in Turkey.52 Kimberly Woosely-Poiteven suggests 52 See S.A. Skilliter, ‘Three Letters from the Ottoman “Sultana” Safiye to Queen Elizabeth I,’ in Documents from Islamic Chanceries, First Series. Ed. S.M. Stern (Oxford:

Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats


that Safiye’s request that Elizabeth send her ‘rare distilled waters,’ ‘odiferous oils,’ and ‘cloths of silk or wool, articles fantastic’ may also have been spurred by pictures of the Queen presented to the Sultana in 1593 by Edward Barton, the English ambassador to Turkey, and in 1599 by Thomas Dallam, the organmaker who brought a grand organ as a gift to the Sultan. In Massinger’s play The Renegado, Italian men in Tunis try to pass off pictures of European prostitutes as those of famous European beauties. Their wares attract the curiosity as well as competitiveness of the Turkish princess Donusa, who challenges the Italians to produce anything as fair as herself. European luxury goods, and especially European hats, were popular in the zenana, a fact that Roe was aware of.53 The images of European women and their clothing must have also reached them through Mughal copies of Western paintings, such as the pictures reproduced here—a European lady seated by a cabinet wearing a long gold dress with a blue collar (Figure 2.15) and another with a red feather in her hair, and a pendant with a pearl in it—which show careful attention to details of female toilette (see Figure 2.16). Such portraits can also be seen to influence Mughal depictions of Indian women, as in this bust of a lady holding a tamboura, wearing a lavender brocade dress with an orange mantel draped over her shoulders and head so that it resembles a hat (Figure 2.17). European artistic techniques were appropriated to depict the veils and skirts, as well as the postures, of Indian women. More rarely we get images of Indian women experimenting with European ways of sitting or dressing.54 Finally, Mughal women also tried their own hand at appropriating European art. Two European engravings colored and signed by one Nadira Banu (ca. 1600– 1604) have survived. Nadira was guided by the Jesuits resident in the court and mentions Aqa Rizi as her instructor. Another woman, who signs herself as Nini, colored a copy of Jerome Wierix’s ‘the Martyrdom of St. Cecilia’ (Figure 2.18).55 Not surprisingly, however, it is men who remain at the center of the artistic exchanges in Mughal India. Not Nur Jahan, but Jahangir himself is depicted in a later painting wearing a pendant like the one Roe describes.56 T he Emperor offered Roe a portrait of himself in exchange. Roe describes this as sett in gould hanging at a wire gould chain, with one pendant foule pearle; which he delivered to Asaph Chan, warning him not to demand any reverence of mee B. Cassirer, 1965) 119–57; Leslie P. Peirce, The Imperial Harem, Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire (New York and Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993), Chapter 8. 53 See Findly, 149. 54 A lady of European demeanour, 1610–1620. British Library, J 22. 11 a. 55 Asok Kumar Das, Mughal Painting, 235, 236. Nadira’s engravings are currently part of the Muraqqa’-I Gulshan album, Gulistan Palace Library, Tehran, and are reproduced by Das 70. Nini’s work is at the Victoria and Albert Museum, no. IM. 139–1921 f. 21. 56 “Jahangir presents Khurram with a Turban ornament,” reproduced in Milo Beach and Ebba Koch, King of all the World 96.


Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture/Loomba

Fig. 2.15

Lady with a cabinet. Early 17th century

Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats

Fig 2.16


A European Lady. Mughal, 1645–1650

other than such as I would willingly give ... Yow may now judge the King’s liberallitye. This guift was not worth in all 30 li; yet it was five tymes as good as any hee gives in that kynd . ... (214–15)

This last remark makes it clear that although Roe was perfectly clear about the symbolic value of the Emperor’s gift, he also knew that such symbolic incorporations into the Mughal hierarchy could not bring the English closer to their aim of establishing a trade circuit that would be controlled by their own rules of exchange. Back in England, Edward Terry’s account of his Indian journey was published by Samuel Purchas, along with a picture of Jahangir, his son Khurram and a female slave under the caption ‘Pictures of the Indian Copies made by the Mogols painter’ (Figure 2.19). Probably copied from several rather than a single, Mughal miniature, this picture also reproduces an inscription on the bottom that may be in Jahangir’s own hand, which suggests that the miniature was executed by the famous artist


Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture/Loomba

Fig. 2.17

Bust of a lady. Shah Jahan School.

M ughal artist M anohar.57 Thus an English picture of James, carried by Roe, was reproduced by Mughal painters, and Jahangir’s picture, perhaps carried back by Roe, was copied by an English engraver. Edward Terry, ‘A Relation of a Voyage to Easterne India,’ in Purchas his Pilgrimes (London, 1625) Vol. 2, 1474. Foster speculates that Jahangir probably gave this miniature to Roe, who gave it to Prince Charles who may have lent it and the other pictures, along with Terry’s account, to Purchas. 57

Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats

Fig. 2.18


Nini, the Martyrdom of St. Cecilia

Conclusion Historians of India are divided between those who suggest that the English consolidated their authority by appropriating Mughal codes of gift-giving and patronage, and others who emphasize ways in which they flouted these codes. Later, the British even imagined themselves as successors to the Mughal imperial regime. But appropriation is the necessary first step toward flouting and subverting the rules of the game. The ‘exchanges’ I have discussed in this paper suggest the difficulties, hesitations, and asymmetries—in brief the conversations—that marked the early years of the English encounter with India. William Pinch is right that these exchanges show that the English emissary and the Indian emperor ‘were measuring


Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture/Loomba

Fig. 2.19

‘Pictures of the Indian Copies made by the Mogols painter’

each other using their languages of art appreciation in ways they could not in either of their spoken languages,’ but concludes, somewhat too easily, that there was a ‘mutual understanding’ between Emperor and Ambassador, which ‘was the outcome of proximity, fueled by basic human curiosity, and achieved by means of fortuitous cultural convergences.’58 R ather, the entire embassy of S ir T homas R oe, including the final exchange of portraits between Roe and Jahangir, tells us that ‘reciprocity’ is embedded within larger negotiations and tensions, an exchange whose terms are not entirely controlled or understood by individual participants. On the Mughal side, the exchange confirms both an interest in Europe, and an indifference to it. While Mughal attitudes were commensurate with their power, from the vantage point of hindsight, they were a huge blunder.59 O n the English side, Roe’s journals register the need to master the codes of the Mughal court, but in his letters back to England, we hear a different language as Roe ‘translates’ his experiences both for the company and for the monarch.60 If he was conscious of the marginality of the English in India, he nevertheless reproduced the rhetoric of English global superiority, writing to James that


Pinch, 403, 407. See Amitav Ghosh, ‘The Man Behind the Mosque,’ a review of the memoirs of Babur, the first Mughal emperor (The Little Magazine, 1: 2 http://www.littlemag.com/2000/ amitav.htm). 60 A similar point is made by Richmond Barbour. 59

Of Gifts, Ambassadors, and Copy-cats


... I will establish Your Majesties subjects in as good tearmes for theire trafique and residences as any strangers or the naturalls themselves enjoy, or at last by our force teach them to know Your Majestie is lord of all the seeas and can compell that by your power, which you have sought with curtesie; which this king cannot yett see for swelling.61

Even as they insisted on a global power they did not yet have, many of Roe’s contemporaries also advanced the idea, in literature, in pamphlets, in letters, and in travel writing, that it was the English who were exporting fair trade overseas. It is no coincidence then, that at a more obviously imperial moment, John Dyer’s poem, ‘The Fleece’ (1757) was to make the same point by returning to the embassy of Sir Thomas Roe: The glossy Fleeces now, of prime esteem, Soft Asia boasts, where lovely Cassimere, Within a lofty mound of circling hills, Spreads her delicious stores; woods, rocks, caves, lakes, Hills, lawns, and winding streams; a region term’d The Paradise of Indus. Next, the plains Of Lahor, by that arbour stretch’d immense, Thro’ many a realm, to Agra, the proud throne Of India’s worshipp’d prince, whose lust is law: Remote dominions, nor to ancient fame Nor modern known, till public-hearted Roe, Faithful, sagacious, active, patient, brave, Led to their distant climes advent’rous Trade.62

Letter to King James, 15 February 1617, Embassy 465. John Dyer, ‘The Fleece,’ 2: 351–63 in The Poems of John Dyer (Lampeter, 1989) 78. I thank Suvir Kaul for this reference. 61 62

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Chapter 3

Representing the King of Morocco Virginia Mason Vaughan

Before the reign of Elizabeth I, English people knew little about ‘Barbary,’ the sultanates of Morocco, Fez, Tlemcen, and Tunis that comprised the northwestern area of Africa. Andrew Borde, an itinerant physician, summed up England’s general impression in The Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge (1550s): ‘Barbary is a great cou[n]try and plentiful of frute wine & corne. The I[n]habitours be called [th]e Mores, they be white mores and black moors [;] they be Infydels & unchristened.’ But as Elizabeth’s reign progressed, more sophisticated descriptions of Moorish culture circulated in a burgeoning body of travel literature. Following the formation of the Barbary Company in 1585, several delegations of Moorish ambassadors came to London to negotiate trade and diplomatic agreements; soon after, fictional kings of Morocco—flamboyant figures crafted for the audience’s enjoyment—appeared on London stages. Yet the trajectory from diplomatic ambassador to fictional Moorish king was not simple or straightforward, as this essay will demonstrate. The general image of ‘Barbary’ and the particular figure of the Moorish king, which circulated in early modern England, were almost always complex and often contradictory. I Natalie Zemon Davis’s biography of Al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Wazzan illuminates the life of an ambassador from the sultanate of Fez between 1508 and 1518. Al-Hasan al-Wazzan, known after his capture by Christian pirates and sojourn in Italy as John Leo Africanus, served Sultan Muhammad al-Burtughali as emissary, servant, soldier, informant, and ambassador on diplomatic missions to the nearby sultanates of Morocco and Tunis, to Egypt, and to the Ottoman Sultan Selim in Istanbul. He visited ‘towns, villages, and settlements, traveling on horseback from coastline to high mountain.’ Sometimes he traveled with a delegation; at other times, he went by himself. He delivered letters from

Borde, Andrew, The Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge (London, ca. 1554) sig. M3v. Throughout this essay, I have modernized the usage of i and j, u and v when citing primary materials for the reader’s convenience.  Natalie Zemon Davis, Trickster Travels: A Sixteenth-Century Muslim Between Worlds (New York: Hill and Wang, 2006) 28. 

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al-Burtughali and helped to establish trading relations between Fez and other rulers throughout the M aghreb. As Davis observes, al-Wazzan’s diplomatic career required him ‘to speak, listen, and write well and to know the gestures for courteous deference, banqueting, and gift exchange.’ He was well-educated, and his background in rhetoric, law, and poetry equipped him to speak on the Sultan’s behalf. Originally born in Granada, he had journeyed with his parents to Fez sometime before or soon after the Spanish reconquista in 1492. His family thrived in the new environment, and after studying grammar, rhetoric, religious doctrine, poetry, and law at the Fez madrasa, al-Wazzan worked at the Fez hospital, where he cared for the insane and ill travelers. In his youth, al-Wazzan also traveled with his uncle on trading expeditions into northern Africa. Al-Wazzan’s cultural heritage—part Granadan, part Fessian—and his youthful experiences in the hospital and on trading missions must have been particularly helpful for an emissary who needed to accommodate his rhetoric and manners to the dictates of foreign princes while remaining loyal to al-Burtughali. In his Geographical Historie of Africa, he used a metaphor to explain the ambassador’s liminal space: There was upon a time a most wily bird, so indued by nature, that she could live as well with the fishes of the sea, as with the fowles of the aire; wherefore she was rightly called Amphibia. This bird being sommoned before the king of birds to pay her yeerly tribute, determined foorthwith to change her element, and to delude the king; and so flying out of the aire, she drencht herself in the Ocean sea. Which strange accident the fishes woondring at, came flocking about Amphibia, saluting her, and asking her the cause of her comming. Good fishes (quoth the bird) ... Our tyrannical king ... commanded me to be cruelly put to death, ...Which most unjust edict I no sooner heard of, but presently (gentle fishes) I came to you for refuge. Wherefore vouchsafe me (I beseech you) some odde corner or other to hide my head in; and then I may justly say, that I have found more friendship among strangers, then ever I did in mine owne native country.

This speech convinced the fishes to allow Amphibia to stay with them for a year without paying any taxes. But when the year was up, the bird suddenly ‘spred her wings, and up she mounted in to the aire. And so this bird, to avoide yeerely

Davis, 46. Davis, 20–22.  This citation is from John Pory’s 1600 translation of A Geographical Historie of Africa (London, 1600) 43–44. Despite its changes from al-Wazzan’s original, Pory’s translation of the Italian version of The Book of the Cosmography and Geography of Africa, first published in Giovanni Battista Ramusio’s Navigatione et Viaggi ... nelle quale si contengono La Descrittione dell-Africa (Venice, 1554), is the text that was available to the English playwrights discussed in this essay. 

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exactions and tributes, woulde eftsoones change her element.’ T he ambassador is necessarily like Amphibia, able to adapt to the immediate situation. ‘By taking on the form of her patrons and flattering them (“gentle fishes”) in contrast to herself (“silly bird”) and her former “unjust” and “tyrannical” acquaintances,’ observes Jonathan Burton, ‘Amphibia submits the alien’s necessity of deluding fabrications and an ingratiating manner, not an unmitigated candor.’ Al-Wazzan confides, ‘For mine owne part, when I heare the Africans evills spoken of, I wil affirme my selfe to be one of Granada: and when I perceive the nation of Granada to be discommended, then will I professe my selfe to be an African.’ Bridging cultural barriers between alien cultures, the ambassador is necessarily a hybrid figure who can dissimulate at will and successfully play both sides of the street. During al-Wazzan’s career as an emissary, Fez was a busy commercial center. Caravans from the south and imports from the East were traded in its markets. He later reflected, ‘I never saw neither in Asia, Africa, nor Italy, a market either more popular, or better furnished with wares,’ and devoted a score of pages to descriptions of the burse and its commercial activity. Enhanced trading relations were the central goal of al-Wazzan’s missions to neighboring tribal chieftains and sultans, and later in the sixteenth century they would spur Moroccan embassies to England. Davis describes the diplomatic etiquette of sixteenth-century North Africa in some detail.10 The mission’s importance and the tribal leader’s status determined the size of the ambassador’s entourage. After his arrival, al-Wazzan might find lodging with a local holy man or at a hotel for travelers. Established there, he would apply for an audience with the ruler, following the procedures required in each culture. From a court officer, he would learn ‘the gestures of deference required before the ruler: a mere kiss of the hand for an Atlas chieftain, a kiss on the ground underneath the feet of the sultan of Fez, three deep bows and kissing the ground in front of the rug of the Mamluk sultan at Cairo, kneeling and sprinkling dust on one’s head before the Songhay emperor in the Land of the Blacks.’11 T he ambassador’s dress was dignified and sumptuous, reflecting his ruler’s status and out of respect for the object of his mission. Geographical Historie 43. Jonathan Burton connects Leo Africanus’ Geographical Historie of Africa to the visit of Moorish ambassadors to England in 1600, as do I, but his focus is on Leo’s liminal position in relation to Shakespeare’s Othello, whereas I am more concerned with the role such an ambassador had to play. See Traffic and Turning: Islam and English Drama, 1579–1624 (Newark, DE: U of Delaware P, 2005), 233–56; quote from 242. See also Oumelbanine Zhiri, “Leo Africanus’ Description of Africa,” in Travel Knowledge: European “Discoveries” in the Early Modern Period. Ed. Ivo Kamps and J yotsna S ingh (New York: Palgrave, 2001) 258–66.  Geographical Historie 44.  Geographical Historie 157. 10 See Davis, 47–54. 11 Davis, 48.  

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Another important element of ambassadorial protocol was gift exchange, which ‘established a frame of courtesy and amiability.’12 Gifts included exotic foods, camels, horses, elaborate clothing, goods, and slaves. Accompanying the gifts was the diplomat’s message, expressed in the elegant and gracious language befitting a wise ruler. Messages and letters written in elegant calligraphy might be gifts in themselves, especially if they included religious invocations and poetic phrases befitting the ruler’s status and piety. Such formalities were not simply a matter of custom and decorum; the stylized language cloaked and contained diplomatic tensions and, in some cases, dangerous intrigues. Diplomacy required arduous travel through the mountains and deserts of northern Africa. Wherever al-Wazzan went, he took along books to read and manuscripts to study. ‘Indeed,’ notes Davis, ‘studying and recording while on a rihla, a voyage, was an old and important Islamic tradition.’13 A t the same time, the pious traveler had to be careful not to violate the teachings of Islam. Davis quotes Ibn Battuta, who traveled from Tangier to China: China was beautiful, but it did not please me ... Whenever I went out of my lodging, I saw many blameworthy things. That disturbed me so much that I stayed indoors most of the time and only went out when necessary.14

The Moorish ambassador was forced not only to negotiate the differences between his culture and those of the society he visited but also conflicts between Islam and other religions. His challenge was to learn from others, like Amphibia to dissimulate if necessary, but to keep the inner core of his faith intact. But, as the English reaction to Morocco’s ambassadors would demonstrate, the selfcontainment that accompanies dissimulation made it difficult for English people to read their visitors accurately. II In 1548 Fez was incorporated into Morocco, and although the geographical terms ‘Fez,’ ‘Morocco,’ ‘Mauretania,’ and ‘Barbary’ would often be treated in English texts as if they were synonymous, the Moroccan sultan was recognized in Europe as the ‘king’ of the entire western area of the Maghreb. Ahmed elMansour succeeded to the Moroccan throne after the battle of Alcazar in 1578 and held it until his death in 1603; during his reign the two countries negotiated an English-Moroccan alliance against Philip II’s Spain. English merchants were eager to expand trade with northern Africa for gold, sugar, dates, and horses in


Davis, 49. Davis, 54. 14 Davis, 102. 13

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exchange for cloth and military supplies.15 In 1585 Elizabeth granted a charter for the Barbary Company; Henry Roberts became her agent and ambassador, and trade with Morocco was restricted to members of the Company. In 1589 Ahmed Belkassem, an emissary from the king of Morocco, accompanied Roberts to London, where he ‘was received by over forty members of the Barbary Company, “well mounted all on horsebacke,” and escorted into the city of London by torchlight.’16 The ambassador offered Moroccan support for Elizabeth’s attacks on Spain and her scheme to establish the pretender Don Antonio on the Portuguese throne. Elizabeth’s invading forces were to receive supplies from Morocco after they landed in Portugal, but when Drake’s naval attack was aborted, el-Mansour withdrew his proffered aid.17 El-Mansour’s change in policy fueled English prejudices against the Moorish king. Ciprian Cardenas, an envoy to the Moroccan court from Antonio, reported to Elizabeth that el-Mansour ‘was a tyrant whose “intollerable polling and exactions” drove the people into the mountains where they lived as outlaws’ and wondered, “how can yt agree with reason that the cowardlyest man in the world, annother Sardanapalus in lyfe, a man generally hated of his subjects” should hazard a foreign war.’18 The Portuguese envoy’s negative assessment did not prevent Elizabeth from pursuing further diplomatic ties and negotiations between Morocco and England continued uninterrupted throughout the 1590s. ‘Their mutual needs remained unchanged; the Moroccan king required arms and timber for his galleys, and the queen needed either saltpeter or gold.’19 Al-Caid Ahmed ben Adel led another embassy to London in 1595, accompanied by two other caids (‘leaders of the corsairs who attacked European shipping vessels in the Mediterranean and Atlantic’) and a ‘retinue “of twentye five or thirtye persones”’20 Perhaps England was negotiating a secret agreement with the very pirates who attacked European ships. Or perhaps there was discussion of mutual support against Spain. Whatever the focus of the talks, the following year brought Essex’s raid at Cadiz and continued war between England and S pain. The stream of correspondence between el-Mansour and Elizabeth I continued in the late 1590s with sporadic discussion of a joint enterprise against Spain; more often, the topics were piracy and trade. The stage was set for a formal embassy from the Moroccan king to Elizabeth’s court in 1600, which was described in some detail by London chronicler, John Stow. Stow records that

15 Jack D’Amico, The Moor in English Renaissance Drama (Tampa: U of South Florida P, 1991) 14. 16 N abil M atar, Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery (New York: Columbia UP, 1999) 33. 17 D’Amico, 29. 18 Quoted from D’Amico, 30. 19 D’Amico, 33. 20 M atar, 33.

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About the 8. of August arrived at Dover, certaine Embassadors and assistants, sixeteene in number, sent from the King of Maroco in Barbaria; these were by certaine English Gentlemen conducted to Gravesend, and from thence, by Sir Thomas Gerrard knight marshall, & other gentlemen with the Barbary marchants towards London, where they were landed at the Tower wharffe on the 15. August, from whence they were convayed in foure Coaches to the Royall Exchange, and there lodged in the house of Anthonie Radcliffe Esquire, of London merchant taylor.21

Trade seems to have been the driving force behind this state visit, and Stow’s description suggests that the Barbary Company and members of the Merchant Tailors’ Company made the arrangements for it, even though the Queen was responsible for the ambassadors’ living expenses while they were in London. Stow continues: ‘The 20. of August they rode in Coaches through Cheape, to Westminster, from thence by water over to Lambhith, and thence againe in Coaches to the Court at Nonesuch, where they were honourably entertained.’22 The 1615 edition of Stow’s Annales notes that at Nonsuch the Ambassadors delivered letters from the King of Morocco to Queen Elizabeth and that on the 10th of September, ‘they received answere the court being then at Otelands.’23 The ambassadors’ formal mission had been accomplished, but diplomatic protocol required that they stay in London a while longer. In the 1602 edition of the Annales Stow’s account of the September 10th visit is more fulsome: ‘the sayd Embassadors of Barbarie were againe convaied to the Court then at Oatlands, there to take their leave of her majestie, but were required to stay to see the Justing and other triumphs at Westminster on the seventeenth of November.’24 Stow’s use of the word ‘required’ provokes the questions—required by whom and why? Was this a friendly request or a royal command? The Oxford English Dictionary notes a double sense of ‘require’ current in the sixteenth century: ‘To ask (one) for a thing; also, to request or command (2b).’ Perhaps the English merchants and the court itself wished these exotic foreigners to be impressed with English wealth and power by observing the elaborate festivities staged annually in celebration of Elizabeth’s accession. And so they did: ‘The 17. Of November being the Queenes day, the Queene being then at White-hall, a speciall place was builded onely for them neere to the parke doore, to behold that dayes triumph.’25 According to Stow, they were not alone: At these justs was so great an assembly of people, as the like hath not bin seen in that place before. There were also present sundry embassadors, as namely from the French king, the king of Barbary & Fez, & the emperor of Russia. There was no great harme that hapned (thanked be God) considering the multitude; but that one arme or branch of a great elme broke, which stood in the Parke, by being John Stow, The Annales of England (London, 1602) 1403–4. Stow (1602) 1404. 23 John Stow, The Annales or Generall Chronicle of England (London, 1615) 790. 24 Stow (1602) 1404. 25 Stow (1615) 790. 21 22

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overladen with people, and from whence there fell three men, that were sore brused, and dangeously hurt.26

Perhaps the crowd assembled to see the tournament, but surely the presence of ambassadors from France, Morocco, and Russia—all with retinue and sumptuous attire—drew their attention. There may be another reason for the delay in the Moroccan embassy’s departure. In one of his frequent letters to Dudley Carleton, John Chamberlain reported on 15 October 1600 that ‘The Barbarians take theyre leave some time this weeke to go homeward, for our marchants nor marriners will not carrie them into Turkie, because they thincke yt a matter odious and scandalous to the world to be too frendly or familiar with infidells: but yet yt is no small honor to us that nations so far remote and every way different shold meet here to admire the glory and magnificence of our Quene of Saba’ [Elizabeth I].27 Six days later, on October 21, he wrote Carleton that ‘The Barbarians were yesterday at court to take theyre leave, and wilbe gon shortly, but the eldest of them (which was a kind of preest or prophet) hath taken his leave of the world and is gon to prophecie apud inferos and to seeke out Mahound theyre mediator.’28 Apparently one member of the Moroccan entourage, perhaps an imam, had died. Clearly all was not sweetness and light between the Moroccan embassy and the citizens of London. As Chamberlain’s report to Carleton indicates, prejudice against Islam ran strong, and the Moorish party’s attempts to keep faith with their own religion in the alien environs of London were not well received. The 1615 version of Stow’s Annales is far more judgmental than the matter-of-fact details recorded in the 1602 edition. ‘Notwithstanding all which kindnes shewed them,’ the later version opines, together with their dyet, and all other provision for sixe moneths space, wholly at the Queenes charges: yet such was their inveterate hate unto our Christian religion & estate, as they coulde not endure to give any manner of almes, charitie, or reliefe, eyther in moneie or broken meate unto any English poore, but reseved their fragments, & solde the same unto such poore as would give most for them. They kild all their owne meate within their house, as sheepe, lambes, poultrie, and such like, and they turne their faces eastward when they kill any thing; they use Beades, and pray to Saints: and whereas the chiefe pretence of their embassie was to require continuance of her Majesties speciall favour towardes their king, with like entreatie of her Navall ayde, for sundry especiall uses, chiefly to secure his treasure from the parts of Guynea, etc.29 26

Stow (1602) 1405. J ohn Chamberlain, The Letters of John Chamberlain, Vol. 1. Ed. Norman Egbert McClure (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1939) 108. 28 Chamberlain, 110. 29 Stow (1615) 790. According to The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Stow’s work was carried on after his death by Edmund Howes. Encouraged in his work by Archbishop Whitgift, an exponent of Anglican orthodoxy, Howe may have chosen to frame the Moroccan ambassadors’ visit more negatively than Stow’s earlier account. 27

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This commentator (Stow died in 1605; the negative remarks may have been supplied by his successor, Edmund Howes) also suspected the Moroccan party of mercantile espionage, claiming that ‘they used all subtiltie & diligence to know the prises, wayghts, measures, and all kindes of differences of such commodities, as eyther their country sent hither, or England transported thither.’30 When they left, they took samples of English weights, measures and commodities with them. Worse yet, ‘it was supposed they poysoned their interpretor, being borne in Granada, because he commended the estate and bountie of England.’ Indeed, ‘it was generally judged by their demeanors that they were rather espials, then honorable A mbassadors, for they omitted nothing that might damage the English Marchants.’31 Clearly some English merchants, probably those who were not attached to the Barbary Company and were excluded from the Moroccan trade, spread nasty rumors about the M oorish ambassadors. The Moorish delegation’s insistence on keeping to Islam’s dietary laws, their seeming lack of charity to the poor, and their interest in English commerce created, in this observer at any rate, a vitriolic response. But an elegant portrait of the Moorish Ambassador, Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud ben Mohammed Anoun, made in London during the embassy, suggests a different perspective. This large painting, which now hangs in the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon, reveals a dignified man in white robes covered by a black cloak, with a white turban, holding an ornate sword and scabbard. The Latin inscription gives his age as 42 years. Although his gaze is severe, perhaps wary, this is the image of a man of dignity and high status who merited respect. Judgments about Morocco at court were far more reasoned than Chamberlain’s letters or Stow’s report in the 1615 edition of the Annales, partly because George Tomson was residing at the time in Fez and sending reports to Secretary Robert Cecil. In August Tomson described in some detail the political pressures on ElM ansour, both from a possible S panish invasion and from internal rivalries in the Maghreb. Tomson’s letter indicates that Spanish ships had tried to take the ‘Eagle with the ambassadors, but she went hence three days before.’32 T o T omson, the King of Morocco was a besieged monarch, struggling against the common enemy Spain and looking for Elizabeth’s support. His religion, dietary customs, and manner of living were not the issue. III Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice can be dated sometime after the 1595 Moroccan embassy to London. As many editors have noted, Salerio’s reference to ‘my wealthy Andrew’33 (I.ii. 27), alludes to a Spanish ship, the San Andres, which was 30

Stow (1615) 791. Stow (1615) 791. 32 Calendar of State Papers Domestic, Vol. 5: 1598–1601 (London, 1869) 462. 33 William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice. Ed. Jay L. Halio (Oxford, 1993). Quotations will be cited by act, scene, and line numbers within the text. 31

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Fig. 3.1


A formal portrait of Abd El-Ouahed ben Messaoud ben Mohammed Anoun, Ambassador from the King of Morocco to Queen Elizabeth (1600). Courtesy of the University of Birmingham

captured during Essex’s raid on Cadiz, making the probable date of composition sometime in 1596–1597. The 1595 visit of al-Caid Ahmed ben Adel to London, accompanied by a retinue of 25 to 30 persons, surely captured the city’s attention, and it is likely that the playwright William Shakespeare joined the throngs who watched the Moorish ambassadors’ movements in and through London. In many respects, his account of the Prince of Morocco accords with what one might expect of such an embassy.

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Although he is of royal blood, the Prince of Morocco is nevertheless a kind of ambassador to Portia’s European court. He is, as it were, on a trading mission, anxious to obtain access to the riches of Portia’s Belmont. Like the Moorish ambassadors to England, his entourage is dressed in the costume of his country. The Folio stage direction for II.i.1 reads, ‘Enter Morochus a tawnie Moore all in white, and three or foure followers accordingly, with Portia, Nerrissa, and their traine. Flo. Cornets.’ The fanfare announces the arrival of a royal dignitary, as Morocco is, and the explicit stage direction for white dress indicates Shakespeare’s awareness of the color of traditional Moorish robes. Moreover, their whiteness contrasts, as editors often note, with the rich colors of Portia’s train. Morocco’s three or four followers (a large number given the size of the Lord Chamberlain’s Company) suggest a sizeable entourage. Finally, like the figure of el-Ouahed in the Shakespeare Institute’s portrait, Morocco carries a ‘scimitar’ and his complexion is tawny rather than black. Morocco’s language, often played for laughs, also suggests the decorous and inflated language of diplomacy. As the Oxford editor notes, ‘Morocco’s style is replete with metaphors and conceits’34 He uses ornate comparisons drawn from classical myth (‘Phoebus,’ and ‘Alcides,’), refers to climatological lore (the contrast between his sunburned climate and that of the north, where the sun ‘scarce thaws the icicles’), and boasts by his ‘scimitar’ of his valor against ‘the Sophy and a Persian prince’ (II.i. 1–38). Morocco also draws attention to his tawny skin color. His references to his own complexion, darkened by the sun, alludes to climatological explanations for the dark pigmentation of Africans.35 His references to Portia’s complexion establish her as his opposite; he is dark, she is fair. Portia counters in this scene with ornate language of her own. She remains firm in the conditions of her father’s will, but at the same time, she uses the dissimulation of diplomacy, claiming that the Prince is ‘as fair / As any comer’ she has yet looked on (II.i. 20–22). Portia admits her dissimulation when Morocco departs, confiding to Nerissa, ‘A gentle riddance ... Let all of his complexion choose me so’ (II.vii. 78–790). Morocco’s second and last appearance emphasizes the purpose of his quest to Belmont: to attain what many men desire. Like the golden fleece, Portia is the commodity that spurs travel through the world—‘The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds / Of wide Arabia are as throughfares now / For princes to come view fair Portia’ (II.vii. 41–3). And like the golden coin that bears the figure of an angel, she is the object of desire. But when the casket is opened, Morocco finds in place of Portia’s picture a death’s head. His final words bespeak the triumph of frost (the northern climes) over heat (northern Africa) and with few words more, he is gone.

Merchant 127. See Mary Floyd-Wilson, English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2003) for a complete study of early modern climatological theories. 34 35

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In both of Morocco’s appearances, the dramatist signifies his dignity as a visitor to a European court: an entourage, the flourish of cornets, and stately discourse. But similar to the Moroccan ambassadors who visited England, he leaves without the golden prize he came for. The Moroccan ambassadors—and for that matter, nearly every diplomat who came to Elizabeth’s court—were treated to polite dissimulation intended to purchase support against Spain without any sacrifice of English treasure or men. Their efforts to represent the Moroccan king as a political and mercantile equal to Elizabeth were futile. IV In 1600 Leo Africanus’s narrative traveled to England when John Pory’s translation, A Geographical Historie of Africa, ‘Written in Arabicke and Italian,’ appeared in a large folio edition. O n the title page, Pory promises that this tome will describe ‘the descents and families of their kings, the causes and events of their warres, with their manners, customes, religions, and civile government, and many other memorable matters.’ In the dedicatory epistle that follows to Secretary Robert Cecil, Pory expresses his hope that Leo’s Geographical Historie would be especially welcome in the wake of the Moroccan ambassadors’ visit: ‘in that the Marocan ambassadour (whose Kings dominions are heere most amplie and particularly described) hath so lately treated with your Honour concerning matters of that estate.’ Pory, it seems, hoped to capitalize on the publicity surrounding the Moroccan ambassadors’ recent visit. In ‘To the Reader,’ Pory commends John Leo’s merits, ‘Who albeit by birth a M ore, and by religion for many yeeres a Mahumetan: yet if you consider his Parentage, Witte, Education, Learning, Emploiments, Travels, and his conversion to Christianitie: you shall finde him not altogither unfit to undertake such an enterprize; nor unwoorthy to be regarded.’ Pory’s apologetic use of the double negative, ‘not altogither unfit,’ suggests his anxiety that English readers would not credit anything written by a ‘Muhumetan.’ He tries to establish John Leo’s authority by alluding to his Granadan heritage, linking him to classical writers, such as Seneca, Martial, and Juvenal, who were born in Spain. Pory also argues that in Fez, Leo was given ‘the best Education that all Barbarie could affoord.’ Learned, well bred, well traveled, John Leo could be trusted as an authority on Africa; after all, hadn’t he served in ‘honourable place vnder the same king of Fez, and sent ambassadour by him to the king of Maraco? Yea, how often in regard of his singular knowledge and judgement in the lawes of those countries, was he appointed, and sometimes constrained at divers strange cities and townes through which he travelled, to become a judge and arbiter in matters of greatest moment?’36 Through Pory’s translation, John Leo Africanus continues his early career as ambassador by representing the Maghreb in general, and the city of Fez in 36

Geographical Historie, T o the R eader.

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particular, to English readers. Pory’s translation devotes nearly 50 pages to Fez, the place most often identified with Morocco in the English mind. After describing the city’s early settlement and the teeming market, al-Wazzan turns to the part of Fez he loved best, where there were ‘most stately palaces, temples, houses, and colleges.’37 A city of culture and beauty, Fez could boast of its architecture, its temples, and perhaps most important for al-Wazzan, its excellent poets.38 Most pertinent to this essay is the Pory / Ramusio / Africanus representation of the King of Fez, which likely influenced the fictional Moroccan kings who appeared on London’s stages in the early seventeenth century. A Geographical Historie describes the King’s armies, the constitution of his household, and the manner of his government, but most striking, at least in light of later theatrical representations, is Leo’s take on the King’s consort: All the maideservants in the kings familie are Negro-slaves, which are partly chamberlains, and partly waiting-maids. And yet his Queene is alwaies of a white skin. Likewise in the King of Fez his court are certaine Christian captives, being partly Spanish, and partly Portugale women, who are most circumspectly kept by certeine Eunuchs, that are Negro-slaves.39

In addition to describing the King’s taste for European white women, Leo notes that he exacted punitive tributes from his people ‘to consume the same,’ so that ‘all the inhabitants of Africa are so oppressed with daily exactions, that they have scarcely wherewithall to feed and apparell themselves: for which cause there is almost no man of learning or honesty, that will seek any acquaintance with courtiers, or will invite them to his table, or accept any gifts (bee they never so pretious) at their hands: thinking that whatsoeuer goods they haue, are gotten by theft and briberie.’40 Ruling over a prosperous country with a long history of civilized institutions, the King of Fez who appears in Pory’s translation must have seemed ambiguous to English readers. V Pory’s English translation of Leo Africanus’ Geographical Historie circulated widely in the early seventeenth century and likely influenced Jacobean dramatists seeking exotic locales for their plays. They seized upon the negative traits described above—lust for white women, tyranny, and corruption—in their representations of Moroccan royalty. Although many Moors appeared on London’s early modern stages, especially black serving women,41 here I focus on two Moorish kings: Geographical Historie 138. Geographical Historie 124, 125, and 146. 39 Geographical Historie 163. 40 Geographical Historie 164. 41 S ee my Performing Blackness on English Stages, 1500–1800 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2005). 37


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King Mullisheg (for Muly Xarif) from Thomas Heywood’s The Fair Maid of the West, Parts One and Two, and Mulymumen from William Rowley and Thomas Middleton’s All’s Lost by Lust. Both are entranced by a European woman’s white beauty; both use subterfuge and threats of violence to obtain her. Heywood’s Fair Maid of the West appeared in two parts, the earlier written during Elizabeth’s reign, the second sometime later. As Jean Howard has eloquently demonstrated, Part One transforms the virginal figure of Bess Bridges, a workingclass girl who serves in a Plymouth tavern, into an ‘emblem of England.’42 Bess functions not only as a stand-in for Queen Elizabeth, ‘the virgin queen, so famous through the world, / The mighty empress of the maiden isle ... / And keeps the potent King of Spain in awe,’43 but she is also imbricated in England’s internal class struggles. As the play progresses, ‘the exceptional woman transforms the members of a factionalized, strife-ridden community into a harmonious band of brothers.’44 The transformation succeeds because the seafaring English unite against the alien ‘other,’ the dark-complexioned Moroccan king whose lascivious behavior displaces any anxiety the English men might have about Bess’ sexuality. When Bess and her compatriots land in Fez, they and we are introduced to Mullisheg, the King of Morocco. He enters, predictably, with an entourage: ‘Enter Mullisheg, Basha Alcade, and J offer, with other attendants.’45 M ullisheg then announces his plan to enrich his depleted treasury with tariffs levied on Christian merchants, an action that aligns him with Leo’s description of the King of Fez’s greed. Then the King requests new concubines, ‘The fairest Christian damsels you can hire / Or buy for gold ... Italians, French, and Dutch, choice Turkish girls / Must fill our Alkedavy, the great palace’ (IV.iii. 28–330). After all, Mullisheg proclaims, ‘our god shall be our pleasure,’ as the ‘Meccan prophet warrants’ (IV. iii. 39–40). Mullisheg’s desire to incorporate European women into his harem also confirms English prejudices and anxieties. Mullisheg’s reaction to Bess is similar to the Prince of Morocco’s to Portia: ‘This is no mortal creature I behold, / But some bright angel that is dropp’d from heaven’ (V.i. 34–5). After Mullisheg agrees to the English demands for friendly terms with their ships and sailors, Bess allows the King to kiss her, raising the specter of miscegenation. A second kiss occurs in the play’s final scene, and the silly servant Clem (who has been castrated to serve as a eunuch in Mullisheg’s Jean E. Howard, ‘An English Lass Amid the Moors: Gender, race, sexuality, and national identity in Heywood’s The Fair Maid of the West,’ in Women, ‘Race,’ & Writing in the Early Modern Period. Ed. Margo Hendricks and Patricia Parker (London: Routledge, 1994) 101–17; quote from 102. 43 Thomas Heywood, The Fair Maid of the West, Parts One and Two, ed. R obert K. Turner (Lincoln, NE: U of Nebraska P, 1967), V.i. 89–93. Quotations from these plays will be indicated by act, scene, and line numbers within the text. 44 Howard, 106. 45 The editor notes that in this stage direction, Heywood mostly got it right. Muly was a general term given to the King’s family, Bashaws were Captain Generals over the army, and al-caids were in charge of garrison towns. See Fair Maid, 67. 42


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court) comments: ‘Must your black face be smooching my mistress’s white lips with a Moorian?’ (V.ii. 80–81). But Heywood’s play is a comedy, and to ensure its happy conclusion—the long-awaited union of Bess and her English lover Spencer—Mullisheg’s desires must be frustrated. After Bess repels his advances, he praises her chaste constancy: ‘You have waken’d in me an heroic spirit; Lust shall not conquer virtue’ (V.ii. 118–19). In Heywood’s world, where God is certainly an Englishman, the King of Morocco is educable. Sailors and merchants can negotiate for reduced customs on their trade goods and safety from pirates. More important, he can be brought to see the superiority of English honor and morality. The second part of The Fair Maid of the West, like most sequels, echoes the action of the first, with Mullisheg once again yielding to lust for fair Bess. The comedy begins on the night of Spencer and Bess’s marriage, just where Part One left off. In an interesting comic twist, we are introduced to Tota, Mullisheg’s wife and Queen of Morocco, who is jealous of Mullisheg’s attentions to the English beauty. To get even, she arranges an assignation (she believes) with Bess’s husband Spencer. At the same time, Mullisheg promises the English sailor Goodlack untold wealth if he will help him to Bess’s bed. Now a tyrant, Mullisheg ‘starts out his chair as from a dream’ and mutters, ‘If he fail / I’ll have his flesh cut small as winter’s snow / Or summer’s atoms’ (I.i. 343–4). He then declares that once Bess is his, ‘The jewels of her habit shall reflect / To daze all eyes that shall behold her state’ (I.i. 383–4). This scene enacts the stereotypical behavior ascribed to Moorish (and Turkish) monarchs in England’s popular literature: mercurial tyrants, who are easily angered and prone to cruelty, lust for white European women. The tyrants resort to any subterfuge or violence to attain their desires. Mullisheg is thwarted by the comic device of the bedtrick.46 A lthough he assumes for a while that the woman he beds is Bess, we know that his partner is his wife Tota, who thinks, in turn, she is sleeping with Spencer. The bedtrick keeps this play a comedy; although the plot arouses anxiety over the possibility of miscegenation between the Moorish king and the virginal English lass, it never occurs. The Moorish king beds his lawful wife. When the truth of this arrangement is revealed, M ullisheg again repents his unlawful lust for Bess: Shall lust in me have chief predominance? And virtuous deeds, for which in Fez I have been long renown’d, be quite exil’d? S hall Christians have the honor To be sold heirs of goodness, and we Moors Barbarous and bloody? ... Y’have quench’d in me all lust, by which shall grow Virtues which Fez and all the world shall know. (III.iii. 139–69)

46 For a discussion of the use of this plot device in plays with Moorish characters, see Performing Blackness, 74–92.

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English steadfastness—Spencer keeping his oath and Bess retaining her chastity— reminds Mullisheg what honor is. For Heywood, trade and traffic with Morocco not only opens up a rich trading venue, it results in a type of moral education prescient of the nineteenth century’s ‘white man’s burden.’ The ending is not so happy in William Rowley and Thomas Middleton’s All’s Lost by Lust. Mounted at the Phoenix Theatre in Drury Lane by the Lady Elizabeth’s Men, this melodramatic tragedy catered to the aristocratic taste for sexual intrigue rather than Heywood’s bourgeois interest in trade. Located in medieval Spain, the play sets the Spanish king Roderigo’s illicit desire for his general’s daughter Jacinta against the backdrop of war with Morocco. The Spanish are besieged, with ‘three thousand score ... barbarous and tawney Africans’ ready to cross the straits of Gibraltar and extend their dominion in ‘Christian Europe in Granado and Andalusia.’47 While Jacinta’s father Julianus is off fighting the Moorish king Mulymumen’s army, Roderigo rapes her. The text compares him twice to Tarquin, highlighting the connection between lust and tyranny. Jacinta is compared to Lucrece, but unlike the Roman model of chastity, she does not commit suicide. When Julianus learns of the rape, he releases his Moorish prisoners, including Mulymumen, who agree to join him in an attack on Roderigo. Mulymumen offers to seal the alliance by taking Julianus’s ravished daughter to wife. But Jacinta adamantly refuses the offer: ‘O my second hell, / A Christians armes embrace an infidell!’ (G4r-v). Her fears are fulfilled by the play’s final scene, when Julianus realizes his error in making an alliance with a Moroccan king: Tis naturall to thee, base African, Thine inside’s blacker then thy sooty skin; O h Julianus, what hast thou done? Th’ast scapt The raging Lion, to wrastle with a Dragon. He woud have slaine with a majesticke gripe, But this with venome; better had bin thy fate By him to fall, then thus by such a hellhound. (H4v)

Mulumumen then takes on the characteristic cruelty of stage Moors, and suddenly Roderigo becomes the lesser of two evils. Like Aaron in Titus Andronicus, Mulymumen laughs at his own ingeniousness in using Jacinta for a shield when he and her father meet in single combat. Both father and daughter are killed, leaving Mulymumen the conqueror of Spain. As Jack D’Amico contends, although All’s Lost by Lust begins with a comparatively nuanced portrait of the Moorish king; after ‘having tested the audience’s imagination by including the African perspective on Europeans, the playwright returned to the simplistic images required for a theatrical summing up.’48 Scarcely a human being, the black Moorish king is at the end a monster. 47 William Rowley [and Thomas Middleton], All’s Lost by Lust (London, 1633), sig. A4v. Quotations will be cited by signature numbers within the text. 48 D’Amico, 105.


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VI This brief examination of historical and fictional accounts of the Moroccan king illustrates the slipperiness of generic categories. Pory’s translation of John Leo Africanus’s Geographical Historie describes both positive and negative characteristics, while the 1614 edition of Stow’s Annales relies on negative religious stereotypes. Neither account is fictional, but each reflects its author’s views of Moorish character and culture. On stage, fictional representations of the King of Morocco could sometimes be nuanced, but both Heywood and Rowley / Middleton resort to the stereotype of the lascivious, corrupt monarch when it suits their purpose. Taking their audiences to faraway places and earlier times, the dramatists are perhaps like al-Wazzan’s Amphibia: they enter another world for a time, but they are always prepared to return to their English audience’s nationalistic perspective, especially in the play’s conclusion. In early modern England, both sorts of discourse—seemingly factual chronicles and travel accounts and fictional dramatic representations—interacted and influenced each other in ways we cannot entirely reconstruct, while both served, in a sense, as ambassadors to England from the King of Morocco.

PART 2 Agents of Exchange

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Chapter 4

Just Passing: Abbé Carré, Spy, Harem-lord, and ‘made in France’ Pompa Banerjee

He was an Indo-Portuguese—a fine, well-made man, but rather gypsy-like in face .... I got on well with him, for I have the faculty of doing so with everyone I meet without any constraint or embarrassment on my part, as I fall in with their bents, humours and inclinations. In this way I go where I wish without giving anything away as to the business or other reason for which I am traveling in these countries, or even as to my destination. It is advisable for European travelers in the East to keep their business to themselves and to disclose as little as possible. —Abbé D. Barthélemy Carré 

I begin with Abbé Barthélemy Carré’s counsel to European travelers in the East. Carré had recently sailed from the Persian Gulf in a Portuguese ship bound for Diu, West India. It was 1672, the beginning of his second voyage to the East. Salvador George, the ‘gypsy-like’ man in the passage above, was the Indo-Portuguese captain of the ship. Embedded in Carré’s reflections is his notion of an emissary: a voyager capable of falling in with the bents and humors of every person while jealously guarding an interiority conceived of as fixed, and impervious to the contaminating waters washing over his journey. In other words, the resourceful emissary always passes as someone else, reinventing oneself through the voyage, attending always to the question of identity even as the perils of travel expose the fissures radiating from such an enterprise.

Book 1, 128. All quotations are from Abbé D. Barthélemy Carré, The Travels of Abbé Carré in India and the Near East 1672–1674, trans. Lady Fawcett, ed. Charles Fawcett. 3 volumes (New Delhi: Asian Education Services, 1990), the English translation of Le Courier de l’Orient. Subsequent quotations will indicate volume and page number and will appear parenthetically in the body of the text. Although Carré’s correspondence with Colbert is preserved in the Archives du Ministère de Colonies, the flyleaf of the MS notes was presented to Colbert upon Carré’s return. The manuscript of Carré’s journal of this second voyage (1672–1674) was acquired in 1820 by the Director of the East India Company (Fawcett, xviii). His first Eastern voyage was in 1666–1671. 


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Carré’s voyage was singular in many ways. While distinguished envoys and courtiers such as Sir Thomas Roe and François Bernier performed in the glare of public scrutiny as diplomats and ambassadors, lesser-known voyagers such as Carré performed equally complex missions in comparative obscurity as agents and emissaries. This essay centers on Le Courier de l’Orient, Carré’s narrative of his two-year voyage to India (1672–1674). In particular, the essay examines Carré’s self-conscious role as an emissary charged with conflicting missions in India. As a clergyman, he was responsible for Christian souls on alien soil. But he was also a French agent dispatched by Louis XIV’s influential minister Jean Baptiste Colbert. In that capacity, Carré undertook multiple, frequently contradictory, assignments. He intervened in the spice trade, securing French commercial interests in India. Additionally, he was a French national conveying military dispatches and naval secrets in France’s war with the Dutch in Indian waters. Concurrently, Carré was a covert operative spying on his compatriots. His surveillance reports on fellow Frenchmen helped Colbert to police the activities of French citizens in India. Above all, Carré was a cultural emissary. He illustrates this vital aspect of his mission in the harem, one of the most contested of Eastern sites. His elaborate comparisons of Indian harems and French convents, his definitions of the inferior ‘Man God’ of Indian harems and the virile Christian God of French convents, his self-portrayal as a fictive harem lord represent Carré as an emissary par excellence, an imperial defender of French culture and Christian superiority in the vast, heathen wilderness of India. Carré projects and complicates the figure of the emissary in dramatic ways. The logic of Le Courier hinges on the recognition that emissaries often impersonate fictional characters, assuming different costumes in varied locations. He assumes the guise of many characters in his narrative, theatrical personae jostling in a cosmopolitan drama. Successful agents, Carré’s text seems to suggest, blend into their environments with chameleonic grace, changing languages, costumes, and nationalities with ease. Faced with contested affiliations and stark cultural differences, such agents do not go native; instead, they foreground their multiple fictional selves, guarding a seemingly inviolate European identity outside the glare of the public eye, and untouched by foreign contamination. This strategy allows emissaries such as Carré to discreetly appropriate the alien culture through fiction and paranoia, and to paint with broad brush strokes the foreign culture for the consumption of domestic audiences. The two sections of this essay reflect the global and local resonances in Carré’s persona of the emissary. The first section: ‘The Global: The Making of an Emissary,’ traces his dramatic appearance as several characters on a sprawling international stage. His fractured roles shed light on his fabrication of the emissary as one entrenched in a drama involving secrecy, paranoia, camouflage, and the exchange of information. The second section: ‘The Local: Cultural Emissary in the Harem’ closely examines Carré’s remarkable adventures in an imaginary harem. Here he processes discrete cultural phenomena in France and India—the convent and the harem—into a larger statement about the local and the global, as well as the cultural standing of France. Both sections reflect Carré’s development of the concept of the emissary.

Just Passing


The Global: The Making of an Emissary Carré served in turbulent times. He traveled from France via the Syrian desert, Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), and the Persian Gulf to India, where he visited St. Thomé near Madras, Surat, Goa, and the Southern sultanates of Bijapur and Golconda. Le Courier tracks the events of 1672–1674 and French involvement in the transoceanic circulation of trade between Europe, Asia, and the Americas. French trade in India was enmeshed in several clandestine trading networks that depended on secrecy and the exchange of information. Philippe Haudrère notes that France dealt in illegal trafficking in silver from the Spanish territories of Central and South America, often sinking enormous amounts of money into the ‘Asian abyss,’ in exchange for several tons of silver sent to India. To combat the unequal trade, the French sold flour, salted meats, wines and liquors in the Indian markets. Indeed, the flow of American silver supported trade at a time when the success of the Portuguese Estado da India encouraged other European states such as the British East India Company and Dutch VOC (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie) to form joint stock companies. The French East India Company, the Compagnie des Indes Orientales was founded by Colbert in 1664. Carré’s journal reflects the shifting contingencies of mercantile activities in India, and unfolds against the backdrop of territorial appropriation and rapidly expanding imperial agendas of several European states. Carré would have seen firsthand the expansion of the Compagnie into a more powerful entity. And although the French were to play a less prominent role in comparison to the British, in 1668, before Carré’s landfall, the French had established their first Indian factory in Surat, and then, during his residence in India, the Compagnie acquired land in Pondicherry in 1673, and in Chandernagore in 1674. Furthermore, his tenure in India coincided with the naval activities of a French squadron in Indian waters. Dispatched by Colbert, the fleet guarded French commercial interests and skirmished with the Dutch in the Indian Ocean. Carré playfully highlighted his role in the conflict by calling his journal Le Courier de l’Orient, since he carried missives from Colbert for General Blanquet de la Haye who led the French division. When Carré reached the fort of St. Thomé, he became an agent for de la Haye, bartering information, and dealing with the English in India. What are the qualifications of an emissary? Carré does not elaborate, but his social skills extend well beyond church matters enabling him to perform in a secular, international arena with considerable aplomb. According to his own testimony, he was familiar with courtly manners, and acquainted with members 

Philippe Haudrère, “The French East India Company and its trade in the eighteenth century.” Merchants, Companies, and Trade: Europe and Asia in the Early Modern Era. Ed. Sushil Chaudhury and Michel Morineau. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999) 202–11. 203–7.  Om Prakash, The New Cambridge History of India: European Commercial Enterprise in Pre-colonial India. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998) 79–80.  Lady and Charles Fawcett, “Introduction.” In Carré, The Travels xiii–lvi. xiii.


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of the nobility; among other gentlemanly attributes, he also played the flute (1:82). As his meticulous observations on women’s clothing suggest, Carré was au courant in the matter of haute couture of courtly women. Furthermore, he was an urbane sportsman who sailed a boat with flair, and piloted vessels at sea (1:92, 95–6). A skilled marksman, he shot light game in Europe (1:23) and hunted tigers and boars in India (1:198, 235, 3:767). Like other courtiers, Carré was adept at hawking; he accompanied Persians in falconry expeditions (xxxii, 1:124). He was well-educated, familiar with Latin and Greek literature (1:177, 310). Beyond classical training and worldly sophistication, Carré possessed formidable linguistic proficiency: In addition to his native French, he spoke Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, as well as some Dutch and English (Fawcett, xxxii). Beyond these varied skills, Carré possessed a quality that served him well in his diplomatic career. He was an avid intelligence gatherer, policing other European agencies and Indian royal courts. Carré called his journal ‘a stainless mirror, in which I show clearly the most hidden and secret things that have occurred in the administration of your trade in these distant Eastern lands’ (1:1). An emissary, he seems to have realized, achieves power through ferreting out secrets and exchanging information for favors. C.A. Bayly emphasizes the vital role that sophisticated intelligence-gathering and information exchanges played in empire formations. As he notes, European intelligencers were continuing ancient Indian traditions of royal intelligence derived from Indian texts on political theory, with rulers ‘regarding surveillance as a vital dimension of the science of kingship.’ As an agent, Carré may have played a more important part in French imperial ambitions than he perhaps realized. Secrecy becomes a necessary precondition to Carré’s voyage. At times, this fixation borders on paranoia; suspicion, disinformation, and mistrust guide his steps. He finds no trustworthy Arab guide in Aleppo, ‘There was not one on whom I could rely as in Baghdad’ (1:43). Seeking a reliable guide and a safe passage to India, Carré finds himself a beleaguered spy beset with other spies. Concealment therefore becomes essential to his enterprise: I had to keep my plans secret, for I feared that Arabs, if informed of them, might lay ambushes for me on the road. I also heard that two Dutchmen at Aleppo were having me spied upon by several persons, who under pretext of polite attentions tried in every way to learn my plans and the route I proposed taking to the East. (1:43)

Besieged from all sides, seemingly under attack from Arabs, Dutch, and others, Carré does what resourceful emissaries do. He blends in. He poses as a sightseer in Aleppo, and ‘to avert any suspicion of my plans, I received and paid visits to the French, English, Italian and other strangers who, for the most part, did all they could to discover what I was going to do’ (1:43). Even after he finds a guide, the desert crossing from Aleppo is fraught with danger; treachery and betrayal lurk around  C.A . Bayly, Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780����� –���� 1870 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999), 10, 12.

Just Passing


every corner: ‘My suspicion increased that this Arab had evil designs’ (1:65). Forced to rely on a guide he does not trust, Carré remains vigilant—he trusts no one. Although Carré’s paranoia acquires a delusional tinge on occasion, some of it may have been well justified, given the pivotal role of surveillance and information-trading in early modern exchanges. For instance, the British set up formal organizations for espionage against the French; British agents passed on information about the French via Aleppo and Basra to Surat, Bombay, and Calcutta. In India, Carré is dogged by an English spy, ‘it seemed he was not pleased that I had retired to the suburb, where no Englishman could have knowledge of my doings (2:591). Ironically, this English spy, the Reverend Father Ephraim, is just like Carré, a man of church doubling as an undercover agent. Carré does not divulge his plans to anyone, however, he cannot shake off the feeling that he is constantly under surveillance, watched by unseen eyes and stalked by mysterious agents. In addition to spies and foreign agents, Carré fears the desert Bedouins who did not take kindly to uninvited travelers. In June 1672, Carré’s fears come true when Arab ‘desert thieves’ ambush him on the way to Fallujah (1:72). He notes, ‘The hour I so much dreaded arrived at last. I was always on the look-out, and at eleven o’clock at night I heard the noise of horses behind us. I had hardly turned my head when I saw, as well as I could make out in the moonlight, fifty horsemen coming along boldly’ (1:70). Events follow a predictable course. Carré is robbed but his quick-witted response saves the military dispatches and royal missives, which he had ‘kept in my hand, wrapped in a handkerchief rolled in a filthy rag’ (1:70). He throws the bundle into a bush thereby saving his precious charge. And so begins Carré’s elaborate production of the figure of the emissary. Reverting frequently to metaphors of stage and performance, Carré signals his awareness that the character of the emissary is necessarily an artifice; it is a ragged patchwork, a mélange of the shreds and vestiges of his journey. Describing his misfortunes in Persia, he notes, ‘The first scene in this tragicomedy having thus ended, other actors entered who played their parts better than the first had’ (1:98). He adds, ‘But my comedy would not be perfect without a farce, which was to be played in this desert and retired spot’ (1:104). The specific vocabulary of the theater—scene, tragicomedy, actors, playing parts, comedy, and farce—suggests that Carré is alert to the potential theatricality of his narrative persona: The emissary plays a part on the world stage; he recurrently passes as someone else. Perhaps that is why the text repeatedly portrays Carré masquerading as someone else. He appears as a character in his own narrative. He is no one and everyone, a chameleon par excellence. In 1673, in a South India riven by the conflicts between the French, Dutch, English, and various Indian states, he loses himself in a crowd of tourists: ‘For I was among Hindus, pariahs, Portuguese, and similar kinds of people, I also passed as a stranger, who had nothing to do with the French at St. Thomé, as I gave them all—Moors, Hindus, and everyone else, who came daily to visit me—to understand that I was a businessman of the French Company, and had no intercourse or dealing with those who were at war with them’ (2:591). 

Bayly, 146.


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Carré goes through a dizzying array of camouflages, adopting various disguises, altering his apparel and physical characteristics. On the dangerous desert crossing to Baghdad from Aleppo, he asks for his ‘Arab clothes and accoutrements,’ and steps out into the garden to ‘shave my head, so I could wear a turban’ (1:46–7). In Babylon, seeking a crossing to Persia, he turns Arab once more: ‘I dressed myself again in Arab clothes, as I did not wish to be recognized as a Frank’ (1:75). By the Tigris, he dons the attire of an Ottoman ‘Agha or other dignitary’ to evade custom duties owed by foreigners: The owner of the boat ‘hoisted the Turkish flag on our stern. I was dressed as a Turk, and he made me lie down under the awning of our boat, as if I was an Ottoman of rank’ (3:850). In Persia, Carré changes into Persian costume several times, slipping back into Persian robes in Surat where he ‘donned the dress and outfit of a Persian merchant’ 2:327; 3:786, 797). Even when he is gravely ill in Golconda, India, Carré does not let his guard down: ‘I had myself carried in my palanquin, disguised as a Persian merchant’ (2:327). In Portugueseheld territories in India, Carré switches to less conspicuous attire: ‘I now changed into Portuguese dress, and made my servants .... wear Portuguese clothes. I instructed them all to say I was a Portuguese coming from Goa’ (2:361). Carré’s nationality goes through a series of similar makeovers. In South India, he negotiates a tangle of nationalities as he passes through villages occupied by the Dutch, Portuguese, English, and French all vying with local inhabitants for spices, profits, and territories. He readily sheds his French identity when it becomes an impediment. Ironically his countrymen do not realize he is French when they see him dressed as a Portuguese: ‘Nine of ten French soldiers also drew near and watched us with curiosity. As they could not imagine I understood French, they expressed themselves pretty freely. One said I did not look like a Frenchman; another said my face was more like a Spaniard’ (2:362). Among the Portuguese, he passes as one of their own. A Portuguese soldier declares that Carré ‘had a Portuguese look’ although he spoke the language with ‘a certain accent in my speech which sounded a little like Italian or some other foreign tongue’ (2:363). Secure in his masquerade, he watches in wry amusement as a Dutch official who  Like many other early modern Europeans, Carré������������������������������������� frequently employs the terms “Moor” and “Turk” carelessly. “Moor” could designate any Muslim in Africa, parts of Europe, or various Eastern regions; the term could also describe dark-skinned peoples of various cultures and religions, for instance, both Hindus and Muslims in the East. In a similar fashion, “Turk” could loosely signify Ottoman, Anatolian, Arab, or even “Moor” and Muslim. While I retain ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Carré’s�������������������������������������������������������������������������� use of “Turk” and “Turkey” in this essay, I also recognize the ambiguity of these terms. Modern readers may find both terms inaccurate and misleading, especially when conflated with their modern usage. The term “Turkey” is distinct from the Ottoman Empire and “Turk” does not take into account the Ottoman rulers’ use of the word to signify an Anatolian peasant, or to refer to the Rumelian or Central Asian Turks. Furthermore, my use of the word is not synonymous with the modern political designation of citizens in the Turkish Republic that since 1923 has subsumed the rich, multilingual complexity of the diverse religious and ethnic groups—Kurds, Armenians, Arab, Turkoman, Jews, Circassians, Georgians, Laz, Greeks, Roma, Slavs, and others—�������������������������� into the generic “Turks,” the citizens of the Turkish Republic.

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believes that Carré is Portuguese, accuses a Portuguese soldier of being French. The Portuguese man who ‘had a great aversion to that [French] nation,’ is mortally offended and ‘brought wine to quench his fury at the wrong and insult he had suffered by the mere suspicion of being French’ (2:362). In a malicious spin of the situation, Carré establishes his ‘true’ Portuguese identity to a Portuguese and a Dutch official by ‘dress[ing] down my Portuguese in a way that astonished all these Dutchmen. They were all now of the opinion that I was a real Portuguese and of much higher birth than the other’ (2:365). Elsewhere Carré adopts other national affiliations. Near Leghorn, the Dutch think he is English: ‘During the long hour which our entertainment lasted, these Flemish showed great friendship for the captain and the English officers, of whom they thought I was one’ (1:32). Nationalities, Carré finds, cannot be traced in the contours of one’s face; they are merely expedient masks, disposable passports enabling Carré to claim citizenship in multiple communities. As Carré switches national allegiances, he slips fluidly into corresponding determiners to refer to the shifting subjects of his narrative. For instance, in A leppo, he pointedly distinguishes his guide from his countrymen: ‘I told my A rab to show no fear’ (Emphasis added, 1:48); or, ‘As an additional blow, my A rab, while dozing on his horse, dropped his bow’ (Emphasis added, 1:51). When Carré declines an offer to meet Ottoman officials, he notes, ‘My two Arabs, delighted that I had refused the Turks’ offers, left me alone’ (Emphasis added, 1:60–61). The word ‘my’ confers possession of the Arab guides to Carré. However, the reference behind the determiner ‘my’ shifts as Carré trades one regional alliance with another, from Arab to Turk. Chasing wild beasts through the brush, Carré notes, ‘I took some of the bravest of my Turks, and with fire-arms in hand and drawn sabres in our belts we encircled the reeds’ (Emphasis added, 3:850). Gliding into the collective embrace of the words ‘we’ and ‘our,’ he reiterates the same possessive determiner ‘my,’ only this time indicating his ownership not of Arab but of his Ottoman guides. In a skirmish with Arab tribesmen, he tries ‘to warn my Turks about this encounter’ (emphasis added, 3:855). The words remain the same; Carré simply modifies the function of ‘my’ by replacing ‘Arab’ with ‘Turk,’ alerting the reader of the changed circumstances and his altered allegiances. Beyond disguises, nationalities, and fleeting regional allegiances, Carré also repeatedly switches his profession. Priesthood is not his only vocation. Traveling up the Tigris, he passes as a ‘Frankish doctor,’ even holding an impromptu clinic where he practices his brand of medicine on ‘a dozen women’ to sustain the verisimilitude of his disguise: ‘I inspected all of them, one after the other, and after having discussed their ailments I ordered to one a particular diet, to another the juice of certain herbs, and to others baths and similar remedies. They took all this for gospel and I passed as a more able doctor than Hippocrates or Galen’ (1:84–5). Indeed, his services are so much in demand that Carré is exasperated by the rigors of practicing medicine among strangers. In Qurna, Carré is compelled to examine the Agha’s wives and slaves, prescribing various diets, medicines, and herbs, ‘They wished me every prosperity and a prompt return to the place, as they all imagined that I was in their God-forsaken country only for the health and cure of the sick,


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wherever I passed’ (3:844). Clearly, his heart was not in physic. We do not know how his patients fared after his departure, but Carré moves on. In India, en route from Golconda to St Thomé, he poses as a Dutch trader (2:357, 359), and on a Dutch ship, he passes as an English officer (1:32–3). In India, he is a provision master for the French garrison negotiating for corn and grain (2:590, 606). In a curious twist of his tale, Carré serves as a matchmaker to Portuguese women who ‘implored me to help them in their fervent wish to marry Frenchmen’ since the local Portuguese are ‘chiefly miserable soldiers—horrors’ (1:192). Carré promises to deliver ‘what they desired so passionately, namely French husbands’ (1:192–3). ‘So, in addition to my own tiresome affairs,’ Carré explains, ‘I had to be a matrimonial agent; and every day I had troops of women on my hands, who came to see me as being their only hope’ (2:656). Evidently, Carré turns from one career to another with zest. Even disguised as someone else, or practicing some trade other than diplomacy and espionage—recall his ventures as physician and matrimonial agent—Carré never forgets his primary mission in India. And that is why, in Golconda, notwithstanding his near-death experience and illness, Carré continues to collect intelligence for the French, still dressed as a Persian merchant. Watching the troops assemble for the siege of St. Thomé, Carré observes: All these warlike preparations attracted many people, and I often found myself among foreign merchants, who (taking me for a Persian) approached me in their palanquins .... As they gossiped about the king’s affairs, I soon learnt all they knew about the court. (2:328)

The emissary must constantly pass, just as Carré does, transforming himself from one character to another. Carré’s repertoire of roles, costumes, and character, as a French abbé, a doctor, an Arab, a Persian, a Turk, a Dutch merchant, an English officer, a Portuguese trader, a provision master, a matchmaker, appears as a procession of fleeting masks on a multinational, multiethnic stage. These theatrical personae cloak Carré’s key assignment as emissary—at least the way he seems to interpret that role—to gather and convey information, bolster French interests in the East, and everywhere, establishing the cultural superiority of France to the rest of the world. Carré is utterly convinced that voyagers in foreign parts can safeguard their culture and national character, at least the superior French culture and character, from all sorts of unwelcome forms of alterity. As far as he is concerned, culture and character are as indelible as skin color. In Daman, along the western seaboard of India, Carré attempts to counsel one M. Vidal, a gentleman from Provence embroiled in domestic strife caused by a Portuguese wife given to serial adultery. ‘The poor man did not know,’ Carré confides in the reader, ‘that it is impossible to cure a woman who has once got into the habit of illicit pleasures; you might as well try to make a nigger’s head white by washing it’ (3:749). If, as Carré believes, culture or character are as impossible to erase as the proverbial darkness of the racially inscribed African, then he always has access to a sacrosanct reserve of the best qualities of French culture, a reserve he consistently shields in all his travels. As self-appointed defender of French culture, he repeatedly reminds his

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readers that the French are mostly immune to the corrosive dissipation wrought by travels abroad. Describing French soldiers engaged in a skirmish in India, he notes that the adversaries ‘realized that they had to deal with an indefatigable people, a terrible nation, and soldiers who resembled lions and tigers, nourished on blood and carnage, and living only for warfare and the chance of acquiring glory’ (2:465). French soldiers, evidently, are a breed apart, fierce, feral conquerors, bloody exemplars of an ‘nation’ of such glory-seekers. Indeed, in his role as the French emissary, Carré remarks, without any sense of irony, that the French Viceroy was a ‘great man’ who ‘resembled a second Alexander’ (2:451). The superhuman power of the French is a divine gift. Describing a French sortie against the ‘Moors’ in St. Thomé in 1673, Carré observes that it ‘certainly seemed as if Heaven was fighting for us and not mere human strength’ (2:463). Clearly, as Carré believed, God spoke French in India. Moreover, the masks protect Carré from the decadence he sees everywhere. His narrative suggests that contact with other cultures contaminates, that journeys, especially in the East, irrevocably alter voyagers; travel corrupts. Carré’s homeland was especially concerned with such forms of dark influence among Frenchmen wandering in the corridors of oriental despotism and foreign values. As Alain Grosrichard suggests, when you look into the orient, the orient, like the Nietzschean abyss, looks back at you: ‘Thus, while the despotic Orient is indeed the Other held up for us to see, it is also the one that regards us, in every sense of that word. Ever since the envoy from the Sublime Porte visited Louis XIV in 1669, the gaze of the Oriental has haunted France and Paris.’ Carré makes multiple references to the collapse of European moral and cultural fiber in India. The Portuguese, he notes, ‘nowadays they have degenerated and are slack, cowardly, and effeminate, given over to sloth and pleasures, and leading odious and immoral lives’; they are ‘worn out and without any vigour’ (1:68, 192). The Dutch are scarcely better being ‘so proud and haughty that every kind of people finds them intolerable’ (2:539). He reserves especially harsh criticism for compatriots who have gone native and lost their original dignity. The French consul at Aleppo, for instance, is the worst cultural representative because the Turks and locals ‘looked upon him as a buffoon. One day some Turkish merchants actually dressed up a monkey in a red coat and took it to call on the Aleppo Pasha, saying (to divert him) that it was the French Consul paying him a visit’ (1:44). A dressed-up monkey for a Frenchman: this is precisely the sort of cultural degeneration that Carré abhors. His text presents Carré as one aloof, who despite the giddy succession of costumes, roles, and professions, manages to remain detached from the corrupt Eastern cultures that he navigates. The Local: Cultural Emissary in the Harem In prurient Western projections, the harem is a notorious example of precisely such forms of Eastern corruption, and while harems seem distant from Jerusalem 

Alain Grosrichard, The Sultan’s Court, trans. Liz Heron (London: Verso, 1998), 24.

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and the sacred geography of the scriptural East, the objective of so many European pilgrims, for many travelers, harems are nevertheless shrines of some sort. T he harem’s mystique comes from its stubborn opacity that resists intruding eyes and linguistic unveiling. In 1670, François Bernier, another emissary who visited the Mughal court (1656–1668) published his account of India. Writing about the harem, Bernier noted, ‘It would afford me pleasure to conduct you to the Seraglio, as I have introduced you into other parts of the fortress. But who is the traveller that can describe from ocular observation the interior of that building?’ Bernier’s rhetorical question acknowledges that harems, by definition, are indescribable because they are forbidden spaces concealed from outsiders. Left to the imagination, then, the harem is projected as the locus of countless Western libidinous fantasies. As Ruth Bernard Yeazell notes, ‘Any study of the West’s relation with the harem must be in large part a study of the imagination.’10 During Carré’s previous Eastern voyage (1666–1671), also in 1670, another emissary, a French ambassador, arrived at Constantinople with his secretary Antoine Galland, remembered less for his diplomatic career than for his translation of the Mille et une Nuits (1704– 1717) Arabian Nights. This was a text that was to profoundly shape the image of exotic, secretive Eastern harems, sites of unimaginable depravity.11 Recent critical analyses of the cultural, erotic, and imperial implications of harem narratives variously examine the way Europeans dissociated themselves from the supposed decadence and despotism of the harem even as they titillated readers with details of the supposed excesses in its veiled recesses.12 In Carré’s projection, the harem is a fertile terrain where his special theatrical gift of role-playing finds its fullest expression. Here he performs his key role as cultural emissary. Although Carré’s seraglio is a fictional space, within its imagined confines he assumes his most intriguing persona, that of the harem lord. As master of the seraglio, Carré establishes French cultural superiority through a comparison of two cloistered female spaces: French convents and Indian harems. Although immeasurable geographical, cultural, and historical distances separate them, Carré’s perverse analogy exploits the subterranean connection between convents and harems in European accounts—the rumors of sexual debauchery and moral laxity that swirled around both spaces. Harems, as we know, were imagined as licentious places. But vicious reports circulated as well of the supposed sexual degeneracy rampant in European nunneries, so much so that in 1558, Cosimo de’ Medici felt compelled to defend the reputation of convents to Cardinal Guido Ascanio Sforza: ‘there have always been a few of bad repute and an infinite François Bernier, Travels in the Moghul Empire, A.D. 1656–1668. Trans. Archibald Constable. 2nd ed. (Delhi Munshilal Manoharlal, 1992) 67. 10 R uth Bernard Y eazall, Harems of the Mind: Passages of Western Art and Literature (New Haven: Yale UP, 2000) 1. 11 R ana Kabbani, Europe’s Myth of the Orient (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1986) 14–36. 12 For critical analyses of harems within colonial discourses, see among others, Ahmed, Alloula, Grewal, Grosrichard, Kabbani, Lowe, Mellman, Nussbaum, Peirce, Said, Teltscher, Y eazell, Y egenoglu. 

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number of very holy and religious ones.’13 But convents remained ‘notorious for their loose moral standards and for their sexual license.’14 Such notoriety makes the convent the perfect launching site for Carré’s counterattack. Tarnished exemplars of exclusively female spaces in French culture—the ostensibly debauched religious houses—are compared to even more disreputable feminized locales in Indian culture, the royal harems. The ingenious comparison validates Carré’s cultural embassy. To be sure, this strategy of comparison and contrast is hardly original; after all, ‘Ethnic and national identities operate in the lives of individuals by connecting them with some people, dividing them from others.’15 But Carré goes further, laying out stark distinctions between cloistered women in India and Europe—distinctions that he rewrites in his narrative. Conversing with the Governor of Raybag, Carré simultaneously highlights and defers the affinity between Indian harems and European convents: In France we also have girls shut up between four walls; but what you call seraglios in your tongue, in ours we term religious houses. They are, however, quite different from your slave women, of whom you think so much. Truly they possess other beauties, qualities and perfections than those of your women, who endure nothing but slavery, and who have nothing to recommend them but a little beauty that lasts only a brief moment. (1:259)

By yoking seraglios to European convents, Carré draws attention to their seeming linkage. As a cultural emissary, he seizes on the one aspect of French culture that might seem as morally dubious—life in convents—in order to defend French women from a charge of moral laxity. As guardian of French reputation on foreign soil, he transforms the harem women into slaves while endowing his cloistered countrywomen with ‘other beauties’ superior to the earthly charms that last ‘only a brief moment.’ Carré stresses the privileges of the nuns’ secluded lives in comparison with Indian harem women by reworking his own memories of the melancholy French nuns he had encountered in the abbeys and cloisters of Paris, Poissy, St. Sauveur of Êvreus, Rouen, Bourges, la Guiche, and Moncey. They had ‘overwhelm(ed) you with lamentations longer than those of the Prophet Jeremiah, showing the hardship of their lives, and the sorrows they feel at being cloistered, also their displeasure at not seeing the outside world’ (1:248). Carré revises the nuns’ Jeremiad of sorrows and deprivations into a colloquy between himself and an imaginary audience of French nuns, with Carré himself supplying the script for the silent and melancholy nuns. Quoted in Judith C. Brown, Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy (New York: Oxford UP, 1986) 36. 14 Brown, 4. See also Teltscher, Kate. India Inscribed: European Writing about India (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1995), 45. 15 Appiah Kwame Anthony, and Henry Louis Gates, eds. Identities (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1995) 3. 13


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He challenges the fictional nuns’ perception that the world ‘signifies nothing else but comforts, pleasures, pomps, and other voluptuous and delightful things.’ On the contrary, he assures them, ‘the world contains nothing but toil, sorrows, suffering, deception, falsehood, and other like miseries’ (1:249). Addressing the crises that plague courts, marriages, and trades everywhere, Carré dismisses every secular calling and state. In marriage, ‘there are few of these that are exempt from thorns, crosses, worries, discords, tribulations, jealousy, hatred, and suchlike calamities.’ Lawyers and judges are even more severely tried than married people because they are ‘the most unhappy people on earth, mainly for the reason that they are generally hated by everyone.’ Compared to such tribulations, the nuns’ grievances seem trivial: ‘if there is a happy life in this world, full of sweetness and pleasures, it is that of you nuns.’ Contemplating the nuns’ cloistered ‘freedom’ in the abbeys, Carré summons righteous indignation: ‘What do you wish for more, ladies? You complain you have no liberty. What liberty do you want more than you have now?’ (1:250–53). Thus, firmly establishing the elevated position of European nuns granted by an enlightened French society, Carré puts things into perspective by offering to take his imagined audience of French nuns into an Indian seraglio in Bijapur. Recall François Bernier’s remark about the dearth of Western eyewitness accounts of harems with which we began this section. However, unlike Bernier, Carré is undaunted about the inaccessibility of harems: But come, follow me, and I will show you the real cloistered women, without any liberty whatever, who do not know what the world is like and can justly complain of their miserable condition. They are women of quality, who only associate with royalty, but nevertheless they are unhappy. Come to Bijapur, where you will see 1,400 women shut up within four walls and cloistered as you are, but with this difference. They have no grilles, nor parlours, nor confidants to bring them news and letters, nor relations or friends to visit them. (1:253–4)

As defender of French cultural practices, Carré points to the inadequacy of the Islamic custom of cloistering women by whimsically ushering the French nuns to the royal harem in Bijapur. He elides the differences between the convent and the harem so that grilles, parlors, and confidants appear to be the only points of distinctions between the lives of the 1,400 miserable women in the Indian harem and the lives of the French nuns whose catalog of woes, as we have seen earlier, was longer than that of the Prophet Jeremiah. As he imaginatively escorts the nuns into the harem, Carré achieves another theatrical makeover by assuming the role of a eunuch. Since he is not the king of Bijapur, Carré’s entry into the royal harem positions him as a eunuch, the only other man who had access to the inner chambers of the harem. However, Carré’s profession as a man of God already indicates his ungendered status. Like the eunuch, Carré is incapable of fulfilling his sexual desire, either for the harem women pledged to the Indian sovereign, or for his ‘sisters,’ the brides of the Church, who are plighted to a king higher than any earthly monarch. In effect,

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then, Carré mimics his own function as emissary, a figure suspended between two cultures, just as within the harem he is suspended between genders and cultures. Seizing on his earlier reference to the spiritual or ‘other beauties’ of French nuns, Carré establishes the sacred status of convents against the impious nature of harems. Women in French nunneries ascend to otherworldly beauty by worshipping the Christian God while Indian harem women descend to sexual license by worshipping their mortal husband. Illustrating the difference to the Governor, he explains that French nuns were educated, intelligent, came from the best families, often brought with them rich dowries; they were hardly ‘enslaved’ like the harem women. But the most significant difference for Carré is the purpose of the women’s seclusion, a rationale that elevates French cultural practices: Yours are shut up for only one object, and that a low and infamous one, which I dare not name; whereas ours are actuated by noble and exalted motives. Yours are made to serve the sensual passions and pleasures of one man. Instead of this, our women go there to preserve their chastity, to serve a Man-God, Whom they possess together, and from Whom they receive so many caresses, favours, and benevolences, that they soon lose all desire for caresses and delights from even the most powerful of earthly kings. (1:261)

Carré’s bizarre analogy between a mortal man and the ‘Man-God’ registers the differences between a morally lax, Islamic culture and a virtuous, Christian France by drawing attention to the unequal power of the Indian monarch and the omnipotent Christian God. The explicit sexual vocabulary of caresses, favors, delights, and possession highlights the unexpected correlation between the Indian monarch and the Christian God. The ‘Man-God’ whom the French nuns ‘possess together’ sets up a divine polygamy far superior to the orgiastic plurality of the royal seraglio of Bijapur. As Carré pursues the metaphor relentlessly, the seraglio becomes an erotic battlefield of contending forces and the outcome is decided on which harem-Lord satisfies the desires of the women most effectively: Your women have to suffer sorrows and perpetual jealousies, when they see their companions receiving caresses which they cannot expect from the impotence of their master. Whereas ours are filled with joy and love for their dear companions, when these are receiving caresses and pleasures from their well-beloved, because they realize that He is powerful enough, being a God-Man, to bestow His grace and favour on them when they require it. (1:261–2)

This sexualized contest between the Indian harem lord and the all-powerful Western God renders the earthly Indian monarch impotent, while simultaneously elevating the benevolent eroticism of the Christian ‘God-Man’ to whom the nuns owe their allegiance. Indian harem women writhe in sexual frustration because their husband cannot perform, while the virile Christian God satisfies the desires of French nuns ‘when they require it.’ Having appropriated the harem space by toppling the impotent Indian monarch and replacing him with his own virile ‘God-Man,’ Carré constructs his own

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fictional seraglio, a hybrid space that embraces East and West. It allows him to supplant the harem lord and, in effect, replace him with a more suitable French one—himself, emissary of God and champion of French cultural ascendancy. This final, most remarkable role of harem lord becomes his most evocative guise, one that enables him to fulfill his role as cultural emissary. Carré fully develops the artifice of a personal harem in a chapter entitled ‘Voyage from Surat to Bandar Abbas.’ The crowded vessel plying between India and Persia forces Carré to improvise his berth: ‘I had slung a long hencoop and an empty Persian wine-case outside the ship, in which I slept and enjoyed the cool of the night air’ (3:796). He informs his audience that this was the best spot on the entire ship because of the conversation of ‘five or six lovely Persian ladies’ who were ‘hidden from everyone in the boat and were delighted to find an opportunity of opening their hearts and speaking freely to a stranger’ (3:796). As a ‘stranger’ who is more intimate than any other man aboard, Carré occupies an extraordinary position in this narrative. The milieu for his fantasized spectacle is a state of suspension between India and Persia, both spaces equally alien to his audience. Between the two shores of India and Persia, afloat on a boat, Carré becomes the consummate emissary, a liminal figure suspended between genders and cultures, a ‘Man-God,’ who presides over an imperial harem fantasy within those improbable margins. Significantly, Carré assumes his lofty perch in the ‘hencoop.’ The recurrent metaphor in his narrative unrelentingly associates harem women with animals. The harem encloses the ‘flock’ and the ‘human fold’ of sheep. The eunuchs are ‘sheepdogs’ protecting the flock from ‘human wolves’ (1:248). Aboard the ship on his passage out from India, Carré recasts the animal imagery into specific metaphors appropriate to his personal seraglio. T he Persian ladies aptly metamorphose into ‘lovely caged birds,’ suitable denizens of his ‘hencoop.’ The metaphor reflects the linguistic confusion that supplanted the Turco-Persian word for palace, saray, with the Italian serrare, to lock up or enclose women.16 These birds, Carré tells us, could see ‘only the salt waves, without being visible to others’ (3:797). In other words, veiled and invisible to other passengers in the crowded boat, the women appear only to Carré; he repeatedly emphasizes that only he is able to see the women. His penetrating gaze pierces the women’s veils and conquers the harem’s resistance, while simultaneously deflecting the eyes of all other men. The women express their need for him: ‘One said that, if she knew my tongue, she would ask me for some water ... Another remarked that I looked better in Persian clothes than the Persians themselves’ (3:797). Playing native better than the natives, like his ‘Man-God,’ Carré outdoes them at their own customs. Eventually he informs the women that he speaks Persian and ‘they all showed such great anxiety to talk to me that they seldom missed an opportunity to do so, when they were alone and at liberty in their stronghold’ (3:798). The term ‘stronghold’ suggests that Carré has pierced the defenses that impeded his sight. 16

Y eazell, 2.

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His fantasy gradually acquires all the trappings of a traditional harem. One of the women has a young son, who, as befitting his indeterminate status between child and man, enacts the role of the eunuch, and guards the entrance to ‘the place which served us as a parlour. They could not be seen there, except from where I was’ (3:798). Carré’s telling use of the word ‘parlour’ alerts the reader that the differences between the lives of nuns and harem wives he had indicated earlier—grilles, parlors, and confidants—are now effaced in his fantasized harem. Carré furnishes what the harem women lacked, a parlor; he is a better provider than anyone else the women could have: ‘To fantasize oneself the master of a ‘seraglio’ was imaginatively to command at once harem and palace—even, perhaps, something very like the Grand Seraglio of the Ottomans.’17 Invisible to the rest of the world, totally dependent on the good abbé for all their material needs, the women become ‘satisfied’ lodgers in his seraglio: ‘they called me their brother and benefactor, because I took special care to get them whatever they needed in the ship’ (3:798). Carré modifies his ungendered status as man of God to an uncertainly gendered ‘brother’ to women whom he can never possess. As both ‘brother’ and as ‘benefactor,’ he synthesizes the discontinuous experiences of nuns and Indian women: The women are both his ‘sisters’ in the Church, and his temporal lovers. Unlike other European travelogues that aimed to generate erotic frisson, he underscores the familial relationship: ‘I can assure you that all these conversations and meetings, which I had during our voyage with the four Persian ladies, were conducted in a most honourable way, just as if they were sisters or relations’ (3:801). The profane harem, in other words, becomes a sacred convent. This sacred siblinghood is not without fleshly elements. Rivaling the European accounts of sensuality in the harem, Carré’s companions vie for his attention, enacting the roles of erotic enchantresses that European harem narratives assigned to harem women: ‘There seemed to be a certain amount of rivalry among them as to who should be the best dressed and adorned before coming to our meetings’ (3:798). Carré replicates the intricate talionic system of social practices within the harem that rely on the exchange of gifts and services.18 O ther European travelers provided detailed accounts of the harem-lord’s precious gifts to his wives. Niccolao Manucci, another seventeenth-century visitor to India, listed the costly gifts made by the Indian emperor to his beloved: ‘Slippers of an Inestimable Value,’ ‘floating Scarves of gold Tissue,’ turbans studded with pearls, diamonds, and sapphires, and ‘a gold Girdle of about two Fingers broad, garnished with precious Stones’19 Although Carré cannot offer such material and expensive tributes, the marks of his favor are no less precious. He provides them with water through the thirsty voyage, offers dried fruit, and most crucially, confers on them the gift of language, 17

Y eazell, 3. See the discussion of gifts and exchanges in social kinship structures discussed in Marcel Mauss, especially 13–14. The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. Trans. W.D. Halls (New York: Norton, 1990). 19 Francois F. Catrou, The General History of the Mogol Empire (London: Jonah Bowyer, 1709) 227, 329, 330. 18


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wording their silence with his conversation; he ‘really gave them great pleasure by talking with them.’ In contrast to the bleak picture of domestic life he had presented to the French nuns, he tells the Persian ladies of ‘our delightful family life’ in France (3:801). In return, the women shower gifts on him: a porcelain phial mounted in solid gold, richly engraved and full of essence of jasmine, offered by one woman is followed by the jealous counteroffer of a ring ‘as a souvenir of our friendship.’ And later, two other women ‘each gave me a present by which to remember them in their absence’ (3:800). By entering into the social negotiations that make Indian cultural institutions work—native robes, rituals of hospitality and gift exchange— Carré rewrites the indigenous custom as a specifically European cultural metaphor, and inserts himself as the master of the harem. H e reiterates the superiority of the progressive French culture where women are free: ‘I told them of our fine and honourable manner of living in France, the secure freedom that our ladies had in France, and the esteem in which they were held’ (3:801). In the harem Carré finally validates the imperatives of French culture. ***** In the final analysis we must always consider the possibility that Carré never got close to a harem and the only Eastern women he encountered were the ‘lovely caged birds’ on the ship on his way out from India. However, his performance as eunuch and harem-lord recognizes a crucial, if unsettling, aspect of his cultural embassy. Carré’s floating harem may be read as a literary device that shows him grappling with the notion of spatial and linguistic margins, acutely aware of the hazy borders between himself and the alien culture he negotiates. A specific local cultural institution, the harem, becomes a launching pad for his global statement on French civility and culture. As master of the harem, Carré is also the supreme cultural emissary who demonstrates the enduring power of an enlightened and civilized France. I have suggested that Carré works within the conventions of travel writing to enrich the traditional notion of emissary. He does so by constructing several personae, literary characters in his narrative, constantly playing as someone else. As we have seen, he passes as French, Dutch, English, Portuguese, Persian, Ottoman, and Arab, speaks several languages, adopts multiple careers ranging from priest, physician, trader, and spy to matrimonial agent, eunuch, and harem lord, and moves through alien geographies with chameleonic fluidity. Yet at the center of all his ventures is a sense that he guards an inner self ‘made in France’ that is untouched by his immersion in foreign cultures. Unlike so many European travelers who go native, Carré averts his gaze, and submits neither to ‘transculturation’ nor ‘tropicalization’;20 he remains resistant to the cultural contamination that 20 M ary L ouise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (New York: Routledge, 1992) and Srinivas Aravamudan, Tropicopolitans: Colonialism and Agency, 1688–1804 (Durham: Duke UP, 1999).

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seeps through his travels. Returning to the ‘gypsy-like’ Salvador George with whom I began this essay, I suggest that Carré’s success as agent is predicated on precisely this cloak of obscurity as he falls in with everyone’s bents, humors, and inclinations. Perhaps then the consummate emissary is a host of fractured selves, a succession of characters on a global stage, a eunuch and harem lord in the most intimate of local spaces: ‘In this way I go where I wish without giving anything away.’ The emissary is the invisible man, everyone and no one, seen by all, remembered by none.

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Chapter 5

‘After My Humble Dutie Remembered’: Factors and / versus Merchants Barbara Sebek

Let every eye negotiate for itself, / And trust no agent.

Although it comes from a play that scarcely concerns international trade or ambassadorial missions, I begin with this exhortation against the use of agents because it is such a rich one in relation to the interests of this collection. The ‘office and affairs of love’ (II.i. 154) provide the immediate dramatic context, as Claudio, tricked momentarily by the bastard Don John, thinks that his friend Don Pedro has betrayed him by courting Hero for himself rather than wooing on Claudio’s behalf. I purposefully decontextualize Claudio’s statement above because it registers a pervasive distrust of go-betweens, a discomfort that resonates powerfully in the discourses of a particular kind of emissary in the early modern period—the merchant’s factor. Essential to the establishment and expansion of overseas trade in the period after 1550, factors traveled to distant locales in the service of an English trading company, merchant, or group of merchants, often residing abroad for extended periods. Despite their vast temporal and geographical dispersal—and despite some slippage in the usage of the terms factor, servant, and merchant—factors were legible to play-going and play-reading audiences in our period as a distinct occupational group, even or especially when those audiences did not participate directly in the sorts of ventures that relied on them. Given the extensive distances involved in the import and export trades, every ‘eye / I’ did not negotiate for itself: working at home in their counting houses, merchant-financiers relied heavily on factors to conduct their affairs abroad, and to communicate honestly and efficiently with their masters back in England. Imperative to the successful expansion of overseas trade, factors’ knowledge of foreign tongues, technical commercial instruments, and local trading conditions made them highly prized—if chronically distrusted—servants and employees. Factors were potentially corrupt or unreliable, or were pointedly portrayed as such in a range of texts: letters exchanged between them and their masters, records of cases in the courts of chancery and high admiralty, and plays and prose fictions. Factors were relatively highly ranked among various service categories,  William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, The Norton Shakespeare (New York: Norton, 1997) II.i.1 56–7. All subsequent references to Shakespeare are from this edition. Quotations will be cited by act, scene, and line numbers within the text.

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and were sometimes better descended than the merchants whose affairs they transacted. Troubling normative notions of hierarchy and obedience, factors were ideologically vexed figures who bring into relief the conflicts of authority, agency, and interest at issue in larger discourses and practices of global travel and trade. They were seen to effect the perceived dissolution of the ethic of paternalism and deference undergirding ‘traditional’ social relations, while also enacting tantalizing possibilities for the private accumulation of wealth and resistance to the demands of social superiors. Unpacking the distinctive cluster of cultural anxieties that accrue around these figures has much to tell us about the salience of conflicts among the English in the imaginative efforts of writers at home and abroad to envisage the dangers and pleasures of overseas traffic. Factors feature prominently in a number of Renaissance texts, but the anxieties associated with them emerge powerfully even when they appear figuratively or only in passing. I now turn to a few examples of such passing references before detailing the conflicts of interest and agency that constitute the relation between actual merchants and factors, and then discussing Heywood’s more sustained dramatic treatment of this relation in If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody, Part II. Reporting on his unsuccessful voyage to Guiana in 1595, Walter Raleigh counts himself among the queen’s ‘wastful factors’ who, having ‘consumed such stockes as they had in trust,’ must ‘yeeld some cullor for the same in their account’ (sig. N2v). In his famous specimen of anti-theatrical invective, Histriomastix (1632), William Prynne calls playwrights and common actors ‘the Divels chiefest Factors.’ Extending this linkage between factors and spiritual decay or damnation, Milton invokes the figure of the factor in Areopagitica (1644) to mock those who employ proxies to manage their spiritual affairs: A wealthy man addicted to his pleasure and to his profits finds religion to be a traffic so entangled, and of so many piddling accounts, that of all mysteries he cannot skill to keep a stock going upon that trade. What should he do? Fain he would have the name to be religious, fain he would bear up with his neighbours in that. What does he therefore, but resolves to give over toiling, and to find himself out some factor to whose care and credit he may commit the whole managing of his religious affairs ... To him he adheres, resigns the whole warehouse of his religion, with all the locks and keys, into his custody. 

Thomas Berger, William Bradford, and Sidney Sondergard list 18 plays with Factors or A gents in An Index of Characters in Early Modern English Drama (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998). Factors are central protagonists in Henry Roberts’s prose romance, Haigh for Devonshire, A pleasant Discourse of sixe gallant Marchants of Devonshire. Their lives, Adventures and Travailes (London, 1600).  Quoted in Peter Womack, ‘The Writing of Travel’ in Michael Hattaway, ed., A Companion to English Renaissance Literature and Culture (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2000) 154. Walter R aleigh, The Discoverie of the Large, Rich and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana (London 1596). New York: Da Capo Press, 1968. The English Experience Its Record in Early Printed Books Published in Facsimile Number 3. Downloaded from EEBO September 17, 2007.

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Much of Milton’s disdain for the ‘wealthy man’ hinges on how he construes spiritual affairs in specifically commercial terms. At the same time, Milton bemoans how economic and religious pursuits have been compartmentalized: relegating spiritual devotion to a deputy, the hypocritical merchant is left ‘in the shop trading all day without his religion.’  When Shakespeare invokes factors, they are either dead, demeaned, or imbued with an intense sense of grief—sometimes all three. Egeon in The Comedy of Errors is forced away from his family to tend to his own maritime affairs when ‘my factor’s death / And the great care of goods at random left / Drew me from kind embracements of my spouse’ (I.i. 41–3). In Richard III, Buckingham urges the Duke of Gloucester to seize the crown as legitimate successor, ‘not as protector, steward, substitute, / Or lowly factor for another’s gain’ (III.vii. 133–4). In I Henry IV, Hal vows to redeem himself in his father’s eyes by figuring Hotspur as a factor who will be forced to a violent reckoning by the figurative master for whom he has been dealing: Percy is but my factor, good my lord, To engross up glorious deeds on my behalf; And I will call him to so strict account That he shall render every glory up,… Or I will tear the reckoning from his heart. (III.ii. 147–52)

These two instances from the history plays construct royal legitimacy as calculated performance and competition by offering a contemptuous view of the factor’s duty to subordinate his own gains and glory to those of the superior on whose account he acts. Like Milton’s depiction of the religious factor, Prince Hal’s degraded view of the factor’s position comes in a conceit that demonstrates intricate familiarity with the specific activities and sorts of conflict that the merchant-factor relation often entailed. Indeed, a range of memoirs, diaries, correspondences, and company records are littered with acrimonious interchanges between factors and their overlords over the rendering of accounts. Such an interchange is fictionalized in The London Merchant, the inset city comedy interrupted by the playgoers in Beaumont’s Knight of the Burning Pestle. Areopagitica in John Milton: A Critical Edition of the Major Works (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1991) 261.  Curtis Perry discusses Egeon’s remarks at some length, but does not note that the factor’s death is the catalyst for Egeon’s losses. ‘Commerce, Community, and Nostalgia in The Comedy of Errors’ in Money and the Age of Shakespeare. Ed. Linda Woodbridge, (New York: Palgrave, 2003) 41–2.  The Travels of John Sanderson in the Levant, 1584–1602, ed. S ir William Foster, (London: Hakluyt Society, 1931); The Diary of Richard Cocks, Cape-Merchant in the English Factory in Japan 1615–1622. Ed. Edward Maunde Thompson, 2 volumes (London: Hakluyt Society, 1883). In her reading of Barabas’s dealings with his factors in The Jew of Malta, Lisa Jardine attends to the anxieties associated with deferred profit, trusting agents, and relying on ‘knowledge transactions.’ ‘Alien Intelligence: Mercantile Exchange and Knowledge Transactions in Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta,’ in her Reading Shakespeare Historically (New York: Routledge, 1996) 98–113. 


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Outraged at his apprentice Jasper for wooing his daughter, the merchant Venturewell demotes Jasper from his status as a trusted prentice to ‘but a merchant’s factor.’ Venturewell’s rebuke reveals the vulnerability of any merchant to those who receive the ‘commission’ to oversee his affairs overseas: Sirrah, I’ll make you know you are my prentice, And whom my charitable love redeemed Even from the fall of fortune; gave thee heat And growth, to be what now thou art; new-cast thee; A dding the trust of all I have at home, In foreign staples, or upon the sea, To thy direction; tied the good opinions Both of myself and friends to thy endeavors; So fair were thy beginnings. But with these, As I remember, you had never charge To love your master’s daughter, ... I take it sir, you had not; but, however, I’ll break the neck of that commission, And make you know you are but a merchant’s factor.

Echoing Hal’s sneer at Hotspur (‘Percy is but my factor’), Venturewell attempts to remind Jasper of his subordinate position with the derogatory formulation ‘but a merchant’s factor.’ Endowed with the ability to uphold or tarnish his master’s credit-worthy reputation (‘good opinions’), and entrusted with his merchandise ‘at home, in foreign staples, or upon the sea,’ Jasper violates the bond of trust and loyalty with his superior by encroaching on the merchant’s property in his daughter. Recalling Raleigh’s description of wasteful factors as having ‘consumed such stock as they had in trust,’ Jasper defends himself from Venturewell’s attack by protesting that he has not ‘lost in bargain’ nor ‘lavishly in play consumed your stock.’ Like the references to factors in Raleigh’s Discoverie ... of Guiana, Prynne’s Histriomastix, Milton’s Areopagitica, and Shakespeare’s plays, the scenario here partakes of a recurrently anxious view of factors or of merchantfactor relationships, which come to serve as the repository of a range of violations  Francis Beaumont, The Knight of the Burning Pestle. Ed. Michael Hattaway, (New York: Norton, 1969, rpt. 1996) I.i. 15.  Beaumont, I.i.15, 19, 22. Although beyond my purposes in this essay, an exchange between the shopkeepers Mr. and Mrs. Gallipot in The Roaring Girl (III.ii. 76–159) offers another example of a factor-related disaster being invoked when the issue of property in a woman, in this case a wife, is at stake. In another city comedy in which factors figure prominently, William Rowley offers a striking contrast to Venturewell’s sense of factorship as a demoted position. In Rowley’s play, the reformed prodigal Stephen Foster adopts his nephew Robert after Robert’s father has disinherited him. Stephen expresses his role as his nephew’s loving adoptive father by making Robert his factor: ‘Come then my dearest son, I’l now give thee / A taste of my love to thee; be thou my deputy, / The Factour and disposer of my businesse; / Keepe my accounts, and order my affaires’ (III.iii. 101–5). William Rowley, A Critical, Old-Spelling Edition of A New Wonder, A Woman Never Vext, ed. T rudi Laura Darby, (New York: Garland, 1988).

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of trust, legitimacy, and responsibility as well as a variety of disrupted social, political, and familial bonds. In part, the troubled associations with factors can be attributed to practical, material concerns, since a large outlay of capital was necessary to hire and keep them, and the success of a venture depended crucially on their performance. The documents of the founders of the East India Company, for example, record obsessive concern with formulating and refining an elaborate hierarchy of factors’ duties and payment, as well as continual wrangling over the nomination and election of individuals to fill the posts within this hierarchy. According to K.N. Chaudhuri, ‘the debates of the Company’s General Court and the correspondence of the directors with their factors in the Indies are characterized by acrimonious exchanges of accusations in which the former charged the factors of being wasteful and negligent while they in turn complained of inadequate funds and lack of shipping.’10 Robert Brenner points to the ‘large working capital’ required of investors in the Levant trade, especially to support factors and to withstand the ‘relatively long turnover period when his money was tied up in commodities.’11 During this ‘turnover period,’ merchants relied completely on their factors’ honesty, acumen, and willingness to communicate regularly. Merchants were thus highly vulnerable to factors. Because of the physical distance that separated them from their overseers, factors enjoyed a freedom unmatched by most servants in domestic situations, while also intensifying the dependence of the merchant on the upright dealing of his employees.12 Unlike their superiors, factors were intimate with local trading conditions, knew local traders personally, and had firsthand experience with the vagaries of local price fluctuations. Taking advantage of this cognitive mastery over their masters, factors could sap rather than enrich the farremoved merchants whom they supposedly served. According to Gerard Malynes in his manual for shippers, traders, and lawyers, factors are as likely to despoil as to enrich their merchants: ‘because Merchants are not able to prescribe everiething  H enry S tevens, The Dawn of British Trade to the East Indies as Recorded in the Court Minutes of the East India Company, 1599–1603 (London: Frank Cass and Company, 1886, rpt. 1967). 10 K.N . Chaudhuri, The English East India Company: The Study of an Early Joint-Stock Company 1600–1640 (New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1965) 18. 11 R obert Brenner, Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict and London’s Overseas Traders, 1550–1653 (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1993) 71. Also see Richard Grassby, The Business Community of Seventeenth-Century England, (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995), especially 82–107. 12 Cf Grassby: ‘The distances which separated principal from agent often generated a sense of helplessness, complaints and differences of opinion,’ 178. We can compare the merchant-factor situation to that of estate owners and their stewards as Mark Burnett discusses them. Burnett explains the symbolic and material functions of estate stewards who were responsible for their masters’ accounts and who could abuse these responsibilities. Masters and Servants in English Renaissance Drama and Culture (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997) 155–65. Many of the anxieties that attend Burnett’s estate stewards likewise attend factors, but with even greater intensity.


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so exactly unto their Factors as is convenient, it behooveth them to make good choice of the persons which they doe imploy, for their welfare dependeth upon Trafficke; otherwise, the Factor groweth rich and the Merchant poore.’13 M alynes goes on to offer a lengthy list of ‘cases of differences which may happen betweene Factors and Merchants,’14 many of which address liability for various kinds of loss. One need only glance at T.S. Willan’s studies of court cases to understand how fears over factors’ malfeasance were often quite well grounded.15 D espite constant badgering in correspondence and courts of law, employers were often hard pressed to exercise any real control over factors’ conduct, whether personal or professional. In short, as Willan states about factors involved in the Barbary trade: ‘It was difficult to control factors when they were alive, and it was sometimes equally difficult to deal with their affairs when they died.’16 Unsurprisingly, then, the earliest manual for factors is shot through with the prescriptive impulse, even as it offers a wealth of practical guidance for conducting their affairs. Addressed to ‘a servant when he first travelleth on the sea,’ John Browne’s The Marchants Avizo—first published in 1589 and reprinted five times thereafter17—strives to counter Malynes’s later admission that it is impossible for merchants to ‘prescribe everything so exactly unto their Factors as is convenient.’ Browne begins his advice by insisting that the factor thank God for his safe arrival in port. Registering the merchant’s dependence on his factor, Browne orders the factor to inquire immediately about any ships bound for England so that he can transport letters to his overseer: ‘have especial care that by the neerest [ship] that cometh to this port, you write letters unto me.’18 Browne presents templates for letters on a variety of topics, which the factor is enjoined to follow precisely. Another section consists of sample bills of sale, bills of exchange, bills of lading, accounting forms, and tables of weights, measures, and currency conversions. While undoubtedly serving practical purposes, Browne’s templates for letters and other business forms work toward codifying the form taken by the factor’s missives and controlling potential discursive excess. Browne says that his aim is to ‘work a generall ease to all Marchants: whereby they may the lesse trouble 13 Gerard M alynes, Consuetudo, Vel Lex Mercatoria, or the Ancient Law-Merchant (London, 1622) 111. 14 Malynes, 112–19. 15 T .S . Willan, Studies in Elizabethan Foreign Trade (New York: Augustus M. Kelley Publishers, 1968) 1–33. 16 Willan, 302. 17 Demand for the sort of guidance that Browne offered is evidenced in the appearance of subsequent editions in 1590, 1591, 1607, 1616, and 1640. All references to the Avizo here are from Patrick McGrath’s edition of the 1589 text (Cambridge, MA: Harvard U Printing Office, 1957). In addition to McGrath’s introduction, I have benefited from discussions of the Avizo in David Harris Sacks, The Widening Gate: Bristol and the Atlantic Economy, 1450–1700 (Berkeley: U of California P, 1991) and Laura Stevenson, Praise and Paradox: Merchants and Craftsmen in Elizabethan Popular Literature (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1984) 43–4, 141–4. 18 Browne, 9.

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themselves, either with writing, invention, or thought of these matters’ and also to ‘instruct yong novices, to use greater brevitie in their writing then commonly they are wont.’19 The factor in Ben Jonson’s masque News from the New World Discovered in the Moon (1621) delights in the sort of textual excess that Browne is here attempting to curtail. Introducing himself as one who ‘take[s] pleasure i’ my pen,’ Jonson’s factor boasts: ‘I do write my thousand letters a week ordinary, sometime twelve hundred.’20 Although this prolific epistolary output is comically exaggerated, it helps contextualize Browne’s desire for ‘greater brevitie’ in factors’ correspondence. The Avizo tries to rein in such excess while simultaneously and somewhat paradoxically encouraging the factor to correspond regularly and reliably with his merchant.21 The more explicitly moralizing moments in the Avizo aim to fashion the factor’s conduct, advocating piety, humility, and deference to God and to the will and interests of the master / merchant. Browne repeatedly warns the factor to shun licentious behavior that might detract from his duties and from the reputation of the merchant for whom he deals: ‘Be not seduced by any person, to play at any kind of game, especiallie Dice or Cards, nor to use feasting or banketting, or keeping companie with women.’ Echoing the familiar triad of virtues in prescriptive literature directed to women (chastity, silence, obedience), Browne exhorts, ‘In all your actions, use diligence, conscience, silence and patience.’22 Two concluding chapters, a sententious list of ‘certain godly sentences’ and a didactic tale about obeying paternal authority extend this vein of thought. Taken together, Browne’s practical and prescriptive injunctions strive to prevent the conflicts of interest between merchants and factors mined by dramatists and amply documented in the High Court of Admiralty cases, the early records of the East India and Levant companies, and the diaries and correspondences of particular factors themselves. According to Browne: Whensoever you have dealings for any Merchants, you doe in every point observe according to their commission and direction ... you shall give evermore best contentment to your Merchant, and save yourselfe harmless when you 19

Browne, 3. H erbert A rthur Evans, English Masques (London, 1897, rpt. 1971) 131. The sort of textual excess Jonson is satirizing here resonates with James I’s 1620 proclamation against commentary on state matters. The ‘Proclamation against Excess of Lavish and Licentious Speech of Matters of State,’ commands that subjects ‘take heede, how they intermeddle by Penne, or Speech, with causes of State, and secrets of Empire, either at home, or abroad.’ S ee D avid R iggs, Ben Jonson: A Life (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1989) 265–6. 21 My argument here draws on Mary Poovey’s discussion of how the conventions of double-entry bookkeeping serve to manage or contain excess. A History of the Modern Fact: Problems of Knowledge in the Sciences of Wealth and Society (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1998). See especially 35–42. I am also indebted to Lynne Magnusson’s discussion of how the Avizo adapts the humanist ‘pleasures style’ of letter-writing for mercantile ends. Shakespeare and Social Dialogue: Dramatic Language and Elizabethan Letters (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999) 122–32. 22 Browne, 10, 12. 20

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follow his own order and remembrance ... See that at no time you do take any mans doings or dealings into your hands, without my leave and counsel: because by trouble of other mens busines, you may neglect and frustrate mine own.23

Browne here advocates a kind of monogamous devotion, constructing a dyadic allegiance between merchant and factor that ideally thwarts the formation of competing alliances. (Note the pronoun slippage from third to first person in the excerpt.) The goal here is to prevent what many factors could do and did: misrepresent trading conditions, falsify accounts, juggle the interests of competing merchants to their own advantage, or trade on their own account.24 O ne strategy masters in fact used to encourage their factor’s obedience and careful reckoning, and to prevent them from trading on their own account, was to dangle the carrot of potential future profit-making before them. Browne promises to reward the faithful factor with ‘those small adventures which I shall license you to make for your own private benefit,’ provided that the factor renders a clear reckoning: ‘that every voyage you do deliver me an accompt of it, whereby from time to time I may see and know your estate.’25 Another strategy was for merchants simply to tolerate the privateering of their servants. As one East India Company director acknowledged, ‘if some tolleration for private trade be not permitted none but desperate men will sail our ships.’ Chaudhuri points out that nearly all of the East India Company factors were accused of trading on their own account at some point, and there was nothing to be done short of calling them back to England. 26 My discussion so far reveals a significant gap between the conflict ridden, messy particulars of the discourses and practices of factorship and the ideal servant fashioned in The Marchants Avizo. Before turning to Heywood’s dramatic depiction of a merchant’s fantasy of discovering and intervening in the sort of carousing and malfeasance that Browne’s manual tries to forestall, I now briefly consider one factor who left ample documentary traces which suggest, at first blush at least, that the Avizo ideal was achievable. The career of John Kendricke (1574–1624), resident factor in Middleburg during 1597–1601 for London cloth merchant John Quarles, indicates that the ‘carrot’ of promised future profit was 23

Browne, 11, emphasis added. Grassby points out that factors could only survive at all if they did indeed trade on their own account, 82. In Consuetudo, Malynes indicates that in fact they ‘doe deale most commonly for divers men,’ 112. 25 Browne, 11. The chapter on factors in a later seventeenth-century French commercial manual by Jacques Savary emphasizes the factor’s ultimate goal of trading on his own account. Like Browne, Savary advocates diligence and duty, but he stresses the deferred payoff when the master frees the factor to trade on his own account lawfully. The other reward Savary’s factor can look forward to is marrying his merchant’s daughter! Jacques S avary, Le Parfait Negociant, ou Instruction generale pour ce qui regarde le commerce de toute sorte de Marchandises, tant de France que des Pays Estrangers (Paris, 1675) 116–20. 26 Quoted in Chaudhuri, 87. 24

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more than a device to keep factors in line. The Last Will and Testament of Mr John Kendricke (1625) reveals that Kendricke had amassed a great fortune by the time of his death, so that he died with his former master Quarles as his debtor. In his will, published the year after his death as an exemplary instance of civic charity and ‘to provide inspiration to future merchant donors,’27 Kendricke forgives his former master Quarles’s outstanding debts, bequeaths him 500 pounds, and provides him with diet, lodging, and washing in the household of his current business partner.28 The generous legacy suggests an ongoing bond of loyalty between Kendricke and Quarles. At the same time, considering the conflicts and anxieties that typically attend representations of merchant-factor relationships, it is tempting to read some aggression or rivalry in Kendricke’s final gesture of largesse toward his erstwhile employer, or at least to regard his bequest as more complicated than merely a ‘touching remembrance of his former master.’29 Setting Kendricke’s unpublished letters to Quarles (1596–1601) next to his Last Will and Testament drives home what the entry on him in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography glosses over—that is, the significance of Kendricke’s residence abroad as a factor.30 Kendricke’s diligence and acumen as a factor are in evidence throughout his letters, and he is sorely aggrieved when his master accuses him otherwise. One example will have to suffice. In a letter of February, 23, 1600, Kendricke expresses disbelief that Quarles thinks so badly of him without cause. His conscience tells him he has not offended and he is sure Quarles will agree when he has studied all of Kendricke’s papers. He protests that he did not cut a previous letter in half deliberately but by accident, and insists that if he had had time, he would have rewritten it. Kendricke also fears that Quarles thinks Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 31 (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004) 219. Kendricke bequeathed funds for hospitals, workhouses, schools, apprenticeships for poor youth, among other legacies. 28 Kendricke offers similar legacies to his former fellow factor and subsequent partner and lodger George Lowe. The published will is reprinted in Lena Cowen Orlin, Elizabethan Households: An Anthology (Folger, 1995) 155–7. 29 Orlin, 155. 30 T hough the Oxford DNB entry mentions Kendricke’s apprenticeship under Quarles after moving to London in 1595, 218, it fails to note his work as a factor in Middleburg and makes it sound like he stayed in London. Kendricke was in Middleburg from as early as July, 1597, until at least August 1601. The Quarles Papers, Kendricke’s letters, and those of his fellow factor George Lowe, are held by the National Archives of the UK. These letters illustrate and nuance the story of merchant-factor relations that I have been telling here: the difficult act of juggling potential damage to a merchant’s reputation against financial gains on a particular deal; how the solvency, behavior, and reputation of one’s associates crucially affected one’s own reputation and profit potential; the centrality of rumors and the frequency of fortunes lost because of bad word spreading; the intricate ways that natural disasters, war, and other local circumstances affect price fluctuations; the elaborate networks of debt among traders; continual accusations of and defenses against malfeasance and misbehavior on the part of factors. 27

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that he has been making money on his own account, and protests his innocence, affirming that he has not, except in small matters, profited by one penny since first arriving in M iddleburg.31 Perhaps attesting to the influence of Browne’s manual, both Kendricke’s and his fellow factor George Lowe’s missives use the salutation presented in the model letters in The Marchants Avizo: ‘After my humble dutie remembered.’32 Kendricke’s experiences as a factor undoubtedly contributed to his ability to prosper as a cloth exporter after he returned to England in 1601 and was called to the Livery in 1614. As a factor, he did indeed remember his humble duty: he was deferential, diligent, and obedient, or at least passionately claimed to be. Upon his return to his native Reading, he ran a flourishing cloth exporting business, remaining at home while employing his own resident factors in Antwerp, Delft, and his old stomping grounds in Middleburg. Kendricke’s trajectory could thus be read as living out the ideal of the Avizo. O r, perhaps, it realizes the worst nightmares of merchants about their ambitious factors. Recall Malynes: if merchants don’t choose their factors well, the factor ‘groweth rich and the Merchant poore.’ While Kendricke’s ultimate success was not contingent on Quarles’s impoverishment, the once deferential factor has become the prestigious, wealthy merchant and benefactor. Kendricke is memorialized for the generous legacies he left to his native locality; those legacies were built on the foundation of his experience as Quarles’s factor overseas. The main factor in Heywood’s 2 If You Know Not Me You Know Nobody is anything but diligent or ambitious for commercial success. Like the story of Kendricke and Quarles, Heywood’s play enacts the complicated dynamics between master and factor, home and away. Emissaries of all sorts proliferate in the play. These various go-betweens serve not only to conduct international affairs but also those within the city of London. In negotiating a site for the Exchange, for example, Sir Thomas Gresham dispatches a sword-bearer to ‘be my agent to and fro’ with the Court of Aldermen.33 The play overall is highly episodic, categorized by Jean Howard as a ‘chronicle comedy,’ a celebratory city play that contrasts the satiric comedies of Jonson and Middleton. While Howard calls the founding of the burse and the defeat of the Spanish Armada the ‘two central events’ of the play,34 I would argue that the pranks and whoring of the wayward factor John Gresham are equally prominent, competing in fact for dramatic attention and stage time 31

State Papers Domestic: Supplementary 46/176, f. 293. Here, ‘after’ means ‘according to,’ but considering the larger arc of Kendricke’s career, we might think of it as the temporal preposition, as in “after I remember my humble duty to you, I am going to surpass you in wealth and prominence.” 33 Thomas Heywood, 2 If You Know Not Me You Know Nobody, Heywood’s Dramatic Works, Vol. I (London: John Pearson, 1874) 288. This edition unfortunately lacks line numbers. Unless otherwise noted, subsequent references to the play are from this edition. It conflates the quartos of 1606, 1609, 1623, and 1632. 34 Jean Howard, ‘Competing Ideologies of Commerce in Thomas Heywood’s If You Know Not Me You Know Nobody, Part II,’ in Ed. Henry Turner. The Culture of Capital: Property, Cities and Knowledge in Early Modern England (New York: Routledge, 2002) 167. 32

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with the founding of the burse by his uncle Sir Thomas Gresham, the celebrated merchant-financier and factor to Queen Elizabeth herself. Despite its episodic structure, there is a logic at work in the ordering of episodes by which the unruly overseas factor must be redomesticated before the business of burse-consecrating can proceed. In the opening scene of the play, Thomas Gresham negotiates with the King of Barbary’s factor, and draws on the trustworthy advice and intelligence of his own English factors. The interchange culminates in what Kathleen McLuskie calls an ‘emblematic gesture’ that sums up the ‘romance of merchant venture,’ as Thomas Gresham dispatches his English factors to various sites in Africa and Europe.35 Thomas then turns to appointing his nephew John Gresham as factor to the citizen / merchant Hobson whose former factor in France has died. Heywood foregrounds the factor’s elevated status vis-à-vis other employment positions when Thomas rejects his nephew’s (disingenuous) offer to be rebound as apprentice and undertake manual labor; Sir Thomas insists that his nephew’s ‘education challenges more respect.’36 L ater in the play, upon returning to England and wooing a rich widow, John himself reports that ‘I am a Gentle man both by the fathers side and mothers side.’37 Invoking the status anxiety that factors so often occasion in the period, old Hobson calls attention to the way that this factorto-be blurs the line between himself and his superior: ‘Bones a me man, he’s not for Hobson’s turne, / He looks more like my master then my servant.’38 Rebuking John for his sumptuary excesses—‘and you will dwell with me / You must be plaine, and leave off bravery’—Hobson echoes one of Browne’s directives in the Avizo: do not ‘goe fine and costlie in apparell: for all these things are especially noted, and doe bring any young beginner to utter discredit and undoing.’39 Like many actual merchant-masters in the period, however, Hobson is forced to tolerate John’s excesses, sartorial or otherwise. Given the death of his former French factor, Hobson needs John’s specialized skills: Well M . Gresham, partly for your love, And chiefly to supply my present want, Because you say your kinsman is well seen Both in languages and factorship, I do intend to send him into France, In trust both with my Merchandizes and my Cash.40 Kathleen McLuskie, Dekker and Heywood: Professional Dramatists (New York: St. Martin’s, 1994) 61. 36 Heywood, 256. 37 Heywood, 329. 38 Heywood, 260. 39 Browne, 10. When Venturewell attacks Jasper, he defends himself by pointing out that ‘I have not lost in bargain, nor delighted / To wear your honest gains upon my back.’ (1. 19–20). 40 Heywood, 160. 35

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We are set up to wonder whether the young prodigal will prove worthy of the old merchant’s trust. Although he had promised his uncle to ‘redeem my negligence,’41 however, John immediately goes further astray, even before he leaves London. Swindling a hundred pounds from his uncle before he departs, he extracts a ‘travel advance’ of the sort that many actual factors often tried to demand. His scam ultimately helps Sir Thomas entrap another servant who had been embezzling funds, a theft that ends up canceling out the loss of John’s stolen money. The episode suggests the ways in which merchants are forced to resign themselves to ‘malefactoring,’ but Heywood offers the compensatory fantasy that rivalries among competing factors can work to the master’s favorable advantage. What remains to be seen is whether this compensation is viable when this factor goes abroad. It isn’t. Once overseas, John Gresham becomes an exemplar of transgressive factor excesses.42 Virtually point by point, Heywood’s prodigal factor zestfully violates the directives Browne issues in The Marchants Avizo. The longest scene in the play dramatizes John’s frolics in a brothel. Literalizing the commonplace figurative link between the pursuit of wealth and the pursuit of sexual satisfaction, John conflates the acts of ‘tak[ing] up’ the whore and outwitting his master: I am my masters factor, and thou hast a commodity that I must needs take up, and not enter’t into his cash-book neither. Little thinks my master in England what ware I deale withal here in France; but since ‘tis offered me at the best hand, Ile venture on it though I be a looser by the bargain.43

John’s gloating here identifies the geographical separation between master and factor as the distinctive source of the factor’s license and of the master’s vulnerability, an idea that crops up repeatedly in the play. When the French Curtizan expresses her desire for him, John delights in the pleasurable ‘returne’ that his distance from his master allows: 41

Heywood, 256. John Gresham is a mixed character, blending ‘realistic’ features (the conditions of his employment, for example) with ‘typical’ ones (the prodigal, the trickster / vice). In addition to McLuskie and Howard cited above, my discussion of Heywood’s handling of commercial material in general, and the factor John Gresham in particular, is indebted to: Edward Bonahue, ‘Social Control, the City, and the Market: Heywood’s 2 If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody,’ Renaissance Papers 1993, eds. Barbara J. Baines, George Walton Williams (Raleigh: Southeastern Renaissance Conference, 1994) 75–90; Theodora Jankowski, ‘Historicizing and Legitimating Capitalism: Thomas Heywood’s Edward IV and If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody,’ Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, 7. Ed. Leeds Barroll (London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1995) 305–37; Barbara Baines, Thomas Heywood (Boston: Twayne, 1984). 43 Heywood, 307. The emphasis appears in the 1632 quarto. The phrase ‘though I be a looser in the bargain’ only appears in the 1606 and 1623 quartos. I include it here because it highlights John’s indifference to financial gain. 42

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Who would not be a Marchant venturer, and lay out for such a faire returne? I shall venture the doubling of my yeares presently. I thinke I have met with a better commoditie then matches, and my Master cannot say but hee hath met with his match. This ‘tis to have the land and the sea betwixt me and my master: here can I keep my French revels, and none say so much as black is mine eye.44

Even in the earlier London scenes, John’s ability to move beyond earshot of his chiding master is contrasted to the unenviable situation of Hobson’s apprentices at home. Free from immediate supervision, John has license to ‘take up’ forbidden ‘commodities’ and to falsify accounts. The factor’s fantasy of outwitting his master persists even when Hobson, in an improbable appearance in the French brothel, catches his wayward servant in the arms of the prostitute: ‘Bones-a-me, knave, a prentice must not occupy for himself, but for his master, to any purpose.’45 Capitalizing explicitly on his master’s ignorance of French and his inexperience as a traveler—‘you never were a traveller, you know not what belongs to it’—John instigates some collective factor action against him. Posing as officers, a group of English factors unite to foil Hobson, accusing him in pseudo-French of himself consorting with the Curtizan. John turns the tables on Hobson, threatening to ‘send news to your wife of your dealing ... M y mistris in England shall know / What utterance you have for your small wares in France. / Pen and inke!—Ile set it down in blacke and white.’46 By threatening to transmit written intelligence to Hobson’s wife about his meddling with ‘small wares’ in the French brothel, John parodies the very duty with which factors are first charged—reporting back home immediately and faithfully. (Recall that this charge is the first order of the day in the Avizo: ‘have especiall care, that by the neerest that commeth to this Port, you write letters unto me’). John succeeds in reversing the power relation between Hobson and himself by threatening to perform the very function on which factor’s masters so strongly depended: the passing on of intelligence about local dealings in distant ports of call. Finally bested, Hobson gives in: ‘I do confess t’hast over-reacht thy master. Ca me, ca thee: conceale this from my wife, And Ile keep al thy knavery from thine uncle.’47 In a parody of gift exchange, the mutual willingness to suppress information about 44 Heywood, 308. John’s carousing here contrasts Jasper in Knight of the Burning Pestle, who says he has not ‘given a pension to my blood, / Nor lavishly in play consumed [Venturewell’s] stock,’ 1. 21–2. 45 Heywood, 311. Hobson’s claim here is akin to the Avizo’s prohibition against taking business ‘into your own hands without my leave and counsel.’ This humorous incident is marked by the same confusions of status and blurring of master-servant lines as the initial meeting between Hobson and John. When Hobson asks one of the prostitutes after ‘one Jack Gresham,’ she corrects him: no ‘Jack’ is in the house, she says, ‘but there’s one Master J ohn Gresham, an English gentleman here.’ Hobson exclaims on this status reversal: ‘Bones-a-me, goodman master, master servant! Old goodman Hobson keeps gentlemen to his men ... marry, sir reverence!’ 309–10, my emphasis. 46 Heywood, 314. Italics in original. 47 Heywood, 315.

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illicit erotic dealing becomes the mechanism by which a harmonious merchantfactor relation is restored. With this inversion of the power relation between master / merchant and servant / factor, the prodigal factor goes unscathed. But Heywood is a dramatist who deals in equal opportunity wish fulfillment. Hobson’s very presence in the brothel defies the usual state of affairs between merchants and factors. That he is even able to show up—and that he has been informed conclusively about his factor’s transgressive behavior—enacts a powerful fantasy for another segment of the play-going audience, as merchant Hobson successfully discovers and intervenes in the unruly conduct of a distant proxy, interrupting the sort of carousing and malfeasance that Browne’s manual tries to forestall. Temporarily at least, this ‘eye’ negotiates for itself. In an odd and deliberately improbable sort of dream sequence before Hobson goes to France, he encounters Timothy who has recently returned from dispatching secret business there. Stressing the physical separation between merchant and factor—the phrases ‘in France’ or ‘to France’ recur over fifteen times in the space of about thirty lines—Timothy informs Hobson of John’s sexual hi jinx. In a dramatically selfconscious, sophisticated gag, Hobson makes the passage over the English channel by ‘enter[ing] at the other end of the stage in his gowne and slippers.’48 The fact that Hobson still wears his dressing gown and slippers in the French brothel forces awareness of the fantastic, parodic nature of his encounter with his overseas agent. Despite the scene’s focus on Hobson’s ineptitude, he does indeed succeed in bringing the factor back home. Heywood offers a palpable sense that the consecrating of Sir Thomas Gresham’s burse—which abruptly follows the French brothel scene—is contingent on the redomestication of the unruly factor. As we have seen, most factors were accused of trading on their own account at some point, and there was nothing to be done short of calling them back to England, which is exactly what Hobson does. He concludes the brothel scene by ordering John back home: ‘John, you shall with me back to England: wele show France / Our backes. And you will needs deal for yourself afore your time / You shall do’t in England.’49 The other alternative that Heywood offers to merchants faced with uncontrollable factors is to do what his Thomas Gresham does when he experiences catastrophic losses in overseas ventures: he laughs at them.50 Heywood pitches this reorientation to loss by foregrounding a factor, parading before his audience explicit transgressions of a very specific set of directives for this particular class of employee. With elaborate, fine-grained topical reference, he both points to and winks at the anxieties that factors occasioned among the merchant class. Turning attention to the building of the Exchange in London and its consecration by Queen Elizabeth, the play dodges the very anxieties to which it had given expression in the Hobson-John Gresham plot. The Exchange scene stages the Queen’s 48

Heywood, 309. Heywood, 315. 50 See Howard’s compelling analysis of how the figure of Thomas Gresham embodies a mythic and extravagant version of high-risk venturing in contradistinction to Hobson’s more traditional forms of merchant wealth. 49

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reception of several foreign ambassadors with whom she converses ‘in their several languages.’51 Notwithstanding its permissive treatment of the wayward trickster John, the play advocates a kind of uneasy protectionism in which the risks associated with foreign trade are staved off by bringing everybody home to witness the monarch’s ability to translate and negotiate for herself.52 I conclude with a nod to what is arguably Shakespeare’s slipperiest allusion to factors and the experience of loss, one that enacts in its verbal texture what Heywood dramatizes explicitly in his play. Gonzalo pleads for a reorientation to losses incurred in overseas ventures when he and his shipmates wash up on Prospero’s island: Beseech you, sir, be merry. You have cause, So have we all, of joy, for our escape Is much beyond our loss. Our hint of woe Is common; every day some sailor’s wife, The masters of some merchant, and the merchant, Have just our theme of woe.53

This tricky passage befuddles the Variorum editors: ‘If the passage be not corrupt (as I suspect it is) we must suppose that by ‘masters’ our author means the owners of a merchant’s ship or the officers to whom the navigation of it had been trusted.’54 I would like to suggest that the phrase ‘masters of some merchant’ refers in fact the merchant’s factors.55 The use of ‘merchant’ twice in the same line—first to refer to the vessel and second to refer to the person—enacts a conceptual blurring between goods and persons. Further, even though the ‘merchant’ in ‘masters of some merchant’ refers to the ship, the phrase inverts the hierarchy between 51

Heywood, 317. Elizabeth repays a small loan to Hobson soon after her reception of the ambassadors. Tellingly, John’s return from France is staged after this scene, and after his uncle and Hobson have disappeared entirely from the play. Returning in debt and disrepute, he acknowledges that he has ‘neither money nor credit’; he tries to woo the wealthy widow Ramsey as a means to pay off his creditors, who beset him even as he courts her. Lady Ramsey agrees to pay his debts, but refuses marriage, 327–32. John’s failure to win the widow contrasts the situation of the prodigal Stephen Foster in Rowley’s A New Wonder, A Woman Never Vext. Stephen’s profligacy is reformed early in the play by means of his marriage to a wealthy widow. Both Rowley and Heywood offer city comedies that puzzle through the impact of newly expanding global ventures on civic bonds and institutions. This imaginative effort proceeds by way of the depiction of merchant-factor relations in both plays. 53 The Tempest, II.i. 1–6 54 A New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare, Vol. 11 (New York: American Scholar, 1963) 93. 55 The usage of ‘merchant’ for ‘merchant ship’ appears frequently in Malynes’s Consuetudo, Vel Lex Mercatoria. Malynes also makes it clear that a merchant ship would only have one designated ‘Master,’ arguing against the idea that the ‘masters of some merchant’ in this passage are navigators. 52


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merchant and factor, master and servant, in much the same way that Heywood’s dramatization of the Hobson-John Gresham plot did. Compared to Heywood and other writers of city comedy, our more canonical author tends to dance around the experience of material loss, avoiding topical details about trading arrangements and the specific anxieties that factors occasion. But I hope to have shown that, even as it focuses on them, Heywood’s drama is no less evasive of the conflict and struggle that was the stuff of merchant-factor relations, and that is the stuff of history as well.

Chapter 6

Passengers, S pies, Emissaries, and Merchants: T ravel and Early M odern English Identity M .G. A une

William Lithgow, on a pilgrimage in 1610 with a small caravan somewhere between Samaria and Jerusalem, encountered a Bedouin encampment. As his caravan approached, Lithgow writes, ‘there came riding toward vs, 6 naked fellows, well mounted on Arabian geldings, who demanded what wee were; and wither wee were bound; and if there were Frankes of Christendome in our company.’ One of the caravan’s guards answered that their destination was Jerusalem and that one Frank was with them. ‘Upon the which [the horsemen] presently sought me, demanding, Caffar, Caffar; and caused me perforce to pay seuen Chickens of gold for my head, because (said they) our King is resident in these tents, he must pay therefore so much the more extraordinary.’ The moment would have been familiar to early modern readers of travel narratives, especially those about lands controlled by the Ottoman Empire. T he intrepid English or Scottish traveler is singled out, threatened, and forced to pay extortion. The locals are anonymous, greedy, and marked as savages by their nakedness. Lithgow’s traveling companions are of a kind with the horsemen, not only tolerating the extortion but also willing to identify Lithgow. The anecdote also illustrates the slippery dynamics of alterity and identity in the cross-cultural encounters in the eastern Mediterranean. The locals, be they Bedouins, Arabs, or  William Lithgow, A Most Delectable, and Trve Discourse, of an Admired and Painefull Peregrination (London: Nicholas Okes for Thomas Archer, 1614) N2v–N3r. Lithgow glosses caffar or khifāra as tribute. A ‘gold chicken’ was an Italian coin, zecchino, which was common currency in the Ottoman Empire at the time.  For studies of the English encounter with, and depictions of, the Ottoman Empire see for example, Jonathan Burton, Traffic and Turning: Islam and English Drama, 1579–1624 (Newark, DE: U of Delaware P, 2005); Samuel C. Chew, The Crescent and The Rose: Islam and England During the Renaissance (New York: Oxford UP, 1937); Matthew Dimmock, New Turkes: Dramatizing Islam and the Ottomans in Early Modern Europe (Aldershot, Hampshire: Ashgate, 2005); Nabil Matar, Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery (New York: Columbia UP, 1999); Daniel Vitkus, Turning Turk: English Theater and the Multicultural Mediterranean, 1570–1630 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).

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Ottomans tend to be regarded as a faceless, hostile whole against whom the single traveler defines himself as a victimized innocent. Lithgow’s transcription of the Arabic indicates his familiarity with that identity; he has been extorted before and probably will be again. But this encounter is slightly unstable. In the act of writing, Lithgow assigns aspects of the Other—knowledge of Arabic—to himself, and aspects of Englishness to the horseman by rendering the rest of his language as English. Thus, identity in the cross-cultural encounter loses its stability. The attempts to define the self against the Other in such circumstances paradoxically reveal moments of similarity rather than difference. Much of English firsthand knowledge of the Mediterranean depended on depictions of cross-cultural encounters found in early modern English travel writing. This writing and the discourse of travel that surrounds it emphasize a stable English identity constituted by a strong sense of Protestantism, as well as qualities of courage and curiosity. The importance of stability can be found in antitravel tracts that express anxiety about Englishmen abroad becoming corrupted by the cultures that they visit. As a means of counteracting such influences, travel guides emphasize travelers’ vocations and their actions as merchants, emissaries, pilgrims, and spies. As long as travelers follow their function, their identities remain intact. T he O ther is a hostile, potentially violent or threatening group to be feared. The actual cross-cultural encounter however, the confrontation with the Other, as Lithgow’s situation above demonstrates, complicates these notions of identity and alterity. Ania Loomba addresses these complications and uses the term ‘fluidity’ in her discussion of ethnicity, race, and drama in early modern England. She describes alterity as a sort of ‘mirror dance’ whereby the self and the Other determine identity from each other, whether or not they acknowledge it. Daniel Vitkus further develops this understanding of identity construction in early modern drama, pointing out a fundamental problem with the self / other binary— the self is a single person while the Other tends to be constituted as a culture

See Clare Howard, English Travellers of the Renaissance (London: John Lane, the Bodley Head, 1914) 47–62; Joseph Hall, Quo Vadis? A Just Censure of Travell (London: Edward Griffin for Henry Fetherstone, 1617) 11–12, and passim; and perhaps most famously, Roger Ascham, The Scholemaster (London: Iohn Daye, 1571) 23–30.  Daniel Carey, ‘Questioning Incommensurability in Early Modern Cultural Exchange’ Common Knowledge 6.2 (Fall 1997): 32–50.  See the following studies and their bibliographies for contemporary references: Franklin Le Van Baumer, ‘The Conception of Christendom in Renaissance England,’ Journal of the History of Ideas 6.2 (1945): 131–56; Matar passim; C.A. Patrides, ‘“The Bloody and Cruell Turke”: The Background of a Renaissance Commonplace,’ Studies in the Renaissance 10 (1963): 126–35; and Christine Woodhead, ‘“The Present Terrour of the World?” Contemporary Views of the Ottoman Empire c. 1600,’ History 72 (1987): 20–37.  Ania Loomba, ‘“Delicious traffick”: Racial and Religious Difference on Early Modern Stages’ Shakespeare and Race. Ed. Catherine M. S. Alexander and Stanley Wells, (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000) 203–5. 

Passengers, Spies, Emissaries, and Merchants


such as the Islamic Other or the Ottoman Other. Vitkus explores this problem as a means of escaping the limitations binary identities place on our ability to characterize early modern culture. He calls for a greater emphasis on the ‘material reality’ of the cross-cultural contact, especially in the Mediterranean, which he refers to as a ‘complex and unstable meeting ground for divergent cultural and religious groups.’ This chapter takes up this investigation into fluid, nonbinary identity formation, but extends the project beyond drama to look at cross-cultural encounters as depicted in early modern travel narratives. This distinction bears investigation because of travel writing’s intentionality. These travelers recorded their encounters with the Other for an audience of English readers familiar with the discourse of travel and its emphasis on the stability of English identity. The writers in attempting to affirm this notion freely deploy the self / other binary. However, when the cross-cultural encounter is personal and when the Other is given a voice, however mediated, we can glimpse how identities became malleable and how alterity could be constituted as more than binary difference. Beginning in the early sixteenth century but not fully blossoming until the seventeenth, various types of journeys began to link together forming a national sense of travel and its importance. The earliest travelers were probably merchant adventurers, courageous, audacious, sometimes ruthless men who sought new markets for English goods, challenged the Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch, and explored new areas of the globe. Other travelers included diplomats, also thought of as courageous and enterprising, who visited familiar, new, and distant courts to do the work of English policy. A third element was the idea of travel as a means for a gentleman to complete his humanist education.10 Humanist ideals, communicated at universities and at court, valued a natural curiosity about the greater world and a desire to experience new things. Social conditions in England at the time, and greater diplomatic and commercial contact with the world created a demand for people with overseas experience. Thus, for the ambitious young man, travel had the potential to satisfy humanist values and to provide social opportunities. These ideas found expression in a number of ways. In the second edition of the Compleate Gentleman (1634), his book of advice for aspiring gentility, Henry Peacham devotes a section to the benefits of travel for a young gentleman. He 

Vitkus, 1–3. Vitkus, 5–8.  This can be seen in Richard Hakluyt’s two editions of Principal Navigations (1589; 1598). See also Richard Helgerson, Forms of Nationhood: The Elizabethan Writing of England (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1992) 151–91. Also Walter S.H. Lim, The Arts of Empire: The Poetics of Colonialism from Ralegh to Milton (Newark: U of Delaware P, 1998) 13–15; and David Armitage, The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000) 71–84. 10 For two overviews of humanist travel see Justin Stagl, A History of Curiosity: The Theory of Travel 1550–1800 (Chur, Switzerland: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1995); Sara Warneke, Images of the Educational Traveller in Early Modern England (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995). 


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begins with familiar statements about the advantages of travel: ‘in my opinion nothing rectifieth and confirmeth more the judgement of a Gentleman in forraine affaires, teacheth him knowledge of himselfe, and setleth his affection more sure to his own Country, then travaile doth.’11 Peacham’s emphasis initially focuses on the development of the person but this quickly becomes synonymous with the benefit of the state. The discourse of travel at the time is very specific in this regard. The nation is always the ultimate beneficiary of the traveler’s journey. This is even true in the institutionalization of educational travel that became the Grand Tour, whereby wealthy young men, typically aristocrats, would travel through the continent with a tutor seeking to learn languages, music, horsemanship, and other skills necessary to the courtier in advising a monarch. The rise in the number of printed and manuscript travel narratives at the end of the sixteenth century can in part be attributed to the number of educated men traveling with humanist ideals. Accompanying the rise in personal travel narratives, the appearance of guides and handbooks record the clearest articulations of the discourse of travel.12 T hese books provide arguments in favor of travel, advice on how to prepare, where to visit or avoid, tips on changing money, and, occasionally, abbreviated phrase books. One of the most comprehensive and best organized is Sir Thomas Palmer’s An Essay of the Meanes how to make our Trauailes, into forraine Countries, the more profitable and honorourable (1609). Dedicated to Prince Henry, Palmer’s guide carefully charts who should travel and who should not (women, fools, madmen).13 Palmer organizes those who should travel based on their motives. He begins with three broad categories, ‘voluntary, nonvoluntary, and involuntary.’ Involuntary travelers are those banished or fleeing persecution. Nonvoluntary travelers are those ‘sent out by the prince’ and are honorable travelers, such as ambassadors, commissioners, and messengers. Nonvoluntary travelers can be not honorable, such as post riders and intelligencers who can be ‘base’ or ‘honest’ and are to know foreign languages and behaviors and to ‘be secret above ordinarie, able to endure all things, [and] keep themselves from being known for Intelligencers.’ Soldiers are their own category of nonvoluntary travelers and are neither honorable nor not honorable. Voluntary travelers include merchants, soldiers, and members of the clergy, and physicians, both of whom are expected to visit libraries or meet other scholars.14 Voluntary travelers, in addition to their own motives, are expected serve the state by observing ‘the nature of people,’ the country, the laws, the government, 11 Henry Peacham, The Compleat Gentleman (London: John Legat for Francis Constable, 1634) 229. 12 The earliest handbooks in England were translations of continental works, but domestic examples quickly appeared. Stagl provides a detailed outline of these books (47– 94). See also Howard Chapter II . 13 T homas Palmer, An Essay of the Meanes How to Make Our Trauailes, into Forraine Countries, the More Profitable and Honorourable (London: Humphrey Lownes for Mathew Lownes, 1606) 17, I.B. 14 Palmer, I.B.

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and its secrets.15 Though Palmer never explains this, these travelers are presumably supposed to communicate what they learn through letters or personal report to a state official. Palmer’s categories and motives rest primarily on what the traveler does; identity proceeds through actions. These categories suggest a constancy to the traveler’s identity, no matter where he travels. In practice, English travelers abroad were subject to situations that shifted their identities or forced them to reconsider themselves. This is most evident in moments of contact between English travelers and members of the Other, where each party regards the other as Other and responds accordingly. To the horsemen, Lithgow was a Frank, the generic name for European Christians, while he represented himself as a much more complex entity. Palmer would have regarded Lithgow as a voluntary traveler and expected him to make careful observations. These moments are themselves however, subject to the predilections of the English travel writer, such as a desire to conform to received notions of travelers’ identities (such as Palmer’s) and to embody a stable sense of national, religious, and vocational identity. In 1603 an anonymous pamphlet appeared under the title A True and Strange Discourse of the Travailes of Two English Pilgrims. As a printed book, it is remarkable, going through six editions by 1620 and reviving the pilgrimage narrative, a genre that had been dormant in English since 1524. The pamphlet’s author, Henry Timberlake, was a merchant and ship owner who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem during the Easter season of 1601.16 Typically, European Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem put themselves in the care of the Franciscans at the Holy Mt. Zion monastery, who, for a fee, provided accommodation and Italian-speaking friars as guides. The Franciscans generally tolerated Protestants as long as they made a nominal effort to follow Catholic practices. Alternatively, Protestants were often able to find lodging at a Greek Orthodox hostel by virtue of their university Greek and probably an ecumenical Christian dislike of the Ottomans. Thus for English Protestants visiting the Holy Land involved two particular deceptions. Most immediate was negotiating the injunction against pilgrimages that dated back to the reign of Henry VIII.17 By the end of the sixteenth century, this decree does not seem to have been enforced, as English pilgrims visited Jerusalem regularly and must have done so either by filing false or strategically vague destinations on their 15

Palmer, 35B. The pamphlet remained anonymous until 1609, when Timberlake’s name was added to the cover. This was probably the result of another pilgrimage narrative, William Biddulph’s The Travels of Certaine Englishmen (London: Thomas Haueland for W. Aspley, 1609), which identified Timberlake. News of Joan Taylor’s book on Timberlake reached me too late to include in this chapter, The Englishman, the Moor and the Holy City: The True Adventures of an Elizabethan Traveller (Stroud, Gloucestershire: Tempus Publishing, Ltd., 2006). 17 Walter Howard Frere and William McClure Kennedy, eds. Visitation Articles and Injunctions of the Period of the Reformation, Vol. 2 1536–1558 (London: Longman, Green, & Co. 1910) 5–6, 37–9. 16

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passports or by claiming to travel for commercial reasons. The second deception occurred when the pilgrim entered Jerusalem. The Ottoman custodians, in part because of their suspicions of Christians, would allow them to enter only if they were under the supervision of the Franciscan or Orthodox father. Most Protestants therefore simply claimed to be one or the other, and their hosts obliged.18 Timberlake was one of these late Elizabethan pilgrims. As a merchant, he may have visited Jerusalem as part of a longer trading voyage. Initially traveling with a companion, another Englishman named Burrell, Timberlake parted ways with him when they reached Jerusalem. When guards confronted the two at the city gate, Timberlake refused to claim to be Greek. My companion aduised me to say I was a Greeke, onely to auoid going to Masse: but I not hauing the Greeke tongue, refused to doo, telling him ... that I would neither denie my Countrie nor Religion: whereupon being demaunded who wee were, M. Burrell (answering in the Greeke tongue) told them that he was a Greeke, and I an Englishman. This gave him admittance to the Greek Patriarke, but I was seased on and cast in prison, ... for the Turkes flatly denied, that they had euer heard either of my Queene or Countrey, or that she paied them any tribute. The [Franciscan] Pater Guardian ... [was] the principall procurer of mine imprisonment, because I did not offer my selfe vnder his protection, but confidently stood to be rather protected vnder the Turke thē the Pope [and] made the Turke so much mine enemie, that I was reputed to be a spie.19

Being in Jerusalem during Easter week allowed Timberlake and Burrell to assume the identity of outnumbered Englishmen in a crowd of Others. They were not just in an Ottoman-controlled city; they were surrounded by Catholic and Orthodox Christians engaging in a practice that they as Protestants were supposed to regard as idolatrous and avoid. Burrell was willing to alter his identity, discard his Englishness, and temporarily be Greek. This convenient fiction comes across as clever, in part because it deceives the dominant Others, the Ottomans, and the Orthodox Greeks. In contrast, Timberlake chose to valorize himself as a courageous, patriotic Englishman who refused temptation, while his companion could not. Not stopping there, Timberlake continues to express his Protestant English identity by attacking the Pater Guardian and choosing an Ottoman prison over Papal protection. In a foreign space, Timberlake’s resolve is futile, and the 18

For other examples, see Biddulph 116–21; Lithgow P3r–R4r; and Fynes Moryson, An Itinerary (London: John Beale, 1617) I.iii. 218–39. Biddulph does make indirect criticism of Protestants who stay at the monastery and dissemble as Catholics or Orthodox Christians (117–19). Vitkus classifies some of the English Protestants in Jerusalem as ‘antipilgrims’ working to expose Catholic hypocrisies. Daniel J. Vitkus, ‘Trafficking with the Turk: English Travelers in the Ottoman Empire During the Early 17th Century.’ Ed. Ivo Kamps and J yotsna S ingh. Travel Knowledge: European ‘Discoveries’ in the Early Modern Period (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001) 35–9. 19 Henry Timberlake, A True and Strange Discourse of the Travailes of Two English Pilgrims (London: Thomas Archer, 1603) 6.

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Ottoman guards identify him according to their own criteria. Because he does not fall into a category known to them, he must be a spy and is imprisoned. Timberlake, as did other English travelers in Ottoman lands, had the identity of spy projected on to him and was punished.20 The antagonism here is mutual. Timberlake regards the Ottomans and Catholics as hostile, and they regard him as an enemy. Holding the power, the Ottoman’s Othering of Timberlake prevails, but as the travel writer, Timberlake gets the final word. Though Timberlake was apparently content to be incarcerated, he did not remain long, writing that ‘[s]uddenly came a Moore unto me, ... and calling me by name, said he would help me.’21 The ‘Moor’ surprises Timberlake again by speaking in ‘the Franke tongue,’ Italian, saying, Why Captaine, I hope you have not forgotten me, for it is not yet fortie dayes, since you set me a land at Alexandria, with the rest of those passengers you brought from Argier, in your ship called the Troyan: and here is another in this Caravan, whom you likewise brought in companie with you, and would not be a little glad to see you.22

The Moor, who is on his way to Mecca, intercedes with the Pasha, frees Timberlake, and sees him conducted to the Franciscan monastery. There Timberlake compromises with the Pater Guardian, agreeing to stay but participating in the mass only so far as to hold a candle, sufficiently preserving his Protestant identity. In the end, Timberlake remains in Jerusalem, visits the various holy sites, and returns to England safely. Timberlake’s obstinacy pays off. He retains his national and religious identity in the face of an Ottoman prison and a Franciscan mass. The key to his success is his personal encounter with the Muslim pilgrim. Apparently, Timberlake had agreed to transport a group of pilgrims, probably from North Africa, to Cairo, where they would then travel overland to Mecca. The pilgrim’s gratitude, which motivates him to help free Timberlake, suggests that Timberlake had dealt fairly with him. Not only is Timberlake steadfastly English, he is an honest ship’s captain. Timberlake’s story is a pilgrimage narrative and a testimony to the resolute English character. It shows how an honest Englishman abroad can get what he wants without betraying his Queen or his faith, as others are willing to do. It further shows that not all Muslims are greedy and arbitrary, nor are they all the same. The North African ‘Moor’ has compassion for Timberlake whereas the O ttoman guards regard him as a spy. At the gates of Jerusalem Timberlake’s identity for practical purposes became malleable. In the face of an Ottoman Other, he could have claimed any number of national or religious identities. Rather than take advantage of this moment to 20 See Biddulph, 116 and Blount below for examples of the distrust of Christians and suspicion of espionage. 21 Timberlake, 7. 22 Timberlake, 7.


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reform his identity, Timberlake attempted to reassert his Englishness. This failed and landed him in jail, where, ironically, an Other, an unnamed ‘Moor’ rescued him. In spite of the situational irony, he appears resolute and patriotic. He might even have seemed heroic for enduring prison, earning the assistance of a Muslim through his probity, and defying the Pater Guardian. The nameless Muslim’s identity shifts as well, defying the expectation of the time that Muslims are cruel and arbitrary, he shows himself to be generous and compassionate. Lithgow’s isolation and Timberlake’s brief time in prison activate references to narratives by a type of traveler that Palmer does not index, the captive. Narratives of English captivity constitute some of the most frightening images of the Mediterranean Other. The tales typically describe the capture, enslavement, and freedom of Christians—usually sailors or passengers—who encountered Ottoman or Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean or the Atlantic, though variations do exist wherein the captors are Spanish or Roman inquisitors.23 Beginning in the sixteenth century and becoming more and more popular through the seventeenth, the narratives are typically providential tales of courageous Christian Englishmen delivered from captivity and the threat of forced conversion by virtue of their resolute faith and stable identity. As well as deliverance, providence very often conferred divine punishment upon the captors. The encounters in these narratives are typically violent and dangerous. Once captured, the English Christians are often tortured for their faith, forced to convert, or sold into slavery. The captors, generic ‘Moors’ or ‘Turks,’ are cruel, arbitrary, greedy and consider Christians inferior, enslaving them without mercy, creating a widespread fear among English travelers.24 A letter by the master of an English ship captured off the Spanish coast tells a slightly different version of the standard narrative. Nicholas Roberts’s account of his encounter with Algerian pirates serves as a counter-example for the captivity narrative: the expected roles are not quite fulfilled. Printed by Samuel Purchas in his anthology Haklvytvs Posthumus or Purchas His Pilgrimes, the letter to a John Moulton describes an attack by a ‘Turkish man of warre’ in 1620.25 A fter failing to evade the A lgerian ship R oberts resolves to fight but leaves the final decision to his sailors asking, ‘whether they would stand 23 See for example, Daniel J. Vitkus, ed. and Nabil I. Matar, Introduction, Piracy, Slavery, and Redemption Barbary Captivity Narratives from Early Modern England (New York: Columbia UP, 2001); G.A. Starr, ‘Escape from Barbary: A Seventeenth-Century Genre.’ Huntington Library Quarterly 29 (1965): 35–52; Mary Fuller, ‘English Turks and Resistant Travelers: Conversion to Islam as Homosocial Courtship’ in Kamps and Singh 66–73; and Joe Snader Caught Between Worlds: British Captivity Narratives in Fact and Fiction (Lexington, KY: UP of Kentucky, 2000). 24 Fynes Moryson relates a story of a pilgrim who was told that a Janissary planned to sell him into slavery. The man was so ‘terrified with this danger, as he returned into England without seeing Jerusalem’ (Moryson, I.iii.214). Also see Nabil Matar, Islam in Britain 1558–1685 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998) 1–20. 25 Roberts refers to the pirates as Turks throughout his narrative, but the context and a note by Purchas confirm that they are Algerian or Barbary pirates.

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by mee and show themselves like men, and that it might never bee said, that we should runne away.’26 Too powerful for the English, the pirates eventually disable and take possession of Roberts’s ship. The captain orders his men to immobilize Roberts and ‘with a Rope did give me so many blowes, that I did intreat him: if ever hee came of a Woman, not to use me like a Dogge, but rather that hee should heave mee overboard.’27 To this the captain answers, ‘thou Dog, if I doe finde anything more [cargo] then thou hast confest to mee, I will give thee a hundred times as much, and when I have done, I will heave thee over-board.’28 The captain decides to bring Roberts’s ship to port and places ‘a Hamburger a Renegado, one that could speak very good English’ in charge of it.29 To determine how the crew should be divided between the two ships, the Algerians, ‘having a Witch aboord, told [the Hamburger]: that hee should take but three [English sailors] that could doe their labour well, and send the rest aboord the man of Warre, and that hee should have an especial care to keepe the Weapons from us.’30 T his leaves R oberts, his mate, and his boatswain to sail the ship toward Algiers with eleven ‘Turke’ pirates aboard. After three days, the English sailors attack their captors, kill four, and trap the rest below deck. Without the instruments and charts, which the pirates held, Roberts cannot navigate and resolves to open a scuttle to convince the pirates that the ship is sinking. Realizing the situation, the pirates surrender and Roberts and his small crew sail for Portugal until rough weather forces them to cut their masts. This task requires more than three men, so Roberts asks the Algerians to help. They do so reluctantly, ‘for they did feare that we would have killed them.’31 T hough R oberts does not say so, the fear must have been mutual. T he pirates still outnumber the English and are armed with axes for the masts. All goes peacefully, however, and when the masts are cut and the ship is safely at anchor, Roberts and his crew pause to pray, ‘the Turkes sitting with us.’ Roberts describes the moment: ‘having no more Bookes left but a little Prayer-booke in my Pocket, one of the Turkes went to his Bagge and fetcht mine owne Bible, and brought it to me; saying, Master here is a bigger Booke for you. After Prayer, we did eat and drinke together, and were as though we had beene altogether consorts.’32

26 Nicholas Roberts, ‘A Letter Containing the Admirable Escape and glorious Victorie of Nicholas Roberts Master, Tristram Stevens his Mate, and Robert Sucksbich Boatson of a Ship of Dover, taken by Algier Pyrates: which three men being carried as Salves by 11 Turkes in the same Ship, partly killed and partly sold them all, and returned free and safe home into England’ in Samuel Purchas, Haklvytvs Posthumus or Purchas His Pilgrimes (London: William Stansby for Henrie Fetherston, 1625) II.ix. 1577. 27 Roberts, II.ix. 1577–1578. 28 Roberts, II.ix. 1578. 29 Roberts, II.ix. 1578. 30 Roberts, II.ix. 1578. 31 Roberts, II.ix. 1579. 32 Roberts, II.ix. 1577–1580.


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The encounter begins as an English sailor’s nightmare. They fight courageously but are overcome, captured, abused, and destined for slavery. The pirates are murderous and superstitious but even with superior numbers are unable to outwit the English sailors. The binary is evident between the courageous English, who democratically refuse to surrender, and the rapacious ‘Turks,’ who are superstitious and underestimate the English. The difference is linguistically reiterated each time Roberts refers to the Algerians as ‘Turks.’ But the division between the two is permeable, embodied by the ‘Hamburger Renegado,’ a Christian European who had converted and become a trusted member of the pirate crew.33 T he pirate captain is another liminal figure who, despite his cruelty, speaks English. All the participants’ identities become unstable when the weather threatens to sink the crippled English ship and the English and the Algerians are forced to work together. The final scene of mutual reverence for the Bible and shared prayer and food punctuate this moment when differences have collapsed. But the moment is fleeting. Roberts controls what is left of the ship and when they reach Portugal, the pirates are sold as slaves in spite of Roberts’s protests.34 In addition to courage and faith, and in contrast to the pirates, Roberts and his crew demonstrate mercy and restraint. The English are threatened with a dramatic alteration of identity: slavery. Similar to Timberlake, they do not waver in the face of the threat or the temptation. But also similar to Timberlake, the episode ends on a note of irony when Roberts is forced to enslave the pirates, just as they intended to do to him. Not all personal encounters in these narratives are hostile. As Roberts and the pirates discovered, circumstances could erase differences. John Sanderson, a Levant Company merchant sailing to Istanbul in 1595, was one of Palmer’s voluntary travelers, going abroad as part of his profession. H is letters and diary, excerpted in Purchas, describe his direct encounters with the Ottoman Other and the accompanying shifts in identity.35 During his first voyage to the Levant in 1585, Sanderson falls overboard while at Rhodes and ‘a Flemming ... a Blackmoore ... [and] the Turkes and the helpe of God’ pull him out of the water. ‘The Beg [a governor of Alexandria] came by as I was shifting, & laughingly said, that now God had washt me; because I would not wash in the Banias as we came by the way.’36 Later in the same voyage, after another escape, this time from a shipwreck, Sanderson reports a conversation with a ‘jolly Turke’ who shares his lifeboat: 33 English sailors had a reputation for nautical and military skills and were pressed into Ottoman service in these capacities. See Edward Webbe, The Rare and Most Wonderfull (London: William Wright, 1590). 34 This is in contrast to John Rawlins, who, according to his captivity narrative, after a similar revolt, slaughtered the pirates who surrendered. [John Rawlins], The Famous and Wonderfull Recoverie of a Ship of Bristoll (London: Nathanial Butter, 1622). 35 Sanderson’s manuscript is held by the British Museum and a version of it was printed in 1931. Ed. William Foster. The Travels of John Sanderson in the Levant 1584–1602 (London: Hakluyt Society, 1931). 36 John Sanderson, ‘Sundrie the Personall Voyages ...’ in Purchas, II.ix. 1615nG.

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[‘the jolly Turke’] said, Asserum Asserum Chelibie: twas well done Gentlemen, I heard you pray aloud ... Why said I [Sanderson], we did not pray as you did to Mahumnet, but we prayed to Christ. Gusel, Gusel, Wel, wel twas wel done (saith he) for every man to pray aloud, as (holloh [Allah]) God hath taught him, this was a wel mannered, manly and civil Turke, who tooke our kindnesse (for his passage) thankfully.37

Sanderson notes these two anecdotes in the margins of his diary and Purchas preserves this placement, so they read as asides to a conventional travel narrative of dates and places. Although they are marginal, they stand out because the relationships between the diarist and the various Ottoman Others are anything but hostile; the participants appear cordial with each other. The Beg’s teasing of Sanderson emphasizes the Englishman’s alterity, but the humorous tone relieves the tension. The Beg’s comment and Sanderson’s willingness to translate and record it suggest competing interpretations of the event. The Beg implies that Sanderson has not had a brush with death not because he had not washed himself, but because A llah has done so for him.38 A Christian interpretation might see baptism and rebirth in the anecdote, complicated by Sanderson’s rescuers being a presumably Protestant Fleming along with a Muslim ‘Blackmoor’ and Muslim ‘Turkes.’ The moment shows how physically and spiritually vulnerable an Englishman’s identity could be in Ottoman lands and how the act of recording the event can work to reiterate a stable English identity. Sanderson’s second brush with drowning results in an encounter with another gregarious Ottoman, who comments on their shared reliance on prayer in times of crisis. The ‘well done’ implies that their mutual prayers saved them both. Sanderson does not disagree but quickly points out that he has prayed to Christ while the Ottoman has prayed to Mohammad. The Ottoman repeats his comment, not quite agreeing with Sanderson but suggesting that their religion is the same. Sanderson feels affection for the man but has to include a reverse translation (holloh) to clarify who is Muslim and who is Christian. Through his close calls and rescues Sanderson’s identity destabilizes as those around him attempt to alter it. Sanderson resists and is able to reinscribe his Englishness by carefully recording his words and those of the O ttoman. Neither a pilgrim nor a merchant, in 1634 Henry Blount, a gentleman and future courtier, journeyed alone through the eastern Mediterranean as a voluntary traveler. As such, he was expected to make careful observations and notes during his journey about everything from military installations to economic centers to government systems. Unlike most travel writers, at the beginning of his narrative, A Voyage into the Levant (1636), Blount invokes Palmer’s motives: 37

Sanderson, II.ix. 1617nM. Cleanliness and especially washing before worship are frequently cited Ottoman habits. S ee H enry Blount, A Voyage into the Levant (London: John Leggat for Andrew Crooke, 1636) 100; Moryson 2.94; 2.100, 4.125; George Sandys, A Relation of a Journey (London: W. Barrett. 1615) 64, 69. 38

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[First] to observe the Religion, Manners, and policie of the Turkes, [but] not perfectly, (which were a taske for an inhabitant rather then a passenger) ... Secondly ... to acquaint myselfe with those other sects which live under the Turkes ... T hirdly, to see the Turkish A rmy, then going against Poland … [L]ast … to view Gran Cairo ... it being ... the greatest concourse of Mankinde in these times ... [and] because Egypt is held to have beene the fountaine of all Science, and Arts civill.39

Blount’s narrative stands out because of the specificity of his goals and his destination. The Ottoman Empire was not part of the educational tour of Europe. It was a place visited only by English merchants such as John Sanderson, diplomats, spies, and pilgrims such as Timberlake. Students of government went to Venice, of medicine to Padua, and of theology to Geneva or Rome. Only rarely did travelers risk moving through the Mediterranean rim.40 Those who did, and in particular those who wrote about doing so, often characterized the lands of the Ottoman Empire as degraded from Byzantine, Roman, or Biblical times. This theme is particularly dominant in George Sandys’ travel narrative, in which he writes of the Holy Land and Egypt, ‘countries once so glorious, and famous for their happy estate, are now through vice and ingratitude, become the most deplored spectacles of extreme miseries.’41 Blount’s preface is then doubly unusual. He is attempting to see the Ottoman lands without prejudice, to learn for himself rather than confirming or correcting earlier accounts and beliefs. He is particular about his methods as well. He sees himself not as one of Palmer’s travelers but as his own category of ‘passenger.’ Based on Blount’s conduct throughout his narrative, MacLean assigns several characteristics to the term: Blount stays with local inhabitants ..., talks on occasion with women and children ..., avoids traveling with fellow countrymen and other Christians ... , carries a book for companionship ... adopts local costume ... refuses to engage in religious disputes or talk too much about his own country ..., employs a Janissary for guidance and safety ..., and engages in strategic dissembling when not to do so would lead to danger.42

These are not the travel habits of a man finishing his education or a young member of the gentry seeking knowledge of the Ottoman Empire to improve his situation at court. As we have seen, lacking a clear label or category, Blount’s behavior might seem like espionage. In fact, as MacLean points out, short of explicit state sponsorship, Blount’s actions qualify him as an intelligencer.43 No clear evidence 39

Blount, 2. Of those who did and wrote about the journey, Biddulph, Coryate, Lithgow, Moryson, Sandys, and Timberlake all had Jerusalem as their primary destination. 41 S andys, A 2. 42 Gerald MacLean, Rise of Oriental Travel: English Visitors to the Ottoman Empire, 1580–1720 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) 128, 136–7. 43 MacLean, 128–9; Palmer, 4–5. 40

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exists of Blount’s having been a spy, but his tenacious gathering of information and observations does lead others to assume that he was. Fulfilling his travel goals leads Blount to describe numerous moments of sneaking around fortifications and striking up conversations with locals to learn more about the Ottomans. His account of his visit to the island of Rhodes includes several encounters. When Blount first arrives, he asks about some ‘very honourable Sepultures, one more brave then the rest, and new.’44 An Ottoman, not knowing who Blount is, says that ‘it was the Captaine Basha slaine the yeare before by two English Ships; and [he] therewith gave such a Language of our Nation, and threatning to all whom they should light upon, as made me ... professe my selfe a Scotchman.’45 The Ottoman’s vehemence leads Blount to deny his English identity and safely reinvent himself. He feels guilty enough about the lie to add, ‘nor did I suppose it any quitting of my Countrey, but rather a retreat from one corner to the other.’46 When the Ottoman presses further about Blount’s being a Scot, Blount perpetuates the deception using Latin and Greek terms, which the Ottomans do not recognize. The dissembling was not always effective. Local suspicion of Christians was high and, as Blount mentions, no Christian traders visited the island. Rhodes was strategically important for controlling shipping through the eastern Mediterranean and may have been especially well defended. So when Ottoman soldiers confronted him, Blount declared that he was traveling on a wager. Whether they believed him or not, this lie satisfied the soldiers, who showed him the island’s castle, which had been built by the Knights Hospitaller after they fled Jerusalem in 1309.47 MacLean argues that the Ottomans did not believe Blount and regarded him as a spy, showing him the castle to demonstrate that they were not worried about a lone Christian agent. MacLean continues, contending that Blount knowingly allowed the Ottomans to believe he was a spy to take advantage of their pride.48 Claiming to be a Scot and being identified as a spy becomes a problem later when he is ‘prying up, and downe alone, [and] met a Turke who in Italian told mee, ah! Are you an Englishman, and with a kinde of malicious posture, laying his forefinger under his eye, me thought he had the lookes of a designe, he presently departed, I got to my Galleon, and durst go to land no more.’49 But Blount does not learn his lesson at Rhodes. Later in his journey, in Alexandria, he learns that viewing the ships in port is ‘severely prohibited ... [which] made me suspect some notable defect in that harbour, which might hereafter, be made use off.’ An Egyptian guard sees Blount and chases him away so vigorously that it ‘made me forget all my other designes,

Blount, 32. Blount, 32–3. 46 Blount, 33. 47 Blount, 30–31. 48 MacLean, 158–61. 49 Blount, 33. 44 45

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and flye for safetie of my life.’50 He manages to reach a French bark bound for Sicily and has to abandon his original plan of continuing to Jerusalem. Blount’s encounters feel like close calls. He was venturing where he knew he should not and his behaviors gave him away as a foreigner and perhaps a spy. He may have intended to travel as a passenger—he wore local clothing and isolated himself from other Christians—but when confronted by the Ottoman Other, that identity lost its meaning at least at Rhodes and Alexandria.51 What led the O ttoman to believe that Blount was English we are not told. Blount’s traveling alone, not obviously marked as part of a sanctioned category such as merchant, may have been sufficient to trigger suspicion. In these brief personal encounters, Blount attempts to resist the slippage of identity that can be seen in Lithgow, Roberts, and Sanderson. He changes his clothing, his language, and claims to be a Scot, taking advantage of the malleability that travel affords. But the Ottomans he meets and talks to work to reinscribe his Englishness or at least limit his control over his identity. When Blount writes that a glimpse of the port at Alexandria might ‘be made use off,’ he reminds us that all these convolutions of identity are at the service of his desire to be a passenger and to collect information. Somewhat like Blount, Thomas Coryate traveled for his own edification and might have been an intelligencer of some kind. But unlike Blount, he was not as systematic in his statement of purpose or his research methods. Coryate’s desire for courtly and social advancement was the primary engine for his travels and travel writing. To this end, he established a literary persona for himself: a staunchly Protestant Englishman with a deep streak of curiosity and a tendency toward clownish behavior. His encounters and the slippages of his identity tended to be self-conscious and invested in his status as a reliable Englishman abroad. His first journey, which took him to Venice and back, resulted in the Crudities (1611), a popular book that gained him favor at Prince Henry’s court. During his journey to India, Coryate paused for ten months in Istanbul as a guest of the L evant Company Ambassador, Paul Pindar. In a posthumously printed pamphlet, Coryate describes his encounter with a local soothsayer. At the suggestion of Pindar, accompanied by Edward Connock, Pindar’s Secretary, and a Druggerman (interpreter) Coryate seeks out Rama, the Fortuneteller.52 Coryate describes him as, ‘a certaine Turkish fortune-teller ... Fishing under the wall of the Seraglia neere to a Holy Well, … (He was Fortune-teller to the Grand Signior himselfe) one that was a kinsman of Mahomets, for hee ware a Turbet of a very deepe green die.’53 To begin the process, Rama asks Coryate to roll two dice across a green stone. He then writes some Turkish characters on 50

Blount, 58. Some travelers write of wearing local clothing as a safety measure when in Ottoman territories. See Moryson, I.iii. 208, III.i. 29–31. 52 Thomas Coryate, ‘Master Thomas Coryates travels to, and Observations in Constantinople’ in Purchas, II.ix. 1820–1821. 53 Coryate, ‘Master Thomas Coryates’, II.ix. 1820. 51

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the stone and generates prophesies for Coryate, who records the Druggerman’s translation in the first person. Rama determines: That I was a man desirous to Travell into remote Regions, that according to my desire I should travel farre, and should be in danger for my Religion sake, and should also escape that danger, after that should come to a great Citie (perhaps he meant London) where many would flocke about me to heare me Discourse of those that I had seene and done in my Travels. At last Master Secretary gave him certaine Aspers for a gratuitie: He also said that I should write a Booke of my Travels, and publish it to the benefit of my Countrymen, and many thousands besides.54

The results must have pleased Coryate. Rama’s observations match Coryate’s own desires so closely that one wonders if some joke was not being had at Coryate’s expense. Some of the general predictions are safe bets: that Coryate is an Englishman, that Englishmen in Ottoman lands often live in fear because of their religion, and that traveling Englishmen often visit large cities. But the other predictions, that Coryate would be famous because of his travels and that people would want to hear him talk about them, play right into Coryate’s wish for fame and for an audience. Coryate was in fact, already famous for his travels and his book. In his Crudities Coryate makes much of the people he has met during his travels, and he touts his narrative’s popularity at court. He reveals that he set off on this second journey intending to write an account of it that would bring him further fame. Given his proximity to the Sultan, Rama would have been familiar with European merchants and ambassadors. So for Rama, Coryate is another English traveler, probably working for the Levant Company, visiting Istanbul, feeling nervous, and hoping to return home with tales of bravery abroad. Coryate’s brief description of Rama characterizes him as the visually Muslim Ottoman Other. Rama’s turban marks him not just as Muslim but as a descendent of Mohammad. The label ‘fortune-teller’ and the location near a holy well imply superstition, similar to Roberts’ pirate witch. The accuracy and ease of the prediction invoke an exotic Eastern supernatural knowledge. Rama performs this alterity flawlessly, and Coryate, courtesy of Rama’s characterization, fulfills the requirements of his alterity. Neither hostile nor friendly, the encounter is as performative as it is overdetermined. Coryate and Rama both have their identities constituted prior to their encounter and go through a kind of ritual to confirm them. Rather than attempt to assert his own notion of himself, Coryate embraces Rama’s notion of him. Rama, in turn, asked to be an Ottoman fortune-teller, obliges and earns a few coins as a result. This encounter, more than those previously examined, presents an ideal situation where identities are not only stable, they are reified by the actions of the Other. The men have nothing in common; the self / other binary is clearly articulated through Coryate’s narrative, though his earnest tone works to subvert it. 54

Coryate, ‘Master Thomas Coryates’, II.ix. 1820–1821.

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As Coryate’s description of his encounter indicates, the act of writing can distort the circumstances of the self / other meeting. In Coryate’s case, the stability of English identity in the face of the Other is maintained, and this is to be expected based on the prescriptions of writers like Palmer. As the other travel writers here demonstrate, despite this intentionality, representations of cross-cultural encounters almost invariably record a slippage of identity, a convergence of the self and the other that suggests the instability of binary oppositions. D aniel Carey describes this dynamic in a study of English travel writing and the New World. He uses the term ‘incommensurability’ to describe ‘an unfulfilled desire of English essayists lamenting the influences and alterations to which travelers submitted.’55 That is, the discourse of travel as expressed by Palmer and others presumed a fixed identity for the English traveler that shared nothing with the Other as encountered abroad. Carey emphasizes the impossibility of this type of stability, and the writings of travelers such as Sanderson and Blount actually demonstrate the opposing experience, commensurability. These accounts, in contrast to Lithgow’s, for example, present comparatively rich representations of the voice of the Other. The greater detail the travel writer gives to his description of the Other, the greater the sense of slippage and the less stable are the identities. Lithgow’s account tells us the least about the Other and the identities seem much more stable. The material encounter presents more cultural information about the self and the Other, if only because the writers’ attempts to represent the moment in detail seem to lessen their control over the markers of identity.


Carey, 34.

PART 3 Language and Technologies of M ediation

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Chapter 7

The Translator as Emissary: Continental Works about the O ttomans in England Linda McJannet

For most of the sixteenth century, works available in Western Europe represented the Ottomans from the outside. Early modern scholars did not read Ottoman Turkish, and official documents would not have been available to outsiders. However, western readers eagerly read works by other Europeans, including ethnographies, newsbooks, histories, and the accounts of captives and diplomats. This essay considers the English translations of three ethnographic works and three travel narratives: Richard Grafton’s The order of the greate Turckes courte; William Watreman’s The Fardel of Facions; Robert Johnson’s The Travellers Breviat; Hugh Goughe’s Bartholomeus Georgieuiz Epitome of the customes ... of the Turkes; Thomas Washington’s The Nauigations, peregrinations and voyages made into Turkie; and the anonymous English edition of The Turkish Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq. The originals date from 1520 to 1597; all but one of the translations appeared before 1603, the year of the death of Elizabeth I and the publication of Richard Knolles’s Generall Historie of the Turkes, the first comprehensive work on the Ottomans written in English. As one who represents the work of a foreigner to a domestic audience, a translator is an emissary of sorts. In the case of national poets (such as Dante or Shakespeare or Cervantes), the translator may be seen primarily as the emissary of the author and his or her distinctive poetic vision, making them accessible to other linguistic communities. The canonical status of the text is its chief claim on the audience’s attention. In the case of the ethnographies and travel narratives considered here, however, although the author, his personal and cultural biases, and his intentions (announced and implicit) are crucial in shaping the content of his work, it is likely that the English translators saw themselves chiefly as the bearers of important ‘information’ about the Ottomans and their formidable empire. They  In 1972, Ezel Kural Shaw noted that thousands of Ottoman documents had yet to be analyzed. While scholars have recently begun to do so, the task is still in its early stages. See ‘The Double Veil: Travelers’ Views of the Ottoman Empire, Sixteenth through Eighteenth Centuries,’ in English and Continental Views of the Ottoman Empire, 1500–1800. Ed. E.K. Shaw and C.J. Heywood (Los Angeles: Wm. Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA, 1972) 3.

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acted primarily as representatives (albeit self-appointed ones), not of their authors, but of the O ttomans themselves. While translators are emissaries, they are never passive ones. T hey are inevitably influenced by personal and cultural forces that shape their choice of texts, the values they bring to bear upon them, and the nature of their interventions. In principle, every word choice, every syntactical interpretation is colored by their particular perspectives. Recent work in translation theory, however, views the effects of biography and culture on translation not as a ‘pitfall’ to be avoided, but as a phenomenon to be studied in its own right. By choosing particular texts (old or new, scholarly or sensational) and commenting upon them, translators shaped the discourse about the Ottomans circulating in England. While it is beyond the scope of this essay to compare the originals and their translations word for word, the translators’ apparatus and other visible interventions in their texts suggest how English readers received these accounts. Initially, the translators emphasize religious difference, but they also present contradictory views of the Ottomans, juxtaposing high praise with strong condemnation. The later translators, while still ambivalent, take a more secular and pragmatic approach, focusing on the Ottomans’ military practices, foreign policy, and system of reward and punishment, rather than on religious difference. The translators also transmitted the views of their (usually Catholic) authors, which were often less militant than their own. In the last work I will discuss, however, the translator even more than his author emphasizes elements that reflect favorably on the Ottomans. Idealizing cultural rivals may be as damaging to mutual understanding as demonizing them, but to balance the well-established hostility to the Ottomans, we need to acknowledge what Europeans (if only grudgingly) admired about them. The praise of cultural others as a mode of self-criticism is not new in the Renaissance. Ancient Greek travelogues, as James Romm has pointed out, ‘use eastern races to teach the Greeks about their own shortcomings, and later Cynic texts like the dialogues between Alexander the Great and the Indian wise men do likewise.’ Tacitus praises the ‘barbarians’ of Gaul for the virtues he felt Romans were in danger of losing. Early Renaissance travel narratives, such as Poggio Bracciolini’s India Recognita (1492) and Ludovico de Varthema’s Itinerario (1510), do not typically compare the East and the author’s home culture. As Lincoln Davis Hammond has observed, the writers view their texts as ‘factual in nature’: the traveler ‘records what he sees and what he is told, usually and unfortunately without much meditation on its meaning or possible significance for what he takes to be natural in his own way of life.’ Only after the appetite for new See, for example, Edwin Gentzler, Contemporary Translation Theories, 2nd ed. (Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters, 2001), especially 194–5.  J ames S . R omm, The Edges of the Earth in Ancient Thought: Geography, Exploration, and Fiction (Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1992) 48.  Lincoln Davis Hammond, ed., Travelers in Disguise: Narratives of Eastern Travel by Poggio Bracciolini and Ludovico de Varthema (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1963) xx. 

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‘facts’ had been sated, did the writers take advantage of the ‘other major function of the East in European writing, the establishment of a geographical and cultural distance ... from which satire and criticism could then be directed at Europe.’ In addition, these early travel writers rarely adopt the ‘heroic style’ that characterized the genre in later times, much less the attitude of eighteenth- and nineteenthcentury travelers described by Mary Louise Pratt, namely the ‘“seeing man” ... whose imperial eyes passively look out and possess.’ Continental ethnographies and traveler’s accounts before 1600 are far from entirely hostile to eastern cultures, but initially their English translators did take a harder line, especially with respect to religion. As Norman Jones has shown, English Protestants inherited the anti-Ottoman polemic of Wycliffe and Luther, which attacked Catholicism by equating Rome and Constantinople, the western and eastern seats of the Anti-Christ. As a result, he argues, they ‘hated [the Turk] in the abstract way in which the church saw all heretics.’ However, as Jones points out, English militancy with regard to Islam often conflicted with England’s behavior, such as establishing political and economic relations with the Porte. In his account of Anglo-Ottoman relations, Matthew Dimmock argues that during the last decades of the sixteenth century, English perspectives on religious and cultural difference underwent a ‘sea-change.’ From the first English overtures to the Porte in the 1570s to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, he writes, ‘AngloProtestant identity ... was formed and expressed through recourse not to one dominant demonizing model, but to multiple and various models of the “Turke” and Islam.’10 Although Dimmock argues that Richard Knolles’s Generall Historie of the Turkes signals the closure of this fluid moment in Anglo-Ottoman engagement, my reading of Knolles and of these travel narratives suggests otherwise.11 While religious hostility does not disappear from English discourse about the Ottomans, the translators increasingly transmit a more secular and less stereotypical view of Ottoman strengths and weaknesses.

H ammond, Travelers xiv–xv. M ary L ouise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (London and New York: Routledge, 1992) 7.  Norman Jones, ‘The Adaptation of Tradition: The Image of the Turk in Protestant England,’ East European Quarterly 12 no. 2 (1978): 161–75, especially 163 and 168.  Jones, ‘Adaptation,’ 166–7.  Matthew Dimmock, New Turkes: Dramatizing Islam and the Ottomans in Early Modern England (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2005) 3. 10 Dimmock, New Turkes 4. 11 For a different view of Knolles and the effect of his monumental work, see chapter 5 in Linda McJannet, The Sultan Speaks: Dialogue in English Plays and Histories about the Ottoman Turks (New York: Palgrave, 2006). 


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Humanist Ethnographies Richard Grafton’s The order of the greate Turckes courte (London, [1542]) is apparently the first work about the Ottomans to be translated into English.12 Although I have discussed it elsewhere in detail, I include it briefly here as an example of the Protestant militancy Jones describes.13 Grafton’s source text, Antoine Geuffroy’s L’État de la cour du gran Turc (Envers, [1542]), is calm in tone and relatively evenhanded.14 Drawing in part on firsthand experience,15 Geuffroy emphasizes the ‘state’ of the Ottoman system: its structure and inner workings, its grandeur, and its strengths and weaknesses. The list of military and court offices with their duties and stipends occupies 50 pages. Geuffroy’s account of the manners and religion of the Ottomans stresses what they have in common with Christians: they ‘worshyp one only God, whych made heven and erth, and sente them theyr lawe by the Prophete Mahumet’ (lii). They reverence Jesus and Mary and recite the ‘Pater noster ... translated into the Arabique tongue almoost worde for worde’ (lvii–lviii). Geuffroy does not always view the Ottomans with favor. The common people, he says, are ‘heavy, grosse, slouggish, recheles, and vyle ... , and commonly glottons’ ([lxvii]).16 While he claims that Suleyman the Magnificent ‘taketh no pleasure in any exercyse’ (lxxii), he acknowledges that the sultan is ‘reputed amonge them verteous, and a good keper of his lawe’ and that he loves ‘peace and reste, more than anye of his predecessoures have done’ (lxxiii). He concludes that the Ottomans’ ‘strengthe is permytted of God [who] for our synnes suffereth thys estate so farre swaruyng frome all good policie’ to flourish (lxxviii). Rather than issuing a strenuous call to armed resistance or religious reform, Geuffroy dispassionately assesses the strength of the O ttoman Empire, with a sideways glance at the complacency of Christendom. Grafton presents Geuffroy’s work in quite a different tone. The compiler of English chronicles and a prolific Protestant activist, Grafton printed the first English bible in 1537. He begins with an inflammatory preface excoriating the religion of the Ottomans: ‘Reade Mahumette’s actes whoso luste, and he shall fynde suche pryde and arrogancie, ... such bloudynesse and crueltie, such hypocrisye and supersticion, briefely such a mynde to deface, abholyshe and destroy the kyngdome of the sonne of the lyvyng God ... as in the chiefest member of Antichrist’ (sig. [*iiv]). He prays that God will ‘rayse up,’ as he did for the 12 Richard Grafton, trans., The order of the great Turk’s court, of his men of war and of all his conquests, with the sum of Mahumetes doctrine ... (London, 1542). References given parenthetically by page signature. 13 S ee The Sultan Speaks 35–9. 14 A ntoine Geuffroy, L’Estat de la court du gran Turc [The state of the Great Turk’s court] (Envers, 1542?). Extracts from this work will be cited parenthetically by page signature. 15 Geuffroy uses phrases such as ‘As much as I have seen and knowen’ ([lxvii], misnumbered ‘lix’) and ‘whyche ... I have seen them dooe often tymes’ (lxv). 16 Misnumbered ‘lix.’

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Israelites, not a Joshua to lead troops into battle, but ‘true preachers’ to instill ‘true faythe and repentaunce’ (sig. [*ivv]). Despite this fire-breathing preface, Grafton’s copious marginalia are mild and matter-of-fact. Geuffroy’s section on ‘The fayth or belefe of the Turckes’ (lii–lxxi) would seem to offer the highest potential for negative commentary, but most of Grafton’s marginalia simply identify the topic under discussion, such as ‘The foundatyon of the Turckes law’ (liii), or ‘Knoweth: the Turckes are circumcized’ (liv). Several highlight facts of which Grafton would have approved : The opinion and reverence that the Turckes have Jesus christe in. (lvi) The Turkes wil not suffer Christe to be blasphemed. (lvi) Howe the Turkes have the bookes of the Evangelystes. (lvii) The Turckes have noone ymages. (lvii) The Turckes saye the Pater noster as we dooe. (lviii)

Only a few comments seem sensational or judgmental. For example, the statement that Muslims believe women cannot enter Paradise but ‘shall tarry at the gate with the Christians which have well kept their law’ is glossed ‘The foolyshe opinyon of the Turckes’ [lv]. A later section on religion (which may have been added by Grafton himself) also moves between extremes: some Muslim beliefs are ‘madde’ and ‘woorthie to bee abhorred,’ while others are ‘so like Moses lawe and the evangelicall doctrine that you would iudge theim to have been derived ... of ... heavenly oracles’ ([cl]).17 Grafton’s translation is thus somewhat inconsistent; after a fiercely anti-Ottoman and anti-Muslim preface, he presents Geuffroy’s balanced description of the empire more or less unchanged. The availability of Geuffroy’s detailed account did not erase the appeal of earlier ‘armchair’ ethnographies, and the translators of these volumes did not necessarily exhibit Grafton’s militancy. Johannes Boemus’s popular Omnium Gentium Mores (1520) was translated in 1555 by William Watreman as The Fardel of Facions.18 Often Eurocentric and reliant on sources long out-of-date, 19 universal ethnographies assume that knowledge of cultural others may be had relatively painlessly at secondhand, but they are not necessarily hostile to eastern peoples. Boemus’s preface promises an objective and uncensored account, presenting ‘the lewde as well as the vertuous indifferentlie’ (sig. [A1v]). He is motivated, he asserts, by the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake: ‘Not for the hongre of gaine, or the 17 Misnumbered ‘cxlix.’ This section does not appear in the second, enlarged edition of Geuffroy’s work (1546); I have not been able to consult the first. 18 J ohannes Boemus, Omnium gentium mores, leges, et ritus ex multis clarissimis rerum scriptoribus (Augsburg, 1520); The Fardel of Facions conteinying the auncient maners, customes, and Lawes, of the peoples enhabiting the two partes of the earth called Affrike and Asie (London, 1555). Extracts from both works will be cited parenthetically by page signature. 19 Boemus defends his reliance on Herodotus and Diodorus and other writers ‘long agone’ by stressing that he has added material from ‘the treasury’ of his own wit (sig. B1r).


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ticklyng desire of the people’s vaine bru[i]te, and unskilfulle recommendacion: but partly moued by the oportunitie of my laisure and the wonderful profitte and pleasure that I conceiued in this kinde of studie’ (sig. [Aiv]). He laments that, as nations struggle ‘to spread and enlarge [their] own estate[s],’ they ‘so persecute and annoy ech one another that a man cannot safely travaill’ (sig. [Avii]). He seeks to remedy the scandal that ‘one people scant knoweth the name of another (and yet almost neighbours)’ (sig. [Avii]), and he invites the reader to ‘receive at [his] hande’ a knowledge of people and places and ‘with no lesse cherfulnes to embrace them, then if beyng ledde on my hand from countrey to countrey I should poynt the[e] at eye how every people liveth, and where they have dwelt, and at this daie doe’ (sig. [Aviiiv]). Boemus presents the Ottomans as among the ‘peoples most notable and famous’ (sig. [Aviiiv]). He offers an entirely positive portrait of the orderly and effective army of the empire. He admires the humility of Muslim ‘priests,’ the devotion of the faithful, and the sober, modest, gentle deportment of the populace. The Ottomans are well educated in ‘many schooles and large,’ and ‘they craue nothyng, but in all their woordes, gestures, behauiour, and diedes shewe themselves angells rather then menne’ (sig. [Qvi]). Boemus denounces the ‘errors’ of Islam and ‘Mahomet the counterfeict Prophett’ (sig. [Pivv]), but he praises Ottoman religious tolerance. The Ottomans ‘compelle no man to forsake his opinion or belief ne yet labour so to perswade any countrie to do,’ and as a result ‘peoples of all opinions and beleue’ practice their faiths in peace (sig. [Qv]–[Qvv]). Even more remarkable, Boemus meditates on the psychology of religious zeal. Although the devil has led some peoples to become ‘folowers and worshippers of Mahomet and his erroneous doctrine’ (sig. [Aviv]), all are motivated by a sincere desire to worship God rightly: ‘[E]very people (undoutedly with religious entente) endeavour themselves to the worshippe of God, ... [they] thinke themselves to treade the streighte path ... and contendeth that all other erre and be ledde farre awaie’ (sig. [Avi v]–[Avii]). Perhaps this sentiment held special appeal to Watreman and English readers in 1555, the first year (under Queen Mary) in which English Protestants were tried for heresy and burned at the stake if they did not recant. Like Boemus (and unlike Grafton), Watreman situates himself as an enlightened scholar without a political or religious axe to grind, and he transmits without marginal comment Boemus’s benign vision of Asia. Unfortunately Watreman is not listed in the new Oxford DNB, but his genial preface to the Earl of Arundel explains that after ‘longe seruice’ he was moved to ‘leaue wrastlyng with fortune, and to giue [himself] wholly to ... [his] studie and the labours of [his] hand’ (sig. *ii). For him as for Geuffroy, writing about cultural others was a respite and an indulgence, not a response to a political or religious threat. Like a cloth merchant hawking his wares, he entreats the Earl to ‘unfolde the Fardle and considre the stuffe,’ which he hopes will be found ‘pleasant and fruitful’ (sig. [*iiiv]). Though the founding of the Levant Company was still twenty-five years away, this metaphor suggests that in Watreman’s mind the Levant resonated with images of merchants and merchandize rather than infidel armies and heretics. He

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recommends Boemus’s work for its ‘pleasant varietie of thinges, and yet more profite in the pitthe,’ particularly with regard to ‘gouernaunce and Lawes, for th[‘]administracion of commune wealthes, in peace and in warre’ (sig. *iii). It is valuable as a study in comparative government and civic wisdom, not as a pretext for religious polemic. Boemus’s work apparently found a receptive hearing in England, and the contrast between Grafton’s’ preface and Watreman’s testifies to the variety of English attitudes toward the Ottomans in the mid-sixteenth century. The latest and most ‘scientific’ ethnography to be translated in the period under discussion was Giovanni Botero’s Relationi universali, originally published in four parts (Venice, 1591–1596). Botero has been described as an ‘anti-Machiavelli,’ a counter-Reformation theorist who sought to prove that ethics did have a place among ‘reasons of state.’ His Relationi was highly influential, appearing in 80 editions before 1700.20 Robert Johnson translated the first part of the work as The Travellers Breviat: or An historical description of the most famous kingdomes in the World (London, 1601). Johnson’s only addition to the work is a letter dedicatory to the Earl of Worcester. There is no preface to the reader, marginalia, or other apparatus, so his chief contribution was his decision to translate this ‘new’ ethnography, which he praises for its superiority to its predecessors, the ‘soundnes’ of its judgments, and the ‘truth’ of its descriptions.21 A ‘vast mine of information about the known world—physical, geographical, anthropological, economic, political and religious,’ Botero’s work stresses the importance of climate and geography, anticipating the modern field of geo-politics.22 In its reliance on statistics (estimated revenues, square miles of territory, miles of coastline, etc.), it contrasts markedly with Boemus’s old-fashioned descriptive sketches. Botero asserts that his book is made necessary by the discovery of the Americas, ‘a new and whole world’ ‘well inhabited and woonderfully replenished with people of sundry languages’ (1). Note that unlike later colonial writers, Botero does not view the New World as an uncivilized wasteland. Botero’s account of the Ottomans is noteworthy for two themes: his treatment of the Ottomans as at once European and Asian, and his attempt to assert the moral and physical superiority of European Christians in the face of Ottoman military success. The position of his chapter on ‘the Great Turk’ (39–54) is itself telling: it follows those on France, Spain, England, and the Netherlands and is followed by six more chapters on European states. Although Botero later locates the Ottomans in ‘Asia’ as was customary (3), he is more than happy to view them as ‘Europeans’ in order to bask in their reflected glory. In asserting ‘Europe’s’ dominance over Africa and Asia, Botero recalls the Greek and Roman Empires and notes that ‘at this day’ Europe continues its ‘great force by the power of the 20 R obert Bireley, The Counter-Reformation Prince: Anti-Machiavellianism or Catholic Statecraft in Early Modern Europe (Chapel Hill, NC: U of North Carolina P, 1990) 48. 21 R obert J ohnson, trans., The Travellers Breviat (London, 1601), sig. [A4v]. Future references will be given parenthetically by signature or page number. 22 Bireley, Counter-Reformation Prince 48.


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Turks and Moscouites’ as well as ‘by the navigations of the Spaniards and the Portugals’: ‘[S]o as it seemeth that nature hath created this people fit to rule and gouerne others, as men far surpassing all other nations in wisdome, courage, and industrie’ (2). So, along with the Russians, Spanish, and Portuguese, the Ottomans exemplify ‘European’ superiority. Botero’s chapter on the Great Turk exhibits a similar ambivalence. He describes the wealth of the empire with undisguised wonder. They rule ‘fower cities of inestimable wealth,’ a ‘province ... richer in corne’ than any other, large ‘populations,’ and their empire comprehends ‘the better part of the ancient threefold diuision of the earth’ and eight thousand miles of the Mediterranean coast (39). Botero criticizes their government as ‘meerely tyrannicall’ (40): the bashas and great officers are ‘Harpyes [who] sucke the verie blood of the people’ (42).23 But he also details the Ottomans’ wise military policies, not the least of which is that ‘their princes march in person in most of their actions (40).24 He is particularly interested in the Janissaries and other elite troops who were taken as children from conquered Christian lands and brought up in the sultan’s court. He marvels at their ‘obedience, good will, and incredible silence’ (46) but attributes many of their virtues to their European Christian origins. Indeed, he claims that the Janissary corps is lately diluted and weakened by the admission of ‘Turkes and Asians’ (47). Ultimately, however, he concludes that the Ottomans continue to be formidable opponents: They have three things wherewith they terrifie the whole world: multitudes of men, vnconquerable: military discipline, vncorrupted: corne and provisions, store infinite ... [E]ven in order [i.e., orderliness] have their great armies excelled our small; so that I must needs conclude, that they goe far beyond vs both in discipline and numbers; herein giving place[,] no not to the ancient Romanes; much lesse to any moderne nation how warlike soeuer. And this their due commendation consisteth not only in armes, but in thrift, patience, and hard diet ... . (48)

In the light of this summation of Ottoman strength, Botero’s previous assertion of the natural superiority of European Christians seems to be contradicted by evidence on the ground. As translator and emissary, Robert Johnson ensures that Botero’s frank assessment was available to English readers. Notably absent

23 In early modern political discourse, ‘tyranny’ was primarily a technical term for a governmental system like that of the Greek city states, in which absolute power was vested in one man. In context, however, Botero’s and Johnson’s usage connotes an ‘oppressive regime,’ which is closer to the modern meaning of the term. 24 Other reasons for their military success include that ‘in their iournies they ... vse admirable celerity’ and that they are careful ‘not to haue many irons at one time in the fire; nor long to manage warre with one nation, least by practice they become better warriors then themselves’ (40)—principles that still seem relevant today.

The Translator as Emissary


from the work is any reference to the help that Grafton and others expected from religious repentance or the interventions of divine providence. Travel Narratives: Captives and Diplomats At the opposite end of the spectrum from learned ethnographies, one might expect, are the works of former captives, such as Bartholomeuz Georgieviz. A nobleman of Croatian or Hungarian origin, Georgieviz was captured after the Battle of Mohács and spent thirteen years as a slave in Istanbul, Thrace, and Asia Minor. He published a long account of his captivity and of his travels in the Holy Land (Pellegrineggio della Terra Santa) and a briefer description of the religion and customs of the Ottomans, De Turcarum moribus Epitome, [Lyon], 1558. The latter work, perhaps surprisingly the more popular of the two,25 was translated by Hugh Goughe and published in London in 1569–1570.26 In his preface, Georgieviz summarizes his sufferings in captivity. He was, he says, ‘seuen times’ sold into slavery ‘under the turkish rustical whippe ... , in hungar and thirst, in colde and nakednes, lying a brode out of house, to kepe horses, ... to learne the arte of warrefare, and exercise tylling of ground’ (sig. [Avv]– [Avi]). After an attempted escape, he was ‘brought back againe unto my master, bound hand and foote, cast prostrat on the earthe, and grieuosly beaten with roddes’ (sig. [Avi]). Kenneth Setton describes Georgieviz ‘as a herald of Turkish cruelty,’27 but Georgieviz sees himself as an emissary to Christians, ‘as an undouted messanger ... that they may do worthy penance for ther errors and offences, lest thei com into that place of torments and affliction’ (sig. [Avii]). Thus, he implies that Ottoman cruelty is in some degree just punishment for Christians’ sins. He also issues an indirect call to arms: Christians should join in crusade and understand ‘in what hatred thei ought to be, whiche hinder from that moste holy and longe desired expedition [,] the christian sworde ... to be the revenger of our miseries ... to destroye and uterly subuert that kingedome of Sathan’ (sig. [Avii]–[Aviiv]). Despite Georgieviz’s preface, the immediate purpose of his treatise is practical. He wishes to share what he has learned about Ottoman social and military customs, ‘eyther by daily conversation [,] long use and experience, or suche as I had hearde [from] the learned and wiser sorte’ (sig. [Aviiv]). Since his findings were published in ‘sondry places and diuerse times by peece meale’ and in ‘diuers languages,’ he has ‘gathered the whole into this one bondell and ... reduced it vnto a more 25 It appeared in more than a dozen editions between 1553 and 1600. See Kenneth S etton, Western Hostility to Islam and Prophecies of Turkish Doom (Philadelphia, PA: American Philosophical Society, 1992) 32 n.5. 26 Bartholomeus Georgieuiz Epitome of the customes, Rytes, Ceremonies, and Religion of the Turkes is the second of the three texts included in Goughe’s work (references to Epitome… are given parenthetically by page signature). Goughe is not listed in the new Oxford DNB or its predecessor. 27 S etton, Western Hostility 29–30.

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compendious order’ (sig. [Aviii]). He aims to benefit both the general reader and future (voluntary) travelers in the Levant, such as merchants. Moreover, in the body of his account, even this former captive cannot help admiring aspects of Ottoman life and contrasting them favorably with those of Christian lands. He describes the sultans as ‘cruell tyrant[s]’ in summarizing their conquests (sig. [Biiv]–[Bv]), but he asserts that the Ottomans ‘kepe with such iustice and seueritie the discipline of war’ that they surpass the ancient Greeks and Romans and never experience division in their ranks (sig. [Bviv]). The Janissaries do ‘nothing at all differ from the most picked souldiers of Macedonia, by whose martiall prowess Alexander the great, vanquished the [East]’ (sig. [Bvv]). Georgieviz also admires the Ottomans’ ‘marueillous reuerence’ for the decrees of their Prophet and he explicitly compares their piety to Christians’ religious shortcomings; ‘[G]od they blaspheme note (which chanceth often among vs),’ and ‘it is counted a sysnne that the letters, wherewithe the name of God and the laws of Mahomet are writen, shoulde be trode under their feete.’ Thus, ‘in this respecte they can not verily but be preferred and estemed before vs’ (sig. [Diiijv]–[Dv]). Far from being unlearned, the Ottomans educate both boys and girls in ‘good letters’ and in astronomy, philosophy, and poetry (sig. Dv). Georgieviz describes with apparent sympathy the Ottomans’ ‘Ethnicke custome’ of leaving food on the grave of a loved one: ‘for they affirme that it is lyke acceptable unto God that almes shoulde be offred to the brute beastes having neede thereof, ... [since] it is geven for the loue of God’ (sig. [Eiiiv]). In another work, Georgieviz testifies that, during war time, ‘the Turks left their vices at home ... and excluded pleasures from the camp, but the Christians welcomed every luxury and fancy food’ and sometimes had more whores than soldiers in their ranks. 28 A lthough Georgieviz emphasizes the Ottomans’ cruelty to him and to conquered Christians generally, he is proud of his hard-won knowledge and presents the Ottomans as masters of a powerful, disciplined, sophisticated, and by no means uncivilized empire. Georgieviz’s work concludes with a brief language lesson. As Nabil Matar has noted, captives often enhanced the authority of their accounts by stressing their command of the relevant languages.29 Although innocent on the surface, there is an undercurrent of menace in the dialogue Georgieviz constructs. The ‘Turke’ invites the Christian to accompany him, but the Christian demurs: The Christian: The Turke: The Christian:

Ben gitmezom oraa. I will not goe that waye. Bre neden korkartson? Nitie gelmetson? Oh whom do you feare? why come you not? Benuniolum deghelder oraa. My iorneye is not that waye.

Quoted in Setton, Western Hostility 46. Nabil Matar, ‘Introduction’, Piracy Slavery, and Redemption: Barbary Captivity Narratives in Early Modern England, ed. Daniel J. Vitkus (New York: Columbia UP, 2001) 3–4. 28


The Translator as Emissary


The Turke: Vargeth tsagloga, eier ghelmeson. Depart with good [luck], if you will not come. The Christian: Gegsien hair altson. A prosperous nyght chaunce vnto you. The Turke: Aghbate hair oltson A nd vnto you a more happy night. Ben kurtoldom tsoch succor Allaha. I am deliuered, highe praise be vnto God. (sig. [Giiijv])

It is possible that a speech heading has dropped out of the text and that the last line including the reference to ‘Allaha’ translates the Christian’s prayer. However, as the text stands, while the Turk initially imputes fear to the Christian, in the end it is the Turk who feels delivered from danger. The explicit purpose of this dialogue, Georgieviz writes, is to demonstrate from the roughness of ‘these fewe wordes of the turkyshe language ... how grosse and barbarous [the Turks] be’ (sig. [Giiijv])—that is, to damn them from their own mouths. Georgieviz concludes this section with a prayer that equates linguistic and political hegemony: ‘The ever living God graunt, that they may haue more neede of our speche than we of thers’ (sig. [Giiijv]–[Gv]). His language lesson, however, implies that the reverse may be the case. Georgieviz’s work appeared as part of Hugh Goughe’s Ofspring of the house of Ottomanno (1569–1570). Goughe’s preface, like Georgeiviz’s, emphasizes religion. He translates the work ‘into our vulgar speche,’ he explains, so that those ‘vnacquainted with the latine toungue may learne[,] reade and see the summe of [the Turks’] belefe, the vnstable, weake and folish foundations of their faint religion’ (sig. [Aiiijv]). Further, he hopes ‘to reveale and make manifeste vnto my countrey men the nature, disposition, customes, rites, and faithe of those circumcised Infidells, with the horrible rackinge, painefull tormenting, and vnnatural abusing of ... innocent Christians’ (sig. Aiiij–[Aiiijv]). Goughe’s language is as emotional and pejorative as Grafton’s, but the sufferings he has in mind include such mercenary issues as ‘the heavye youke of [the Ottomans’] vnmeasurable taxes, tributes’ (sig. [Aiiijv]). He dedicates his work to Sir Thomas Gresham, the builder of the Royal Exchange, and he favorably compares Gresham’s project with the wonders of the ancient east. Whereas the ‘huge towre of Babilon, or outragious buildings in Egipt named Pyramides’ and ‘the intricate Laberinths, and monstruous pillers erected in diuers parts of the world ... were ... built for a vain ostentation or frivolous memorial without any profitable use,’ the Exchange is designed to benefit the common weal (sig. [Aiiiv]). U ltimately, Goughe seems more interested in good husbandry and trade than in a crusade. While he resents the Ottomans’ taxes and tributes, he welcomes England’s desire to rival and reform the splendor of the ancients. By emphasizing the Royal Exchange, he seconds the implication that Georgieviz’s hard-won knowledge of the Ottomans will be useful to voluntary (commercial) travelers. In asserting the superiority of Christianity over ‘the folish foundations’ of Islam, Gough may wish to reassure those who feared the evil effects of luxury goods and of contact with easterners.


Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture/McJannet

Like Georgieviz, Nicolas de Nicolay saw Ottoman lands with his own eyes. His account of his travels with the French ambassador to Constantinople in 1551 was published in Paris (1568) and translated by Thomas Washington as The Nauigations, peregrinations and voyages made into Turkie (1585). The work is known for its 60 illustrations depicting the dress, physiognomy, and customs of Mediterranean peoples from all walks and stations of life. The first part records the adventures of the ambassador’s party as they journeyed to Constantinople, which included witnessing the siege of Tripoli by Sinan Basha, one of Suleyman’s admirals. The last three parts describe the peoples and places Nicolay observed. He devotes many chapters to the Ottomans, and the editors of a modern French edition view his work as an attempt to ‘justify the alliance of France with the Infidels.’30 Nicolay’s preface is remarkable for its humanistic ideals. His theme is not the differences between countries, tribes, or religious groups, but those between men and animals: whereas beasts, fish, and fowl are each confined to their own element, man is the ‘only creature for whom the whole earth is made’; man’s destiny is to be a citizen ‘of a great universal city,’ ‘a citizen of the world.’31 Nicolay endorses travel as essential for any noble spirit, and he stresses the need to learn others’ languages, for only ‘through the intercourse of tongues and spoken words’ can the ‘diverse nations of the world win each other over and become familiar with one another.’32 He sees his goal in universal, not Eurocentric, terms. Nations must learn that the earth is ‘common property,’ and each man of whatever country, tongue, or nation ... in throwing off the arrogant presumption appropriated from the Greeks and Romans, to regard another man or nation as more barbarous than oneself or one’s own, [must] rather value them as did the aged Terence, who said, ‘As I am a man, nothing human is alien to me.’33

Nicolay doesn’t always live up to his own ideals. He sometimes brands the North Africans with whom his party came into conflict as ‘barbarous,’34 and Islam is always depicted as a ‘damnable superstition,’ but Nicolay like Boemus is motivated by the desire for knowledge and experience, and, at least in principle, he recognizes that no one nation has a monopoly on virtue, vice, or civilized behavior. 30 Nicolas de Nicolay, Dans l’Empire de Soliman le Magnifique, ed. Marie-Christine Gomez-Geraud and Stéphane Yerasimos (Paris: Presses du CNRS, 1989), back-cover text. France sought to strengthen its hand against the Spanish, Genovese, and Neapolitan fleets and perhaps even to reconquer Italy ‘sur les pas des janissaires’ (‘in the footsteps’ or ‘on the heels’ of the Janissaries, 13). All translations from the French edition are my own. 31 Gomez-Geraud, Dans l’Empire 43–4. 32 Gomez-Geraud, Dans l’Empire 45–6. 33 Gomez-Geraud, Dans l’Empire 46. 34 See fol. [6v] and [15v], for example (cf. Gomez-Geraud, Dans l’Empire, 63 and 74); he also prefaces the ethno-geographical term ‘Barbaries’ (people of the Barbary coast) with the epithet ‘brute’ (fol. 7; cf. Gomez-Geraud 64).

The Translator as Emissary


Little is known of Thomas Washington. His English edition replaces Nicolay’s preface with John Stell’s letter to Sir Henry and Sir Philip Sidney.35 Stell’s remarks are briefer than Nicolay’s, but his themes are much the same. He cites exemplary travelers, such as Jacob, the Queen of Sheba (sig. ¶3), and Odysseus (sig. [¶3v]). In the spirit of the Renaissance, he asserts that ‘the perfect prayse of wisedome and learning, is not to be sought for in bookes, but to be gotten by verie vse and practise’ (sig. ¶2). Like Nicolay, he stresses the importance of learning languages. He highlights Mithridates’s mastery of ‘two and twenty sundry languages’ (sig. [¶3v]) and asserts that ‘the greatest commendation and praise of a traueller is, not onelye to talke by knowledge roundly of such famous Cities, Countries, [and] people, ... but also to speake their language redily, to learne their manners desirously, [and] to know their religion perfectly ... ’ (sig. [¶3v]). ‘Perfect’ knowledge of others is an impossible (and presumptuous) goal, but Stell like Nicolay endorses the model of the sojourner-student, not the tourist insulated from the cultures though which he or she passes. Although the knowledge gained was later put to imperialist uses, such uses are neither encouraged nor recommended by Stell. Indeed, the subordinate position of the travelers in Nicolay’s work is everywhere apparent. At each port, they depend on the civility of the Ottoman officials, and they are generally treated well. In Bone (Hippo), Nicolay reports that the Cadi (or judge) was a ‘renyed [converted] Christian, and notwithstanding shewed himself very curteous and liberal towards vs’ (fol. [13v]). The qualifier ‘notwithstanding’ conveys Nicolay’s negative expectations of a renegade Christian, but he admits that his fears were unfounded. His taste buds were open to new experiences; he commends the Cadi’s platters of meat ‘with certain sawces of verie good taste and sauour’ (fol. [13v]). He complains that the ambassador was forced to ‘buy’ the Christian slaves who sought refuge in their ship, but he doesn’t deny that the owners deserved compensation for the loss of their ‘property.’36 Even more awkward, though the ambassador tries to intercede for the Knights of Malta in Tripoli, he is forced to witness their capitulation and the execution of one Christian artilleryman (fol. [27v]).37 When Nicolay is taken for an ‘Engener’ (artillery specialist) by a Ottoman captain and invited to view their positions, he handles a tricky situation adroitly: ‘I made him a short ... answer, and clean contrary to that whiche by the reason of warres and experience I did know, which hee well perceiued, and smiling, tolde mee that he saw well that I dissembled’ (fol. [22v]). 35 The Nauigations, peregrinations and voyages, made into Turkie by Nicholas Nicholay Daulphinois ... Translated out of the French by T. Washington (London, 1585), sig. ¶2-[¶4]. Future references to this text will be given parenthetically by page signature or folio number. 36 Nicolay acknowledges that his own ship was powered by galley slaves, who, when they succumb to ‘a feuer moste pestilent,’ are unceremoniously ‘cast into the sea to feede fishes’ (fol. 28). 37 Nicolay also reports that 200 Moors who had served the Christians were ‘cut to pieces’ on Sinan’s orders (fol. 25).


Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture/McJannet

Though westerners often accused the Ottomans of cunning, they were not averse to using it themselves, but the exchange above suggests a good humored standoff rather than mutual recrimination. The dramatic events of the journey behind him, Nicolay’s description of Constantinople emphasizes its splendor, its amenities for travelers, its social services, and the work ethic of its people. He rehearses the alleged cruelty of Mehmed the Conqueror in 1453 (fol. [48v]), but he acknowledges that the city is now a bustling metropolis, full of well endowed mosques, schools, and hospitals (fol. 49), as well as beautiful palaces and gardens (fol. [51v]). He marvels particularly at the inns designed ‘to receive all pylgryms and straungers of what nation or religion soeuer they be, where they may refresh and rest themselues, their seruauntes and horses ... for three daies and there be lodged [and] meated ... without paying of any pennie’ (fol. [57v]). Regarding public housing, where the poor may live for one asper a day, he reports that ‘they esteeme that kind of life so unhappie’ that the buildings are often half-empty (fol. [57v]). Contrary to the situation in ‘Christian Countries, especially in France, Spain, and Italie,’ there are no ‘companies of vagabonnds’ begging and feigning diseases; impostors are punished, but the truly sick are ‘gently intreated, lacking nothing that may serue for their ease’ (fol. [57v]–58). His drawings also convey the impression of an orderly and civilized society. Although cooks, slaves, and rural peasants also appear, he chiefly depicts men in elegant clothes: doctors and merchants; judges and army officials. Save for one bare-breasted Algerian slave (fol. 11) and one unveiled ‘fille de joie’ (fol. 144), women are shown with their maids and children, in modest athome clothes or veiled for public outings. Collectively, the drawings convey the impression of a prosperous society full of imposing figures, each fulfilling his or her trade, profession, or familial role. When Nicolay describes Ottoman religious customs, his comments are mixed. He describes the baths at length, explaining the religious requirement of cleanliness and the Ottomans’ delight in massage and anointing, but at the end he alleges that Muslims generally (‘these brutish Barbarians’) mistakenly esteem ‘the outward washing, and not that which inwardly toucheth the soul’ (fol. 59). He presents two forms of extreme religious devotion as grotesque and bizarre,38 but he confesses that, if the itinerant ‘Geomalers’ who profess the ‘religion of loue’ existed in France, ‘the most part of our youth would sooner giue themselues to the avowing and profession of such a religion than to ... chastity and obseruance’ (fol. 100). Thus, overall, Nicolay finds much to admire in Ottoman society and admits that some of its alleged excesses could or do exist in his home culture. The ‘Turkish Letters’ of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, imperial ambassador to the Porte (1554–1562) are unrivalled in their highly secular analysis of Ottoman society. Written to his friend and fellow diplomat Nicholas Michault, the first letter (Itineraria Constantinopolitanum et Amasianum, 1555) was printed in 1581, and 38 The ‘Calenders’ and Dervishes are depicted as mutilating their bodies in ‘beastly’ ways (fol. 101v–103).

The Translator as Emissary


all four were published in Latin (Paris, 1589).39 T hey appeared in many editions on the Continent (notably the Elzevir edition of 1633), and they enjoy renewed popularity in this century: the standard modern translation of Edward Seymour Forster (1927) has been reissued twice since 2000.40 A lthough the L atin editions were known in England (Busbecq is cited by Knolles and other English historians as an authoritative source),41 the letters were not translated into English until 1694. Thus, they allow us to compare the attitudes of the late sixteenth-century translators discussed above with a translator working a century later. Although, as noted earlier, Matthew Dimmock and others have argued that by the end of the seventeenth century, English attitudes toward the Ottomans became more stereotypical and proto-Orientalist, this late emissary is favorably disposed to the Ottomans. A comparison of his translation with the Latin original shows that he consistently reinforces passages that assert the superiority of Ottoman over European practices and values. The anonymous translator died before the work was published, so the preface is supplied by the playwright Nahum Tate, who dedicates the work to Powlett St. John, Earl of Bolingbrooke. Tate praises Busbecq’s ‘ingenious and most useful Piece’ (sig. A2) and asserts that Busbecq’s ‘Observation, Experience, and Judgment’ match the Earl’s ‘sensible and just manner of Thinking.’42 If so, the Earl must have been a remarkably open-minded man. Busbecq viewed his correspondence as ‘familiar Conferences amongst Friends’: ‘[I]f I were to write ... to be seen of all Men, Circumspection and care must be used, but not when I write to you and a few priv[at]e Friends’ (264). He makes clear that he did not wish his most candid reflections to be made public. Toward the end of his first letter, written in 1555–1556,43 he comments on differences between the Ottoman and European systems of ‘Preferments.’ In the sultan’s court, each man is ‘the Carver out of his own Fortune’ (93):


Despite the spontaneous and intimate tone of all four letters, some scholars have concluded that the last two were written months or years after Busbecq’s return to Vienna and thus constitute a memoir rather than a travel narrative. See Kersten Horn’s review of Roider’s edition, H-Net Book Review, [email protected] (April 2007). 40 S ee The Turkish Letters of Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq with a forward by Philip Mansel (London: Sickle Moon Books, 2001), and The Turkish Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, Imperial Ambassador to Constantinople, 1554–1562 with a foreword by Karl A. Roider (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State UP, 2005). Both reprint the translation of Edward Seymour Forster, The Turkish Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq (1927; Rpt. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1968). 41 McJannet, The Sultan Speaks 121. 42 Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, The Four Epistles of A.G. Busbequius Concerning his Embassy into Turkey ... Being Remarks upon the Religion, Customs, Riches, Strength, and Government of that People (London, 1694), sig. [A2v]–[A3]. Future references to this edition will be given parenthetically by page signature or number. 43 See Horn’s discussion of the dates of the first two letters in her H-Net review.

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[Court] Offices are distributed at the meer Will and Pleasure of the Prince, who do’s not regard the empty Name of Nobility, nor ... the Favour of the Multitude, ... but considering only the Merits and Disposition of the Man, he rewards him accordingly ... . ... Thus, in that Nation, Dignities, Honours, Offices, etc., are the Rewards of Vertue and Merit; as on the other side, Improbity, Sloth, Idleness, are among them the despicablest things in the whole World ... . But we, Christians, to our shame be it spoken, live at another manner of rate; Virtue is little esteemed among us, but Nobleness of Birth (forsooth) carries away all the Honour and Preferment. But enough of this at present, more may be spoken on this Argument hereafter; and what I have now spoken about it, pray keep to your self, for other Men may not be able to bear my Freedom herein. (94–5)

Busbecq’s interest in the criterion of noble birth was personal. The natural son of an aristocrat, he was legitimized by Charles V only in 1549 at the age of 27.44 Nonetheless, the ‘Freedom’ of his critique suggests that private reflections and public utterances about the Ottomans did not necessarily coincide.45 Strikingly, however, the translator of 1694 reinforces the very elements that Busbecq considered controversial. The parenthetical interjections (‘to our shame be it spoken’ and ‘forsooth’) have no parallel in the Latin.46 His translation of ‘fumun nobilitas’ (literally ‘fumes’ or ‘vapors of nobility’) takes appropriate poetic license: Foster translates it as ‘the empty claims of rank,’47 but the use of alliteration (‘the empty Name of Nobility’) adds emotional force. Moreover, the last clause (‘for other Men may not be able to bear my Freedom herein’) is the translator’s addition, elaborating why Busbecq wanted his views to be kept private.48 H e thus draws attention to the controversial nature of Busbecq’s comparison, even while he underscores its truth. Like Georgieviz and Botero, Busbecq contrasts the hardiness and discipline of the Ottoman forces with the laxity of the Christian armies. He notes the ‘Patience, Sobriety, and Parsimony’ with which Ottoman soldiers endure hardships; by contrast, Christian soldiers ‘scorn homely Fare in their Camps; they must have dainty bits, forsooth,’ and if ‘they have not These, they are ready to mutiny, as See Karl A. Roider’s ‘Foreword’ in the 2005 ed. viii. According to Roider, Busbecq later changed his mind about publication, but he let this passage stand (‘Foreword,’ x). Perhaps by the 1580s his views seemed less shocking or, having retired from public life, he was less concerned with their reception. 46 Compare Augerii Gislenii Busbecquii D. legationis turcicae epistolae ... [Paris, 1589], fol. [39v]–40. Since I do not know which edition the translator may have used, I have crosschecked these passages from the first edition of 1589 with the Elsevir edition of 1633; there are typographical and spelling changes but no substantive differences. 47 Forster, Turkish Letters 60. 48 The Latin reads: ‘[S]ed de his rebus aliâs fortasse plura:& haec ipsa soli tibi dicta existimato’ (‘Perhaps I shall have more to say on these matters elsewhere, and you must regard these comments as for you only’ (fol. 40). Cp. Forster, Turkish Letters 60. 44 45

The Translator as Emissary


if they were famished’ (170–71). Moreover, in contrast to the Ottomans, the Christians’ ‘Intemperance ... kills them if the Enemy spare their Lives’ (171). As a result, he writes, the Ottomans have the advantage: [O]n their side there is a mighty, strong and wealthy Empire, great Armies, experience in War, a veterane Soldiery, a long series of victories, Patience in Toil, Concord, Order, Discipline, Frugality, and Vigilance. On our side, there is publick Want, private Luxury, Strength weakned, Minds discouraged, an unaccustomedness to Labour or Arms, Soldiers refractory, Commanders covetous, a Contempt of Discipline; Licentiousness, Rashness, Drunkenness, Gluttony; and that which is worst of all, they use to conquer and we to be conquered. Can any Man doubt ... what the Event will be? (171, original emphasis)

As in the previous passage, the translator heightens Busbecq’s already pointed contrasts. In the discussion of army rations, he punctuates the discussion of ‘dainty bits’ with an interjection (‘forsooth’) and adds the phrase ‘as if they were famished,’ neither of which appears in the Latin.49 He italicizes the contrasting pronouns (‘their,’ ‘our’), and he transforms Busbecq’s understated, indefinite chiasmus ‘supereare alteros, alteros interire necesse est’ (‘one [army] must overcome, and the other be destroyed’) into a definite, italicized prediction: ‘their soldiers needs must conquer, and ours must needs be vanquished’ (171, original emphasis).50 T o the alliteration already suggested by the Latin (‘publica egestas, privatus luxus,’ ‘publick Want, private Luxury’) he adds his own (‘Commanders covetous’). Busbecq also compares Ottoman and European dress, to the advantage of the former. He describes the Ottoman court as ‘the most glorious’ he had ever seen, but ‘in all this Splendor there was a great deal of Simplicity and Parsimony too’: ‘there were no foolish Hems, Lacings, Fringes or Borders, as among us, which cost a great deal of Mony, and yet wear out in a day or two’ (95–6). He finds the Ottoman clothing ‘more graceful’ than western dress. It ‘makes them seem taller,’ whereas European dress ‘(forsooth) is so curtail’d and short that it hardly covers the Parts which Nature would have to be concealed’ and makes one look ‘Dwarflike’ (96). Here again, the translator’s italics and parenthetical intensifiers have no parallel in the Latin. In addition, the translation of ‘brevitatem’ (‘shortness’) as ‘Dwarf-like’ adds both hyperbole and typographic emphasis to Busbecq’s more matter-of-fact comparison.51 Busbecq also praises the Ottomans’ attitude toward private quarrels. When two soldiers quarreled, he approvingly quotes the outrage of their commander: ‘How durst thou challenge thy Fellow Soldier to a Duel? What, was there never Cp. Turcicae epistolae, fol. [70v]–71, and Forster, Turkish Letters 61. Cp. Turcicae epistolae, fol. 72, and Forster, Turkish Letters 112. 51 The Latin reads:‘[V]estis contrà noster ... demere aliquid de statura & brevitatem addere videtur’ (‘Our clothing by contrast ... takes away from one’s stature and makes one appear shorter’) fol. [40v]). Cp. Forster, Turkish Letters 61, where ‘brevitatem’ is rendered as ‘stunted.’ 49


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a Christian to fight with?’ (197). To make his point, Busbecq can identify with and effectively express the Ottoman viewpoint that Christians were the enemy. He then contrasts Ottoman disapproval with the glamour of dueling in Europe. Whereas the sultan’s soldier was imprisoned for months and suffered the ‘loss of his Reputation,’ ‘tis quite otherwise with us Christians; ours do many Times draw their Swords against one another, before ever they come in sight of a publick Enemy (the more’s the Pity!) and count it (forsooth) a brave and honorable Thing. What shall a Man do in such a case? When Vice Usurps the Seat of Vertue, and that which is worthy of punishment is counted Noble and Glorious? (198)

As elsewhere, the parenthetical exclamations are the translator’s.52 Busbecq formed a deep attachment for one of his counterparts, Ali Pasha, ‘a Dalmatian by Birth, ... a man of a good Wit’ (98), a ‘Prudent and Courteous Person as any was amongst the Turks’ (281). He enjoyed many private afternoon talks with Ali, but he also found them taxing; he went to them ‘Fasting,’ the better ‘to deal with so acute a Man’ (293). He summarizes one conversation in which Ali, using first person plural pronouns, describes their common mission, but in the last sentence Busbecq, though favorably disposed to his interlocutor, reverts to first and third person singular: In our Conferences he pressed this as a Principal Point: That each of us would propound that which we thought most conducive to the Service of our Masters ... His Master desired Repose in his Old Age, which was seated with Success and Victory; and he thought my Master also desired Peace and Quietness ... [T]herefore, [said he] we must lay nothing before them but what is profitable to their Affairs. For as good Cooks temper their Sauces, not to this or that Man’s Palate, for the Gust of all the Guests, so we, in Proposition of Peace, must weigh Circumstances on either side. This and much more did he friendly communicate to me; yea, at all times he shewed himself Courteous ... . (293)

In the last two sentences, the translator reads two double negatives as simpler positive statements. ‘Hæc atque huius generis plura non nimis insulse congerebat’ (‘this and many other things he by no means unskillfully [or foolishly] emphasized’) is rendered ‘he did friendly communicate’; and ‘Vbicumque verò res patiebatur, non alienam à me voluntatem præ se ferebat’ (‘Indeed, whenever circumstances permitted, he displayed a not unfriendly will towards me’) becomes ‘yea, at all times he shewed himself Courteous.’53 Forster’s version of the last sentence (‘He showed great skill in pressing these and similar doctrines upon me’) seems closer to Busbecq’s meaning.54 Ever the realist, Busbecq emphasized his counterpart’s intelligence and diplomatic skill as well as the affection that had developed Cp. Turcicae epistolae, fol. ­[83v], and Forster, Turkish Letters 125. Cp. Turcicae epistolae, fol. [131v]. 54 Forster, Turkish Letters 194. 52


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between them, but the translator omits the reminder of the adversarial aspects of their relationship. The effect of the translation is to enhance both Busbecq’s stature (as the recipient of Ali’s ‘Courtesy’) and the civilized behavior (‘humanitas’) with which Ali Pasha treated him.55 Even Busbecq cannot entirely free himself from European prejudice, however. For all his admiration of Ali, in both the first and last of his letters, Busbecq refers to him, albeit slightly, as an ‘exception to the rule’ among the Ottomans. He was, ‘which is strange in Turky, very courteous to Strangers’ (98), and he was ‘the only really Courteous Man I found in that Barbarous Country’ (289). Still, the many references to their friendship suggest that they had much in common and that mutual respect and genuine understanding across the cultural and political divide were not impossibilities. In the matter of religion, Busbecq is a steadfast Christian, but he is not dismissive of Islam. He resists the ‘great Honour and large Reward’ conversion would bring (187), but he explains at length why most Ottomans (like most Christians of the day) considered the offer of conversion a duty and ‘the greatest Charity’: they hoped to save a soul otherwise destined for everlasting destruction (187). Busbecq quotes a conversation with the Grand Vizier Rustan, who opined that ‘they who live holy and modest L ives in this present World shall obtain eternal L ife in the next, be they of what Religion they will’ (187). To many modern readers, Rustan’s religious views (like those of Boemus quoted earlier) seem enlightened. Busbecq, however, rejects them and asserts that Rustan was in this regard a heretic, even by M uslim standards. Overall, Busbecq’s letters are among the more thoughtful, realistic, and openminded of early European accounts of the Ottomans. He was in many ways their most astute and even-handed emissary to the West. Roider rightly refers to Busbecq’s ‘underlying respect for Ottoman politics and culture’ and his conviction that western Europe had much to learn from them.56 Further, Busbecq’s candor suggests that a gap might exist between private communications (which his letters— at least the first two—initially were) and published views of the Ottomans. This does not alter the tenor of published discourse, but it leaves open the possibility that educated Europeans might have had more complicated reactions to that discourse than is generally assumed. In addition, the contributions of Busbecq’s anonymous translator in 1694 continue the secularizing and admiring trends we have noted among the English translators. Although he did not live to provide a preface, his textual interventions consistently reinforce the most candid and least stereotypical of Busbecq’s observations. Conclusion Sixteenth-century ethnographies and travelers’ accounts about the Ottomans are diverse. Official delegates to the Porte, an escaped Christian slave, and humanist 55 56

Busbecq uses this word on fol. 131r. Roider, ‘Foreword,’ viii.


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scholars wrote from different motives. A wellborn captive, such as Georgieviz, highlighted his cruel treatment, but he also took pride in and could see the utility of his painfully earned knowledge of the Ottomans. Official delegates, such as Busbecq and Nicolay, viewed both the Ottoman world and their own reasonably dispassionately, noting the strengths, weaknesses, and hypocrisies of each. The pain and humiliations of servitude loom large for a captive like Georgieviz, but for an Englishman safe at home with a book in his hand the Ottoman world might be encountered imaginatively without risk. Under these conditions, the power and splendor of that world, and some of its virtues (order, piety, sobriety, compassion for the poor and infirm), could be admired from afar, though its ‘erroneous’ religion marked its followers for damnation. Indeed, the scholars and travelers, even involuntary ones like Georgieviz, found some aspects of Ottoman culture to be superior to their own. Although initially preoccupied with religious difference, the English translators of these works increasingly exhibit secular curiosity rather than religious hostility, and the late example of Busbecq’s translator suggests that for some the pendulum eventually swung from an attack on the other to a critique of the self.

Chapter 8

The Queen of Onor and her Emissaries: Fernão Mendes Pinto’s Dialogue with India Hannah Chapelle Wojciehowski

L anguage is not a neutral medium that passes freely and easily into the private property of the speaker’s intentions; it is populated—overpopulated—with the intentions of others. —Mikhail Bakhtin, Discourse in the Novel One faces a text as one might face a person having to confront the claims raised by that very immediacy, an immediacy of contact, not of meaning. —Adam Zachary Newton, Narrative Ethics

Some say that truth is stranger than fiction. The claim hinges not only on the ability to recognize the strange wherever one encounters it, but also, more significantly, to be able to tell the difference between truth and fiction, reality and make-believe, what is or was and what is not or might have been. H istorians, as a rule, are more invested in the latter distinction; novelists and storytellers, the former. And then there are those who refuse both, individuals who call into question the very category of the strange or foreign, while simultaneously confusing, muddling, or otherwise blending fact and fiction, thereby refusing to tell the difference. By what name should such contrarians be labeled? The historytellers, perhaps, in whose company the sixteenth-century extravagant Fernão Mendes Pinto must certainly be numbered. Traveler, sailor, slave, pirate, doctor, emissary—man of rags, man of riches, man of the cloth, family man, man on the moving stage of world history (to name but a few of his signature roles)—Pinto was a man of his times, only more so. Concerning Pinto’s life, we know little, though we may be reasonably sure of the following details: he was born in a Portuguese village ca.1510 to impoverished parents. Some of his ancestors may have been Portuguese New Christians—persons forced to convert from Judaism to Catholicism. At the age of 10 or 12, Pinto was sent off to Lisbon to serve a wealthy family, until he ran away a year and a half later. Pinto sailed to Asia in 1537, where he spent over two decades, traveling widely and, in due time, achieving material success. While on a voyage to Japan, Pinto befriended the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier, who, with Pinto’s funding, would establish the first Catholic church in that land. Pinto would himself join the Jesuit Order in 1554, yet left for reasons unspecified a few years later. After his return


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to Portugal in 1558, he married Maria Correia de Brito, raised two daughters, and sometime between the years 1569 and 1578 penned the remarkable book known as the Peregrinação, or Travels, purportedly chronicling his experiences in Asia. Pinto’s narrative has often been described as novelistic, even picaresque—a type of satire featuring a roguish yet vulnerable protagonist. Pinto—or, more precisely, the character called Pinto—voyages from Portugal around the African Cape to the M iddle East, India, S umatra, J ava, Pegu, China, and Japan—some but not all of the places he claims to have visited during his more than two decades in Asia. Interestingly, Pinto describes being shipwrecked, captured, and / or sold into slavery some 16 or 17 times (xxxvii). With each new chapter of the book, Pinto’s fortunes go up or down; he is the victim or beneficiary of numerous unlikely reversals. Yet often he is not even the central character of the stories that he tells, but a bystander, witness, or narrator of other stories and encounters. Pinto’s claims to have been present at certain events—world-historical or mundane—often seem highly improbable, though he may have embroidered the first-hand accounts of others. While seemingly an autobiography, the Peregrinação chronicles many encounters and situations that seem fabricated, distorted, or otherwise suspect—a fact that may have had something to do with its peculiar publication history. At the time of Pinto’s death in 1583, the manuscript of the Peregrinação was transferred to the Casa Pia das Penitentes, a ‘charitable house for wayward women,’ as noted by Pinto’s modern English translator, Rebecca Catz. This seemingly odd bequest had been stipulated in Pinto’s last will and testament (xxiv). For over three decades, literati and historians would consult the unpublished manuscript, seeking information regarding the Portuguese colonial expansion into Asia and the early

 I am grateful to Eric Chapelle, Jeffrey Kahan, Sidney Monas, and especially Adam Newton for their superb narratological advice, Cynthia Talbot for bibliographic guidance, and to the editors of this collection, Brinda Charry and Gitanjali Shahani, for their invaluable suggestions about this essay. I nformation on the life of Mendes Pinto and the publication history of his book has been drawn from the Introduction of Rebecca D. Catz’s exceptional English translation of the Peregrinação, The Travels of Mendes Pinto (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1989) xv–xliv. All English citations have been drawn from this edition and will be indicated parenthetically. R egarding Pinto’s origins, Catz notes that Pinto may have been a distant relation of influential Portuguese New Christians based in Lisbon and Antwerp—the Mendes family— who had been awarded the monopoly over the spice trade by the Portuguese crown. Travels xxxvii. This family would later be persecuted by the Inquisition. S ee also Leila Rodrigues da Silva’s essay on Pinto in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 287: Portuguese Writers, Monica Rector and Fred M. Clark eds. (Detroit: Gale, 2004): 215–19.  See, e.g., António José Saraiva, Fernão Mendes Pinto ou a sátira picaresca da ideological senhorial (Lisbon: Jornal do Fôro, 1958), and Rebecca Catz, A sátira social de Fernão Mendes Pinto, trans. M anolo B.R . S antos (Lisbon: Prelo Editora, 1972).  Pegu was the nation that ultimately became Burma (Myanmar).

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history of the J esuit O rder. The Inquisition approved the publication of the work in 1603, granting its ‘Nihil Obstat,’ though for reasons that are difficult to explain, the text did not appear in print until 1614. T he Peregrinação would ultimately become a bestseller throughout Europe. First published in Portuguese, the work was translated into Spanish in 1620 and published in two variant editions. This translation would be reprinted five more times during the seventeenth century before the appearance of a second Portuguese edition in 1678. In addition, there were three French editions, two Dutch, two German, and three English, all issued during the course of that same century. The popularity of Pinto’s book was also furthered by the appearance of an excerpted version in the 1625 English anthology of travel writings, Purchas His Pilgrimes. Pinto’s ambiguous point of view, his irony, and his humor—not to mention the highly sensational stories that he tells of pirates and queens, saints and hypocrites, armed combat on land and sea, treachery, deception and / or diplomacy, absurd cultural misunderstandings or breakthroughs—helped the sales of his book to multiple European audiences. Questions of historical accuracy, as well as authorial tone and point-of-view, continue to vex the world of Pinto scholarship, as they have from the beginning. O f these barricades mystèrieuses in Pinto’s work—and in his world—I shall have occasion to speak more below. Yet, as Leila Rodrigues da Silva has observed, ‘the historical and literary value of the Peregrinação does not rest on an exact measurement of the truth of Pinto’s narrative.’ Though partly fantasized, Pinto’s Collis and Catz note that in the years after Pinto’s death, a steady stream of Jesuits made their way to the Casa Pia in order to consult the manuscript, which contained a great deal of information about the early history of the Order. These included Giampietro Maffei, João de Lucena, Fernão Guerreiro, and Horatio Tursellini. Collis 295–6; Travels xxiv.  Collis suggested that Pinto’s manuscript required a great deal of revision, editing, and correcting, and that it would have been difficult to find a publisher for such a work. The Grand Peregrination 296–7. S imilarly Catz has argued that Pinto withheld the book from publication during his lifetime because of its ambiguous and satirical tone, which posed a danger not only to Pinto but also to his descendents. She conjectures that it was safer for Pinto to allow a religious organization to take responsibility for the publication of his work rather than to undertake such a project himself. While seemingly orthodox in its outlook, and ‘superficially overlaid with the same hypocrisy he ultimately sought to expose,’ Pinto’s book can also be read as a savage critique of the Portuguese empire in Asia. Travels xxv–xxvi. I n striking contrast to Catz, Leila Rodrigues da Silva reads the Peregrinação as a condemnation not of the Portuguese, but of the cultures of Muslims, Hindus, and other nonChristians. She writes: ‘The unconditional nature of Pinto’s faith—a position fundamental to the maintenance of orthodoxy in times of the Inquisition—is obvious throughout his work.’ Dictionary of Literary Biography: Portuguese Writers 218. This view is shared by others, including Thomas R. Hart, who views the work as an account of a spiritual pilgrimage. See ‘Style and Substance in the Peregrination,’ Portuguese Studies 2 (1986): 49–55, 49.  Travels xxvii.  Dictionary of Literary Biography: Portuguese Writers 217. 

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dialogue with Asia demonstrates a cultural and social awareness strikingly different from that of most other European chroniclers and travelers of the sixteenth century. That difference, I argue, hinges on Pinto’s heteroglossia—to invoke a key concept of Mikhail Bakhtin—that is, his self-conscious, novelistic foregrounding of another’s speech in another’s language. In his extended essay Discourse in the Novel (1934–1935) Bakhtin sought to analyze the unique qualities of novelistic prose, which he considered distinct from those of lyric poetry, drama, or epic, and from other varieties of prose writing, as well. In that work Bakhtin presented his trope of heteroglossia (raznorecie, in Russian), as a means of explaining the rich social diversity of language. Any language (e.g., Polish, Hindi, Swahili) operates under a set of rules or norms that makes that language reproducible, able to be understood. This ostensibly unitary, systematic quality may be thought of, Bakhtin states, as an ‘expression of the centripetal forces of language.’ However, Bakhtin also locates in language a countervailing, centrifugal force, which gives rise to its phenomenal pluralities of meaning. The systematic qualities of a language belie its internal diversity and variety. Any given language may be broken down into dialects, the languages of social groups, ‘professional’ and ‘generic’ languages, languages spoken by different age groups, and many, many other sub-categories, including the personal. At any given moment, the ‘same’ language may mean different things to different people, for meaning is heavily context-dependent. ‘Language,’ Bakhtin memorably declared, ‘is not a neutral medium that passes freely and easily into the private property of the speaker’s intentions; it is populated—overpopulated—with the intentions of others.’ Consequently, language is always and inevitably a site of struggle. For these and other reasons, Bahktin’s theory of dialogism provides a useful means of interpreting early modern narratives of encounter.10 Pinto, who might be considered a proto-novelist in the Bakhtinian sense, was acutely aware of the heteroglossic nature of his material, which enabled him to dialogize the cultural struggles and ethical dilemmas that he chose to represent within his narrative. As literary historian Thomas Hart has noted, Pinto used direct discourse freely, reproducing dialogue he supposedly heard decades earlier. Often his characters speak in their own languages, and their words and style of speaking differ considerably from Pinto’s own narratorial voice.11 Pinto does not simply reproduce dialogue—or invent it; rather, he self-consciously engages with the imagined subjectivities of his ‘Discourse in the Novel,’ in The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by M. M. Bakhtin, ed. Michael Holquist, trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist (Austin: U of Texas P, 1981) 270 ff.  Discourse in the Novel 294. 10 On the value of Bakhtin’s theories for the interpretation of travel writing, history, and drama, see Stacy Burton, ‘Difference and Convention: Bakhtin and the Practice of Travel Literature,’ in Carnivalizing Difference: Bakhtin and the Other, ed. Peter I. Barta, Paul Allen Miller, Charles Platter, and David Shepherd (London: Routledge, 2001): 225–45, and especially Linda McJannet, The Sultan Speaks: Dialogue in English Plays and Histories about the Ottoman Turks (New York: Palgrave, 2006). 11 ‘Style and Substance in the Peregrination’ 52. 

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characters, giving them voice. For these reasons and others, Pinto’s Peregrinação may be viewed as an ambivalent counter-narrative of Portuguese colonial history— one that, to paraphrase Homi Bhabha, evokes and simultaneously erases the totalizing boundaries of nation, together with the notions of identity and alterity, masculinity and femininity, on which such boundaries typically depend.12 The Queen of Onor and her Emissaries In order to explore the dialogic qualities of Pinto’s text, I shall now turn to a set of episodes in the Peregrinação that occur early in the book (chapters 8–11). Though seemingly minor incidents, which heretofore have merited little comment from scholars of Portuguese colonial history or of Pinto’s writing, they in fact tell a very important story about India’s place in the European cultural imaginary. These episodes also open up a set of perspectives on the construction of colonial narratives in the early modern age, and the central place of gender, religious, and cultural differences within them. These incidents take place in the Indian coastal town of Onor or nearby, and revolve around an enigmatic queen. Onor was an outlying feudality of the Hindu empire of Vijayanagara. Onor (today Honavar13) is situated on the coastline south of Goa in a border region between that extensive yet decentralized kingdom to the south and east, and the Muslim kingdom of Bijapur to the north, which emerged from the Bahmani kingdom of the Deccan at the end of the fifteenth century (see map, Figure 8.1).14 En route to India, Pinto writes that he had been captured by Turks at sea, sold in slavery to a Greek, and repurchased by the Portuguese in Hormuz. Shortly thereafter he was impressed at sea, then exchanged by one Portuguese sea captain to another, ‘since,’ he says, ‘I was always the first to be cast aside’ (13).15 His new captain, Gonzalo Vas Coutinho, heads a fleet of five foists.16 Coutinho has learned

12 Homi Bhabha, ‘Dissemination,’ The Location of Culture (New York: Routledge, 1994) 139–70, 149. 13 Onor is also known as Honowar, Hannur, Hinawr, Honnavara, inter alia. Travels 539, n.8. In this essay, I shall follow Pinto’s spelling, which is central to my interpretation of his story. 14 Ibid. 539. See also Robert Sewell, A Forgotten Empire: Vijayanagar (New Delhi, National Book Trust, India, 1962), Map 2 (facing p. 1), and Burton Stein, The New Cambridge History of India, Vol. 1, Part 2: Vijayanagara (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989) for a general overview of this empire and its history. 15 The Portuguese reads: ‘e destes fuy eu tambem hum, por ser sempre o mais engeitado ... .’ Adolfo Casais Moneiro, ed. Fernão Mendes Pinto: Peregrinação (Lisbon: Impresa Nacional: Casa da Moeda, 1983) 30. 16 A foist was a long, three-masted vessel of shallow draft. It was, in effect, a small galley.


Fig. 8.1

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The Vijayanagar Empire in the 16th century. The shifting northern boundary of the empire at times extended to the Krishna River above Raichur, while also encompassing Honavar to the west.

that a ‘Turkish’ galley,17 separated by bad weather from an armada led by Suleiman Pasha, viceroy of Cairo, has taken shelter at Onor after being separated from its 17 Pinto uses the word ‘Turcos’ to refer to members of the Ottoman Empire, as distinct from Muslim communities or nations of south Asia, Persia, and other regions. I follow his wording, and that of his English translators.

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fleet in bad weather. The captain announces his plan to sail to that port and demand that the queen of that city hand over the galley immediately. Coutinho’s fleet sails into the port of Onor, firing their artillery and playing their drums and fifes as loudly as possible, conveying to the locals, Pinto says, that ‘with this outward show of bravery ... we were not afraid of the Turks’ (14). Upon arrival, Coutinho sends a letter to the queen written by the Portuguese Viceroy and delivered to her by the emissary Bento Castanho, ‘a discreet, wellbred man.’ Castanho, the first of many such emissaries in the story, inquires of the queen, ‘since Her Highness was a friend of the king of Portugal, to whom she had long been bound by peace and friendship treaties, why she was sheltering the Turks in her port when they were our worst enemies’ (14). The queen provides an extensive explanation, which Pinto reports as follows: she replied that his lordship and his entire company were most welcome there, and that what he had said about her long-standing friendship with the king of Portugal and his governors was quite true and would continue to hold true as long as she lived; but as for his complaint about the Turks, as God was her witness, they had come there against her will; and since his lordship had brought with him enough troops to expel them, by all means, let him do so, and she would favor him in that respect as much as possible, but more than that she could not do, for as his lordship well knew, she was not powerful enough, nor did she dare, to engage such a superior force, and she swore by the golden sandals of her idol, that if God should grant him the victory over them, it would make her as happy as being invited to dine with the king of Narsinga, whose slave she was, and seated at table with his wife [italics mine]. (14–15)18

There are several striking features of this reported answer from the Queen of Onor. I shall argue that the implied pun on ‘honor’ (honra, in Portuguese19) is key to Pinto’s rendering of the story. The Portuguese accuse the Queen of Onor of duplicity; thus her honor, as well as her city, is at stake. Pinto’s gendered narrative highlights the queen’s self-representation as a weak leader. The queen, who is never named in Pinto’s story, insists through her emissaries that she is indeed a friend to her Portuguese visitors; however, she is not a powerful one. Hence she 18 ‘ao que ella respondeo, que sua merce fosse muyto bem vindo com toda a sua companhia, que quãto ao que lhe mandaua dizer das pazes que tinha com el Rey de Portugal, & cos seus Gouernadores, era muyta verdade, & assi as teria em quanto viuesse, porem quanto aos Turcos em que lhe apontaua, que só Deos, aquẽ ella tomaua por Iuiz neste caso, sabia quanto contra seu gosto elles aly eraõ vindos, & que pois sua merce trazia forças para os poder lançar fora, o fizesse, que ella lhe daria para isso todo o fauor quanto lhe fosse possiuel, que para mais bem sabia elle que não era ella poderosa, nem se atreuia a pelejar com tamanha força, & que lhe juraua pelas alparcas douradas do seu pagode, que tanto folgaria com a victoria que Deos lhe desse contra elles, como que o Rey de Narsinga, cuja escraua ella era, a assentasse à mesa com sua molher.’ Peregrinação 32. 19 The ‘h’ in honra is silent, and the sounds of the words Onor and honra are similar enough for one to evoke the other.


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suffers the presence of the Turks ‘against her will’ and is ‘not powerful enough’ to take them on. Moreover, she is a ‘slave’ of the king of Narsinga [Vijayanagara], rather than a ruler in her own right. Intriguingly, the queen punctuates her assertions of loyalty with two oaths. With ‘God as her witness’ (in Portuguese, the singular Deos), she pledges her honesty. A few lines later, she swears ‘by the golden sandals of her idol’ (pelas alparcas douradas do seu pagode).20 In representing her speech, Pinto initially casts the Queen of Onor as a monotheist, ergo a potential Christian, a Christian in spirit (though she could, of course, be a Muslim sympathizer instead—the interpretive dilemma faced by Coutinho).21 Yet when she swears by the golden sandals do seu pagode (literally, ‘of her temple’), it becomes clear that the Queen of Onor occupies a quite different theological space. But in that same sentence, the queen again refers to Deos: ‘if God (Deos) should grant him the victory over them.’ This is a perplexing passage to interpret, for in her oaths, the Queen of Onor / honra straddles the geographical, as well as cultural, borderlines between three empires and three religions (the Hindu empire of Vijayanagara, the Islamic kingdom of Bijapur, and the Christian empire of Portugal). How might the reader, early modern or present-day, understand such a message—one that pulls in different directions? In Bakhtinian terms, this speech is marked by its hybridity, for it is ‘an utterance that belongs, by its grammatical (syntactic) and compositional markers, to a single speaker, but that actually contains mixed within it two utterances, two speech manners, two styles, two ‘languages,’ two semantic and axiological belief systems.’22 The passage quoted above relays the Queen of Onor’s speech (implicitly translated by emissary Castanho, though Pinto does not mention him), yet it is also Pinto’s speech, as well—in Bakhtinian terms, another’s speech in 20 The Portuguese text reads: ‘jurava pelas alparcas douradas do seu pagode—literally, ‘she swore by the golden sandals of her temple’ (Peregrinação 32). Catz translates ‘pagode’ metonymically for ‘idol,’ which makes more sense. Still, the meaning of the phrase is not entirely transparent. 21 As noted by Maria Augusta Lima Cruz, there were among the Portuguese two contrasting mental representations of Hindus and other ‘gentiles,’ on the one hand, and Moors and other Muslims on the other: ‘the image of the gentile or heathen—the potential convert, shines in relative brilliance and hope when compared with the image of the Moor— the “infidel” par excellence’. ‘Portuguese Relations with Vijayanagara,’ Santa Barbara Portuguese Studies 2 (1995): 13–39, 13–14. D espite their relative openness to Hinduism, Cruz notes that Portuguese became progressively more militant in their Catholicism by the middle of the sixteenth century (30). Similarly, M.N. Pearson describes the climate of religious persecution that began to develop in Goa and through the Portuguese empire by the 1540s. See ‘Catholics and Hindus’ in The New Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, Part 1: The Portuguese in India (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1987) 116–30. The incidents discussed in this essay take place during this transitional period. 22 Discourse in the Novel 304.

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another’s language. ‘It frequently happens,’ Bakhtin explains, ‘that even one and the same word will belong simultaneously to two languages, two belief systems that intersect in a hybrid construction—and consequently, the word has two contradictory meanings, two accents.’23 In the passage in question, ‘Deos’ is such a word; it points to the belief systems of Christianity and of Hinduism at the same time—that is, the god of the Portuguese and the god (pagode) of the Queen of O nor. We may well ask whether this double accent is meant to convey at this point a certain view of the queen (i.e., that she is duplicitous) or rather some more complicated narratorial view of an intercultural exchange. ‘Double-voiced discourse,’ Bakhtin proposes: serves two speakers at the same time and expresses simultaneously two different intentions: the direct intention of the character who is speaking, and the refracted intention of the author . ... Double-voiced discourse is always internally dialogized. Examples of this would be comic, ironic or parodic discourse, the refracting discourse of a narrator, refracting discourse in the language or a character and finally the discourse of a whole incorporated genre—all these discourses are double-voiced and internally dialogized.24

Pinto is a master of such discursive doubling. Hence, duplicity, a constant theme of his book, cannot be taken at face value, for it is frequently a marker of doublevoicing in the Bakhtinian sense, and also an indicator of irony, or narratorial doubleness (saying one thing, meaning another). The incident at Onor turns on the question—indeed, the hermeneutic mystery—of duplicity in the sixteenth-century Portuguese colonial imaginary. The Defeat of the Portuguese When he hears the queen’s message, Captain Coutinho is disappointed by her possible lack of support or cooperation; hence, he thinks it best ‘to disguise his true feelings’ (15). Dissembling his intentions (ostensibly a form of duplicity sanctioned by the narrative), Coutinho gathers information from the local population, and then decides to attack the Turkish galley and take possession of it—or else destroy it. The queen learns of this plan and intervenes. She dispatches a Brahmin emissary, fluent in Portuguese, to convey a message to the captain. Her spies have confirmed that the Portuguese were badly outnumbered by the Turks, and that they stand no chance of winning. Moreover, ‘God (Deos) alone knew the deep pain and anguish she was suffering for fear that he would meet with some disaster.’ The captain refuses to call off the attack. He thanks the queen for her advice and concern, and dismisses her emissary with two gifts: a bolt of 23 24

Ibid. 305. Ibid. 324.

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green camel’s hair cloth and a hat lined with red satin, with which the Brahmin emissary is quite pleased (15). Coutinho learns from his own spies how the Turks, with the queen’s approval (com favor da Raynha), have moved their galley to a more protected spot and built a stockade for defensive purposes (15).25 Coutinho’s cohort of 80 men attack the stockade, whereupon they suffer a humiliating and brutal defeat. Coutinho’s son Diogo is killed in heavy artillery fire. Pinto foregrounds the ideological implications of this conflict: Aware of the damage they had inflicted on us, the enemy began to shout victory, calling aloud to Mohammed, a name that had an immediate effect on the admiral. ‘Christian soldiers!’ he cried, rallying his men. ‘If these dogs can call on the devil to help them, then let us call on the Lord Jesus Christ to help us!’ (16)

With that, Coutinho’s men launch another attack, whereupon the Turks touch off a mine and instantly kill another 14 men, and badly burning many more. Pinto’s conclusion is inescapable: God was not on the side of the Portuguese that day (and perhaps in general). The next day the queen sends a messenger carrying a gift of chickens and eggs to the surviving Portuguese. These Coutinho rejects, and he threatens violent reprisal against the queen and her people for having helped the Turks. Fearing the loss of her kingdom, the queen sends a different emissary this time: a dignified and authoritative Brahmin, advanced in age, who also happens to be a close relative. This emissary reports to Coutinho: It would be impossible for me to convey to you in so many words, Sir Admiral, the sadness and distress of the queen over the death of your son and the other Portuguese soldiers who lost their lives in yesterday’s fighting, for I solemnly swear to you, by her life, and by this linha, with which I was invested as a child, that when she heard of the disaster that befell you and its unfortunate outcome, she could not have been more aggrieved if she had been forced to eat cow’s meat this very day in front of the main entrance of the temple where her father lies buried. That should give you some idea of how deeply she shares your grief [italics mine]. (17)26

The Queen of Onor asks to renew the peace treaty between Portugal and herself, and she promises to burn the galley and drive out the Turks within four days. Peregrinação 34. ‘Dizerte senhor Capitão quão agastada & triste está a Raynha pela morte de teu filho, & dos mais Portugueses que na peleja de ontem morreraõ, serà cousa impossiuel, porque afirmadamente te juro por vida sua, & por esta linha de Bramene que professey de pequeno, que tão afrontada ficou quãdo soube do teu desastre, & desauenturado successo, como se o dia de oje lhe fizeraõ comer carne de vaca na porta principal do pagode onde seu pay jaz enterrado, & por aquy senhor julgaras quanta parte tem no teu nojo . ...’ Peregrinação 37. 25


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The admiral accepts the promise, and the treaty is confirmed by both parties, ‘in accordance with the traditions of those Gentiles’ (com as cerimonias costumadas entre aquelles Gentios).27 In this passage, Pinto conveys two features of ‘Gentile’ culture with which most European readers were not likely to have been deeply familiar in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The first is the linha, or sacred thread worn by Hindu males of high caste.28 The second is the Hindu and Jain practice of abstaining from the consumption of cow’s meat. How would Pinto’s readers have been likely to interpret this passage? Would they even understand what they were reading? Would they have assumed that the Queen of Onor is cynically ironic or compassionate and tender when, through her emissary, she expresses horror at the thought of eating cow’s meat near her father’s tomb, comparing such an experience to Coutinho’s loss of his son? The italicized statement in the passage above exemplifies Bakhtin’s concept of the double-accented nature of novelistic prose. Such is the case with the word linha and with the italicized phrase that follows. While early modern European readers would not have fully understood the religious traditions alluded to by Pinto (nor, arguably, did Pinto himself), they would understand that they were not understanding something—words and phrases that also had their own, more ordinary meanings back home, yet which also conveyed foreign ritual practices and belief systems. T hese are not simply dismissed by Pinto, but rather serve as markers of his ambivalent identification. Strangers Are Truer Than Fiction This doubleness in Pinto’s writing, which I have traced out across multiple examples, might be thought of as injecting an element of cognitive dissonance into his text. Pinto allows and encourages his readers to occupy two mutually exclusive axiological spaces simultaneously, each of which ironizes the other and causes the reader to suspend judgment, to hesitate in making assumptions. In this instance, the reader faces several interpretive choices regarding the Queen of Onor: a) the queen is weak and defenseless, b) the queen is duplicitous and manipulative, c) the queen is highly strategic in her negotiations with demanding foreigners. To that we may also add: d) the queen is nurturing, maternal, and sensitive to the misfortunes of others, or e) subtly sarcastic. It is difficult to imagine the subjectivity of the queen, not only because it is being represented by 27 Peregrinação 37. Here I depart from Catz’s translation, which renders the Portuguese as ‘in accordance with Hindu traditions.’ Travels 18. ‘Gentile’ is a more undifferentiated term for the religions and peoples of India, used by Pinto and many other Europeans in the sixteenth century. 28 Catz explains the linha as ‘[t]he triple cord, or sacred girdle, that the high-caste Hindus wear across the breast, from left to right, from the day of their investiture into the priesthood, as a symbol of their regeneration, or dvija, meaning “twice-born.”’ Travels 540, n.2.


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the foreigner Pinto, but also because her messages are inevitably conveyed by emissaries. Significantly, the queen never appears in person in the story. Similar interpretive choices may be made regarding Captain Coutinho: a) he is a brave and stalwart soldier of the Crown, a defender of the rights of Portugal against the territorial incursion of the Turks, b) he is a hapless victim of foreign treachery and female wiles, c) he is a rash, dishonest, and foolish person, d) he is an embarrassment and danger to his men, his son, and the Portuguese empire. One might say that the reader must occupy not only another’s speech in another’s language, but also multiple points of view not easily reconciled in the seventeenth century. The various messengers, emissaries, and go-betweens in the story, of which Pinto is certainly one (and the modern critic another), only complicate these problems of interpretation. The crux of this hermeneutic dilemma is a problem of authority in Pinto’s narrative—that is, the question of who possesses legitimate authority—discursive or otherwise—and who does not. In Pinto’s Peregrinação we find, following the Soviet theorist of speaking-between-the-lines, an ironizing of authoritative discourse, Bakhtin’s term for religious, governmental, academic, or otherwise ‘official’ language.29 Authoritative discourse is for Bakhtin a dead thing, a ‘relic,’ which novelists typically handle with irony, comedy, or other forms of dialogism. Bakhtin opposes authoritative discourse to that which he calls internally persuasive discourse—the speech of another against which or with which each of us may find our ideological and / or ethical moorings in the world, ‘the very basis of our behavior.’30 While authoritative discourse and internally persuasive discourse may sometimes be aligned for an individual, (indeed, more often than Bakhtin suggests31), the critic holds that there is more often than not an internal dialectic between the two.32 For Bakhtin, this ongoing mental dialogue between 29 The novelist, Bakhtin claims, conveys the language of authority (usually) without subscribing to it or identifying with it: ‘Authoritative discourse can not be represented— it is only transmitted. Its inertia, its semantic finiteness and calcification, the degree to which it is hard-edged, a thing in its own right, the impermissibility of any free stylistic development in relation to it—all this renders the artistic representation of authoritative discourse impossible.’ Discourse in the Novel 344. 30 Ibid. 342. 31 Bakhtin describes a fraught dynamic between authoritative and internally persuasive discourses, played out as struggle within the private confines of each person’s mind; this view was undoubtedly conditioned by the severe repression he and virtually everyone else experienced in Stalin’s Russia. 32 Bakhtin’s explanation bears quoting at length, since it sheds considerable light on Pinto’s narrative project: ‘it happens more frequently that an individual’s becoming, an ideological process, is characterized precisely by a sharp gap between these two categories: in one, the authoritative word (religious, political, moral; the word of a father, of adults and of teachers, etc.) that does not know internal persuasiveness, in the other internally persuasive word that is denied all privilege, backed up by no authority at all, and is frequently not even acknowledged in society (not by public opinion, nor by scholarly norms, nor by criticism),

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the internalized language of authority and the countervailing languages of the internally persuasive give rise to nothing less than our individual identities. T hese are always subject to revision or restructuring as the dialogue continues to unfold in history and in the social spaces we share with others. Novelists, he claims, are highly attuned to such dialogue, and give voice to it in their texts. So it was with Pinto, who lived the contradictions of his age most fully and dialogized them. H is Peregrinação transmitted the nationalistic discourse of Portuguese religious and political authority sufficiently enough to avoid the heavy hand of the Inquisition or the Crown at the time of publication, if not in Pinto’s lifetime, yet also left open the possibility of quite different interpretations and identifications. Rather than simply or primarily identifying with authority, Pinto as proto-novelist plays the language(s) of Portuguese authority against his own ironic narrative voice and, too, against the dialogized speech of the peoples of Asia, toward whom Pinto’s attitudes can only be regarded as complex. The words and actions of the Queen of Onor, for example, invite the reader to evaluate them for internal persuasiveness; likewise with Coutinho’s. Pinto does not decide for his audience, but rather stages the hermeneutic dilemma with fictive dimensionality. In the Queen of Onor episode and throughout the book, Pinto invites his readers to imagine other, quite foreign points of view, which he stages in conflict with European values and beliefs. In Pinto’s stories, strangers are truer than fiction— uncanny doubles, we might say.33 Their words, in dialogue with (and contained in) those of Europe, are exoticized by the author, yet not simply so, for they carry odd, unsettling weight. Pinto does not discredit their speech, but places it in a reflexively ironic relation with the discourse of the Portuguese. Meanwhile, familiars are strangers to themselves. In their encounters with the extrangeiro—the foreign or strange—their usual modes of being and acting seem bizarrely out of place. The episode ends with an uneasy resolution: Coutinho and his men leave the same day that the treaty with the queen is reaffirmed; the Portuguese captain does not wait to find out whether the queen will follow up on her promise. He does, however, leave a man behind to report on what happens, but Pinto the narrator does not tell us the outcome. Meanwhile, Pinto the character is dropped off in Goa, and soon sets sail for Malacca, where future conflicts, misunderstandings, and disasters await. The Queen of Baticalá in the Portuguese Chronicles The distinctiveness of Pinto’s story of the Queen of Onor becomes clearer when set against accounts by other early chroniclers who describe similar encounters between the Portuguese and a native queen harboring pirates in her port. Fernão not even in the legal code. The struggle and dialogic interrelationship of these categories of ideological discourse are what usually determine the history of an individual ideological consciousness.’ Ibid. 342. 33 Cp. Bhabha, ‘Dissemination’ 143.

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Lopes de Castanheda, Gaspar Correia and Diogo do Couto—all of whom wrote influential colonial histories—describe the siege of Bhatkal—in Portuguese, Baticalá.34 They write in a style different from Pinto’s; not self-consciously dialogic, they present their own historical discourse as ‘authorized,’ though their identifications with the Portuguese imperial enterprise may fluctuate. The authors of these works fashion the Queen of Baticalá in various poses of greater or lesser resistance to the Portuguese conquest of coastal south India. As we shall see, the embattled native queen functions in these chronicles as a kind of topos, serving as a metaphor for India ‘herself’ in the minds of Portuguese colonizers. Each of these chroniclers recounts a set of events that occurred in 1541–1542, shortly after the supposed incident at Onor reported by Pinto. At that time, the 13th governor of Portuguese Asia, Martim Affonso de Sousa, sought to extract tribute from the city of Baticalá and its queen, and to extirpate pirates taking refuge in that harbor. Baticalá / Bhatkal lies on the Arabian Sea in the modern state of Karnataka, approximately 30 kilometers south of Onor / Honavar. Situated on the mouth of the Bhatkal River, and possessed of an excellent seaport, Bhatkal was in 1500 one of the premier centers of shipping on the west coast of India. Shipping routes to the Persian Gulf and to the Red Sea made Bhatkal an important trade center from which rice, sugar, iron, textiles, ginger, and pepper were exported; while copper, gold, and horses were commonly imported. Closely connected to the capital city of Vijayanagara, Bhatkal was an important distribution center for the interior of that region, as well.35 The historian Sanjay Subrahmanyam describes Bhatkal in the early sixteenth century as a cosmopolitan community in which navayat Muslims, claiming Persian descent; visitors from Cairo, Arabia, Iraq, and Persia, known as Pardesis; Hindus; and Jains lived compatibly.36 From the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese sought to control this port and its resources by periodically attacking the city, as well as the coastal shipping in and around Bhatkal. Pinto’s story of the storm-tossed Turkish galley in Onor, the object of Coutinho’s ill-fated pursuit, seems to reflect a long-standing Portuguese habit of piracy and pillaging in the coastal waters of the Arabian Sea. From 1503 forward, the Portuguese demanded from the rulers of Bhatkal an annual tribute—some 2,000 bales of rice—payable to the King of Portugal.37 In 1541, de Sousa, based in Goa to the North, decided to launch an offensive against Bhatkal in order to collect ‘delinquent’ tributes from the city and to punish its queen for sheltering pirates in the harbor. T hough they differ in emphases and details, each of these three accounts reports a similar outcome: Baticalá and its queen are 34

The incident described by Pinto—the conflict between Coutihno and the queen— does not appear in these three primary sixteenth-century chronicles of the Portuguese in India, though very similar ones do. 35 S anjay S ubrahmanyam, The Political Economy of Commerce: Southern India 1500– 1650 (New York: Cambridge UP, 1990) 123. 36 Ibid. 123. 37 Ibid. 124.

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humiliated and forced into submission by the Portuguese. I shall compare the three accounts of the siege by Castanheda, Couto, and Correia, in order to show their possible connections to Pinto’s dialogized representation of the Queen of Onor. I shall argue that Pinto’s story is, at least in part, a fictionalized recasting of the recurrent sieges of Bhatkal. Castanheda’s História Fernão Lopes de Castanheda (d. 1559) arrived in India in 1528, where he stayed for approximately a decade. While there he carefully collected documents regarding the Portuguese venture in Asia, which he compiled a nine-volume História do descobrimento e conquista da Índia pelos Portugueses (History of the discovery and conquest of India by the Portuguese). Considered a reliable historical source, Castanheda’s work ‘stands the test of accuracy’ when compared to original documents and evidence.38 Castanheda reports that the Portuguese Governor had determined to wage war on Baticalá, since the queen had not paid tributes for some years, and since she was sheltering certain pirates (caseiros) in her waters.39 D e S ousa sails from Goa in late October and arrives in nearby Baticalá with 1,500 men. He sends a message to the queen, stating that since she is a vassal of the King of Portugal, she must pay two years of back tributes and turn over the pirate ships in her harbor or face certain destruction. The queen gives over four of those ships, but withholds three. The Governor decides to attack, and a violent battle ensues between the Portuguese and the local defenders of the city, who are described by Castanheda as Mouros, or Moors. The city is then sacked and burned to the ground. Meanwhile de Sousa returns to his ships, but for four days sends soldiers back to Baticalá to burn and cut down trees and gardens, and to destroy the land as much as possible.40 ‘Seeing that she could not defend herself, the Queen asked for peace with the

38 So described by B.S. Shastry in Goa-Kanara Portuguese Relations 1498–1763, Xavier Centre of Historical Research Study Series No. 8, ed. Charles J. Borges, S.J. (New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company, 2000) 319. 39 Bk. IX, Chapter 31 of História do descobrimento e conquista da Índia pelos Portugueses, ed. M. Lopes de Almeida (Porto: Lello & Irmão, Editores, 1979) 943. This book, together with a now missing tenth, could not be published in Castanheda’s lifetime because of the opposition of powerful people. This portion of Book IX was first published in 1929 (xxxv–xxxvi). T he Bhatkal ‘pirates’ described by the chroniclers may have been rival traders of pepper, rice, and other commodities from the region, whose trade threatened the attempted Portuguese monopolies. See M.N. Pearson, ‘India and the Indian Ocean in the Sixteenth Century,’ in India and the Indian Ocean: 1500–1800, ed. A shin D as Gupta and M .N . Pearson (Calcutta: Oxford UP, 1987) 71–93, 89. 40 Ibid. 944.

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governor.’41 S he then pays the tributes and turns over the rest of the ships. D etails and dialogue are sparse in Castanheda’s account; the Queen of Baticalá appears as a two-dimensional figure, as does Martim Affonso de Sousa. Couto’s Da Ásia In his chronicle Da Ásia, also known as the Décadas (Decades), Diogo do Couto, offers a more developed account of the siege of Baticalá.42 Couto arrived in India in 1556 and remained there until his death in 1616, serving as archivist in Goa and using its resources for the history he would write—one of the most important ‘official’ histories of Portuguese colonial India. In his account of the siege, Couto defends de Sousa’s motives, while attacking those of the Queen of Baticalá. The Governor sends her a message asking her politely but firmly to pay her back tributes and to turn over the pirate ships in her harbor. The queen sends a message to de Sousa, hoping to wait him out: she agrees to his demand to pay the tributes and turn over the boats right away. She then sends three ruined boats to him. A few days later, she sends two more. She does not send the tribute. In Couto’s view, this behavior constitutes a great ‘dissimulation’ (dissimulação) on her part, and she wastes seven or eight days of the Governor’s time with these delays.43 T he Governor becomes annoyed (enfadado), whereupon he sends 1,200 men to attack the city. The queen’s troops defend the city and put up a great resistance to the Portuguese. After a violent struggle in which local men, women, and children attempt to defend their city, the Portuguese prevail. Couto writes: Those who entered the city pressed so hard upon the enemy that they fled from them and gathered in the backlands. The Governor entered into the city; and knowing that it had been crushed, allowed his soldiers to sack it. This they did at will, sparing no one on account of sex or age, but putting everyone to the sword. And after they had gorged themselves and carried off what they wanted, they burnt the city to the ground without leaving anything standing.44


Ibid. 945. My translation. Couto, keeper of the Goa archives, continued the chronicles begun by João de Barros begun earlier in the sixteenth century. Couto brought the Decades up to the year 1600. Like Castanheda, he was not able to publish the later parts of his work during his lifetime. Decade V, in which the history of the siege of Baticalá is presented, was sent from Goa to Portugal in 1597, and published some 10 years later, ‘owing to difficulties with the civil rather than the ecclesiastical censorship.’ C.R. Boxer, Three Historians of Portuguese Asia (Barros, Couto, and Bocarro) (Macau: Impresa Nacional, 1948) 15. 43 Década V, Bk. IX, Chapter 2 of Da Ásia de Diogo de Couto, 24 volumes, Vol. 13 (Lisbon: Libraria Sam Carlos, 1974) 305. 44 Da Ásia 13: 307. My translation. 42

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The Governor has his men cut down the palm trees, raze the surrounding fields and gardens, and burn everything in sight. The Portuguese sow so much fear in the region that a proverb arises: Oxar Martim Affonso (beware Martim Affonso). ‘And so along that coast [the Portuguese] remained so respected and so feared by all that even their memory tormented the people.’45 Couto’s account of the siege of Baticalá is considerably more violent than Castanheda’s. Moreover, his language and imagery of forced entry and brutal domination conveys not only the siege, but also the rape of Baticalá—a rape that is, in his representation, the queen’s own fault. Couto frames De Sousa’s bloody reprisal as justified by the queen’s deception, as well as her fatal miscalculation of her adversary’s will to dominate. Relaying the story of a queen, as well as a country, Couto voices a widely held fantasy of colonialism as violent sexual conquest. Correia’s Lendas da Índia A third chronicle of this period, the Lendas da Índia (Legends of India) by Gaspar Correia, presents a version of these events quite different from the others. Correia, who went to India at the age of 20 in 1512 and died in Malacca sometime after 1563, wrote a history more openly critical of the Portuguese colonial enterprise; his chronicles were published only in the nineteenth century.46 According to Correia, the Portuguese Governor arrived in Baticalá with 70 ships and 2,000 men. While he is conducting negotiations with a city administrator (regidor) over the problem of pirates in the port, two Portuguese soldiers are killed in a skirmish at Baticalá over some cloth they had seized from Muslim traders. The conflict escalates, and de Sousa ultimately plans a surprise attack on Baticalá, despite the fact that the administrator has asked him not to attack the city while he seeks to resolve the conflict. In Correia’s text, the Governor is the one who dissembles (dessimulou), since he only pretends to pursue a resolution peacefully. Yet the citizens see through his deception, for the city is deserted when the soldiers arrive. As the Portuguese sack Baticalá, locals rain down bullets on them from a hill above the city, and several people are wounded or killed. When the Portuguese attempt to attack the stronghold, the natives withdraw into the backcountry; little direct confrontation 45

Da Ásia 13: 308. My translation.

I n Bk. X, 66–7, of Os Lusiades (1572), the epic poet Luiz da Camões celebrates the

destruction of Baticalá in similar fashion. 46 Concerning Correia’s life and probable murder in Malacca, see the introduction to Lendas da Índia por Gaspar Correia, ed. M. Lopes de Almeida, 4 volumes, Vol. 1 (Porto: Lello & Irmao—Editores, 1975) xxvi ff. The dating of the Lendas is complicated. Correia mentions writing a portion of his chronicle in 1550, though undoubtedly he began years before that. The manuscript was carried back to Portugal in 1582, and published in the nineteenth century. Since the autograph copy of the ms. has been lost, we do not know whether or how much the text has been altered. Lendas, Vol. 1, xxvi–xxxi.

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takes place. Nevertheless, the Portuguese continue to attack the city, cut down trees, and set portions of the city on fire for eight days. At last the administrator agrees to pay double the back tribute and to drive pirates from the port.47 In contrast to Couto, Correia is more critical of the Portuguese Governor and his soldiers in his account of the siege of Baticalá. It is they who are greedy, dissimulating, weak, cowardly, and destructive in their motives, as well as their behavior. The Queen of Baticalá is not mentioned in Correia’s account of the events of 1542, though she appears in a later chapter chronicling the year 1547. There Correia notes that the queen was accused of harboring pirates who had attacked Portuguese ships and killed two men. In retaliation, war is declared on her ports for several months, and the Portuguese exact their damages against the citizens and their queen.48 As in Castanheda’s and Couto’s narratives, the queen is ultimately dominated by the Portuguese. Chennabhairadevi, the Queen of Pepper The three chronicles described above shed some light on Fernão Mendes Pinto’s tale of the enigmatic Queen of Onor. She, too, is accused by the Portuguese of harboring an enemy ship in her port, and of collaborating with that enemy. She, too, uses delaying tactics, among others, in her dealings with the Portuguese. But unlike the Queen(s) of Baticalá, subordinated in all three chronicles, the Queen of Onor avoids a similar fate—at least for the duration of Pinto’s chapter. Moreover, her motives are not transparent; the reader, like the Portuguese captain Coutinho, must interpret her words as conveyed by emissaries. Because of the similarities between all four accounts, one wonders whether each these writers may have been describing the same person or events, perhaps in garbled form. Or, more likely, one set of events subtly shaded the others. Pinto penned his account at least 30 years after it supposedly occurred, and each of the chroniclers seem to have written well after the siege of Bhatkal (especially Couto, who was born in 1542, the very year of that siege). Establishing the relationship between Pinto’s story and those of the three chronicles, and understanding their textual dialogue, whatever it may have been,49 becomes still more complicated when one attempts to weigh their information against other historical evidence— especially evidence from Indian chroniclers and historians. There was indeed a queen of Bhatkal in 1542. In the decentralized Vijayanagara empire, various towns or regions were governed by feudatory families, as noted above. Known as Mahamandaleswaras, these local rulers served, in effect, Bk. IV, Chapter 11 of Lendas da Índia, Vol. 4, 257ff. For a detailed summary of these events, see S hastry Goa-Kanara Portuguese Relations 69–73. 48 Bk. IV, Chapter 84 of Lendas da Índia 4: 618. 49 Those portions of the three chronicles—Castanheda’s, Couto’s, and Correia’s— dealing with the siege of Baticalá were not yet written or in print when Pinto wrote his Peregrinação. 47

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as viceroys to the imperial sovereigns. Chennadevi, a Jain queen of the Saluva dynasty, became Mahamandelaswara of Bhatkal sometime in the early 1540s.50 An inscription on a hero-stone stands near the Parsvanatha Basti in Bhatkal and bears the date Saka 1465, Subhakrit, Karttika ba. 15—November 6th, 1542; this monument memorializes a hero who died defending the city. Its inscription refers to Mahamandelaswara Chennadevi-Amma as the feudatory of Achyutaraya, at that time the reigning king of Vijayanagara. It describes her as ruling over Bhatkal, Haduvalli, and other rajyas from her capital Sangitapura.51 This inscription also describes the attack on Bhatkal by the captain general of the Portuguese, who laid siege to the city and burnt it down, then marching on the palace.52 After the destruction of Bhatkal, this queen appealed to the king of Vijayanagara for aid in rebuilding the city, a task furthered by contributions from its wealthy merchants. It may be that Chennadevi died during this period and was succeeded by her younger sister Chennabhairadevi, as one recent historian has argued.53 Or these two women may be one and the same person, as other historians have assumed.54 In time, the influence of this (possibly second) queen grew, and she became queen of another nearby feudality, Gersoppa.55 It is not clear how Chennabhairadevi became queen of this kingdom, which brought the territory from Baindur to Honavar (Onor) under her control, as well as the port of Bhatkal.56 What is clear is that this queen ruled until 1606, when she was deposed by a rival


T he most detailed treatment of the S aluva dynasty that I have found is that of S uryanath U . Kamath, ed., Karnataka State Gazetteer 20 volumes, Vol. 11: Uttara Kannada District (Bangalore: V.B. Soobbiaiah & Sons, 1985), 130–53. A conflicting account of the reign of this queen appears in N. Saraswathi Nanaiah, The Position of Women During Vijayanagara Period 1336–1646 (Mysore: Saraswathi Publications, 1992) 33–6. 51 While this inscription suggests that Haduvalli and Sangitapura were separate locations, they must have been near each other, since these two towns are often taken to be the same. See Jyotsna Kamat’s, ‘Jain Center of Haduvalli,’ Kamats Potpourri, http://www. kamat.com/kalranga/haduvalli/ Visited 1/23/2007. 52 For a description of the stone and its information, see B.R. Gopal, ed., Vijayanagara Inscriptions, 3 volumes, Vol. 2 (Mysore: Directorate of Archaeology & Museums, Government of Karnataka, 1986) 201–2. A nother inscription dating from 1560 refers to Chamna Bayiradevi-Amma, daughter of Bayira-Devi-Amma, who ruled over Baidura and other places from Sangitapura. See M.B. Padma, The Position of Women in Medieval Karnataka (Mysore: Prasaranga, U of Mysore, 1993) 85. 53 Kamath, 134–5. 54 Nanaiah, 35. 55 Nanaiah, 35. 56 Kamath, 135. According to this source, Chennabhairadevi probably came to the throne as a teenager, with Krishnadeva, her father-in-law, serving as regent for a time. Chennabhairadevi combined in her person two separate lines of Saluva rulers, one based in Gersoppa, and the other in Haduvalli, near Bhatkal.

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ruler, dying in prison sometime thereafter.57 During her long rule, characterized by an atmosphere of religious tolerance, Chennabhairadevi was known for providing patronage to numerous artists and intellectuals.58 A number of splendid temples in or near Bhatkal were built under her auspices.59 From the beginning of her rule, Chennabhairadevi found herself caught between larger, competing empires, with which she perpetually had to negotiate or battle in order to defend her territory. She was at war with the Portuguese in 1559, and she later aided an ally, the Tolaha chief of Dakshina Kannada, who was himself at war with the Portuguese 10 years later. When the Viyayanagara empire began to collapse in 1565, she allied herself with the Adilshahs of Bijapur, perennial enemies of the Portuguese. Together they attacked Goa in 1570, attempting to dislodge the Portuguese from the region.60 The Portuguese retaliated by attacking Honavar and burning it to the ground (a familiar pattern).61 Y et later on she managed to deal with the Portuguese on diplomatic terms, and came to be known by them as ‘the Pepper Queen’ for her control, sale, and distribution of large quantities of the valuable commodity through the port of Honavar.62 Her story—what little we know of it today—is important for a variety of reasons, not least because it counters the masculinist narratives of conquest and dominance penned by European chroniclers from the beginning of the colonial period. Chennabhairadevi was almost an exact contemporary of Queen Elizabeth I of England, and in many ways she was her counterpart. Chennabhairadevi succeeded in holding onto her kingdom for over 50 years, outwitting multiple adversaries through shrewd alliances, and in leveraging a great deal of political, cultural, and economic power. Nor was she an anomaly in early modern Karnataka—or indeed, in south Asia, where a number of women served as rulers, regents, administrators, and managers during the early modern era.63 57

See Kamath, 136 and Nanaiah, 35, which mention the capture of Gersoppa and its queen by the Ikkeri ruler Venkatappa Nayaka. 58 In her informative essay ‘Queen of Gersoppa,’ Jyotsna Kamat notes that Chenna Bhairadevi was the patron of Lakkarasa Kamti and Kheta Pai, prominent builders of beautiful temples, as well as Akalanka, the Jain scholar, and Bhattakalanka, the grammarian. Kamat’s Potpourri, http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/itihas/gersoppa_queen.htm. Visited 1/3/07. See also Kamath, 136. 59 See, e.g., Jyotsna K. Kamat, ‘Depiction of Everyday Life in Bhatkal Temples,’ Kamat’s Potpourri, http://www.kamat.com/ database/articles/everyday_bhatkal.htm. Visited 1/3/07. See also Kamath, 136. 60 The Portuguese had forced Chennabhairadevi to allow them to build a factory (warehouse) there in 1569. Kamath, 135. 61 Kamath, 151. See also Couto, Década VIII, Chapter 39, in Vol. 18 of Da Ásia, 455–8. 62 See, e.g., Jan Van Linschoten’s description of the pepper dealings of the Queen of Baticalá in Voyage of John Huyghen van Linschoten to the East Indies, ed. Arthur Coke Burnell and P. Al. Tiele, 2 volumes (New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1988; reprint of the Hakluyt Society edition of 1885), I: 65–7, and II: 220–21. 63 ‘That in medieval Karnataka women could enjoy political equality and society recognized and respected their right to rule the kingdoms jointly with their husbands

The Queen of Onor and her Emissaries


In Search of the Queen of Onor We turn again to the main theme of this essay, Fernão Mendes Pinto’s story of the Queen of Onor, who successfully fended off the Portuguese and saved her kingdom. I have sought to show the similarities between Pinto’s story and three historical accounts of the siege of Bhatkal, all of which share the topos of the Kanaran queen resisting Portuguese colonial interests. Representatives of India ‘herself,’ these queens also reveal the gendered nature of the colonial fantasies concerning native peoples, which are expressed in a variety of ways in each of these accounts. By the early 1550s, the historical Chennabhairadevi had become queen of the Saluva kingdom, a territory that encompassed Gersoppa and its port Honavar, as well as Haduvalli to the south, and its port Bhatkal. Pinto’s story seems to take place sometime after he had sailed for India, circa 1538, though he is not specific about the date of the supposed encounter of Gonzalo Vas Coutinho with the Queen of Onor. Pinto may have based his story on the historical Chennabhairadevi, whose rule had begun by the time that Pinto returned to Goa in the mid-1550s.64 Alternately, the intriguing character of the Queen of Onor may be a composite portrait, in which Pinto combines elements of fantasy or romance (an enigmatic queen whose honor is at stake) with facts regarding the life of the historical queen(s) of Bhatkal or of other female rulers of the region. In the mid-sixteenth century there were other feudatory queens in the Kanara territory south of Goa. A 1530 letter by Affonso Mexia, captain of Cochin, written to the King of Portugal sheds more light on this issue. Mexia writes: Between Baticalà and Goa there are certain places called Onor, Mergen, and Ancolá, from which I hear 5,000 crusados worth of pepper are annually shipped to Diu, Ormuz, and Jedda, carried by Moorish vessels. These places are under the dominion of the Queen of Guarçopa [Gersoppa], who in her turn is subject to the King of Narsynga. This pepper is larger than that in Cochin, but is lighter and not so hot. It appears to me that we ought to secure

or brothers, or independently, to ascend the throne, to administer different parts of the kingdoms, to act as regents and to serve as managers of the temples, nal gavundis and so on is indicated clearly by the various epigraphical evidences.’ Padma, Position of Women in Medieval Karnataka 211–12. O n the status of women in a slightly earlier period of Karnatakan history, see Jyotsna Kamat, Social Life in Medieval Karnataka (New Delhi: Abhinav Publications, 1980) 105–30. S ee, too, Anthony Reid’s essay, ‘Female Roles in Pre-Colonial Southeast Asia,’ Modern Asian Studies 22, No. 3, Special Issue: Asian Studies in Honour of Professor Charles Boxer (1988): 629–45. 64 In chapters 217–18, Pinto describes the return of Francis Xavier’s uncorrupted body to Goa—events that took place in 1554. Before arriving in Goa, the ship anchors in Bhatkal, where Jesuit officials arrive to meet the convoy. This series of episodes, described in some detail, seems to place Pinto in the area at this time. Travels 500–503.

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this pepper (although it is not of the best quality), and this might be done by concluding a treaty with the Queen.65

This letter raises the possibility that Pinto’s Queen of Onor may have been based in part on the Queen of Gersoppa—an earlier female ruler of the Saluva clan, rather than Chennabhairadevi.66 Interestingly, there seems to have been multiple Queens of Pepper in sixteenth-century coastal Kanara. It may be that some version of the conflict between captain Coutinho, the Turks, and the Queen of Onor did take place, even though it is as yet uncorroborated by contemporary sources.67 It also appears likely that Pinto’s Queen of Onor is based on one or more of the queens of Gersoppa, as well as the author’s imagination. 65

There were, as noted above, other female rulers in the Jain-dominated area of Bhatkal, Gersoppa, and Karkal. Mexia’s letter, housed in the Archivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo in Lisbon, is translated and quoted in Frederick Charles Danvers, The Portuguese in India: Being a History of the Rise and Decline of their Eastern Empire, 2 volumes, Vol. 1 (1894; New York: Octagon Books, 1966) 411. 66 Because of its dating, this letter is probably not referring to Chennadevi, who was, according to Kamath, the older sister of Chennabhairadevi, and ruler of Bhatkal by 1542. Mexia’s letter suggests that there was a female ruler on the throne at Gersoppa in 1530. This information seems to contradict the historical record, since the Saluva king Devarasa II or his nephew Krishnadevaraya ruled Gersoppa at this time. However, since the royal line passed through the king’s sister, then perhaps Mexia’s letter refers to Padmamba, the mother of Krishnadevaraya and sister of Devarasa, and possible queen-regent. This is, however, speculation, as the historical record appears incomplete. Cf. Kamath 132–3. 67 The only other version of Pinto’s story that I have located appears in the seventeenthcentury history Ásia Portuguesa (1666–1667; Portuguese Asia) of Manuel de Faria e Sousa. His story deviates only slightly from Pinto’s, most likely because he relies on Pinto as his primary source. Concerning the reliability of Pinto’s narrative, Faria e Sousa offers the following disclaimer: ‘Many make a doubt of Truth of what he writes; and as many how have traveled those Parts affirm he might with truth have writ much more no less incredible to our apprehension. I look upon him as a very true Historian, for many Reasons. Yet supposing he is not, it is in things wholly omitted by me.’ The Portuguese Asia: or, the History of the Discovery and Conquest of India by the Portuguese, trans. J ohn S tevens, 3 volumes, Vol. 3 (London: 1695; facsimile ed. Westmead, Farnborough, Hants. England: Gregg International Publishers Limited, 1971) 436–7. Given his reservations, it is interesting to see what Faria e Sousa omits from Pinto’s account, and also what he saves. On the position taken by the Queen of Onor regarding Suleiman’s ship in her harbor, Faria e Sousa writes, ‘[T]’was thought that Queen (then a Widow) violated the Peace concluded with us by protecting [the galley]’ (2:3). Of her reaction to Coutinho’s threats, the historian states simply, ‘The Queen cleared her self, and again offered Peace, which concluded, and some Portugueses left in that Port, to observe what the Queen did towards expelling the Turks’ (2:3). Faria e Sousa eliminates the exquisite details of Pinto’s story, the many emissarial exchanges (complete with elaborate messages and gifts) provided by Pinto; the only new detail added to this bare-bones version is that the queen is a widow. The historian may have added that detail as his own conjecture, or perhaps followed another source corroborating Pinto’s story.

The Queen of Onor and her Emissaries


Yet Pinto’s account, written some three or four decades after the ‘fact,’ to a certain extent synthesizes, dialogizes, and to an extent mitigates all the predations of the Portuguese on the coastal ports of India throughout the sixteenth century. Furthermore, the later history of the Portuguese in India—including the rise and more than half-century reign of Chennbhairadevi, Queen of Pepper—probably influenced Pinto’s recollections. Pinto’s portrait of Captain Gonzalo Vas Coutinho may also have been shaded by subsequent events. According to Correia, Coutinho was imprisoned for vicious crimes in 1540, escaped, and became a pirate—or rather, continued in that profession. A few years later, he worked as an agent of the Adil-Shah of Bijapur, while maintaining ties with his ‘great friend,’ Martim Affonso de Sousa, the destroyer of Bhatkal. For his collaborations, Coutinho was hugely rewarded by the Adil-Shah. Coutinho seems to have converted to Islam, in any case living out his life as ‘a perfect Moor.’68 Did Pinto, who lived in India and other parts of Asia during the decades of Coutinho’s pillagings, know of the latter’s ultimate collaboration with the powerful Adil-Shah, together with his supposed conversion to Islam? Very likely he did. Pinto’s story of Coutinho and the Queen of Onor is a composite that puts into play a fantasized dialogue about honor and the uses of power. As one of the great prose writers of sixteenth-century Europe, Pinto thematizes his own unreliability as narrator, promising neither truth nor lies, but rather a dreamlike condensation of the colonial encounters of his era. His is a mitigated history of those encounters, in which the many brutalities of the era were softened into dialogue and fantasy. The Ethics of Pinto Reading Having addressed at some length the question of the historical bases of Pinto’s Queen of Onor narrative—a question not fully answerable, though essential to investigate nonetheless—I now return to the related problem with which I began this essay: historytelling. By this term I refer to Pinto’s proto-novelistic, dialogized mode of representation, with its implication of truth-telling, as well as lying, extramoral or otherwise. How might we understand the ethics of Pinto’s historytelling, as well as its possible implications and entanglements for contemporary readers? In his book Narrative Ethics, contemporary literary theorist Adam Newton builds on Bakhtin’s notion of dialogism by exploring the ethics of storytelling. Textual dialogues resemble lived human interactions, Newton argues, not simply because art imitates life, but also because their ethical entailments function similarly. How so? Newton challenges normative ethical theory from Aristotle to Habermas, postulating instead a narrative ethics more ‘subjective’ in nature—an ethics deriving from the particularities of each self-other encounter. ‘Ethical theorists,’ Newton writes, ‘have traditionally defined freely determined action according 68

Book IV, Chapters 11, 12, and 57 of Lendas da Índia, 4: 148–52, 540.

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to a law of rationality from which they can derive criteria for moral behavior at once universalizable and intrinsically intelligible.’69 A gainst a traditional notion of ethics, of norms that exist outside of, or above, the contingencies of human interaction, he proposes a different, Levinasian version of ethics—what Newton calls ‘the radicality and uniqueness of the moral situation itself, a binding claim exercised upon the self by a concrete and singular other whose moral appeal precedes both decision and understanding.’70 Speaking of the ethical summons or appeals that issue from intersubjective encounters,’ Newton traces the ways in which texts operate much like actual persons in dialogue or, more generally, in contact with each other: Cutting athwart the mediatory role of reason, narrative situations create an immediacy and force, framing relations of provocation, call, and response that bind narrator and listener, author and character, or read and text. Again, these relations will often precede decision and understanding, with consciousness arriving late, after the assumption or imposition of intersubjective ties. In this sense, prose fiction translates the interactive problematic of ethics into literary forms. Stories, like persons, originate alogically. As ethical performance, in Levinas’ sense, they are concussive: they shock and linger as ‘traumatisms of astonishment.’71

In Newton’s view, the listener / witness / reader may or may not hear the summons of an interlocutor—or, more importantly, may not understand its ramifications, for consciousness may very well ‘arrive late.’ Yet it is in the absence of such full understanding that the ‘traumatisms of astonishment’ may be felt as aftershocks— even at a distance of centuries—by the reader / witness of such textual encounters, who, by the very act of reading and witnessing, becomes implicated in the story. Newton’s narratology, in tandem with Bakhtin’s, helps us to understand Pinto’s dialogism more deeply. In the Queen of Onor section of his narrative, as elsewhere, Pinto stages the ethics of encounter as a problem of facing—that is, a hermeneutic engagement, usually adversarial, between the familiar and the extrangeiro, the strange and the stranger. Intriguingly, the Queen of Onor is never faced; she has no name, apart from her ambiguous epithet, and never appears in person. This queen cannot be faced directly; rather, she is “translated” in the ironic, double-voiced fashion of Pinto’s story; her subjectivity remains unrepresented and unrepresentable within his discourse. Yet even within this ambiguous textual placement, the Queen of Onor seems to outface Coutinho and the Portuguese. A synthesis of his own fantasy life, a real Jain queen, or set of queens, and the Portuguese rapine of coastal Kanara, the Queen of Onor outfaced even the author himself, drawing him into a representational—hence ethical—enigma he seemed to decipher only in part. Narrative Ethics (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1995) 12. Ibid. 12. 71 Ibid. 13. 69


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Pinto’s dialogism, his vivid narrative style, and his unreliability as an historian or eye-witness foreground the role of the mediator or emissary (he himself was one) make him a particularly interesting commentator on sixteenth-century colonial predations. In no sense was he an innocent commentator, a witty bystander to history. Despite the mitigating effects of his frequently humorous storytelling, Pinto was no less bound up in the project of colonial conquest than his countrymen were. There is a certain sense in which Pinto masks or disguises the violence of the Portuguese enterprise in India, refusing to tell, even as he ironizes the authority, godliness, and masculinity of his nation. Yet his dialogic irony suggests a simultaneous willingness on his part to imagine, to engage with, and to give voice to, subjectivities other than his own or those of his group.72 Where did Pinto stand in relation to his characters, and to the history to which he bore witness? Everywhere and nowhere, yet receptive to the astonishments of what he himself could not fully imagine, Pinto stood at a conceptual threshold, opening for himself and for his readers a door to dialogue. At a distance of four centuries, we may heed his astonishment, still in arrival, as we script our own dialogues with history.

72 If Pinto was indeed of New Christian descent—i.e., a member of a minority group intermittently persecuted in Europe as well as the Portuguese Indies (see n.1)—then he may have been particularly attuned to the predicaments of the social or cultural Other.

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Chapter 9

L istening to the Emissary in Middleton’s No Wit, No Help Like a Woman’s M arianne M ontgomery

When the English traveler Fynes Moryson visited Amsterdam in June of 1593, he found the Dutch a hungry people, poor in natural resources but ‘eating up all nations’ in trade and traffic. He notes that, as a logical result of their commercial position, they have learned multiple languages: ‘It stands with reason, that they who are very industrious in traffic, and having little of their own to export, (except linen) do trade most with the commodities of other nations, should themselves learn many languages, whereas other nations have not the same reason to learn the Flemish tongue.’ Languages in effect become another commodity to be traded, so that the Dutch carry on their tongues speech equivalent to the goods carried in the holds of their ships. Most merchants, Dutch and English, spoke multiple languages to facilitate their trade, since each trading area had its own lingua franca and frequently merchants spoke to foreign clients in their native tongues. This multilingualism makes merchants more than traders in goods. They trade also in cultural representations, and so are well-positioned to be emissaries across national and civic borders. Language facilitates economic transactions, and so the Dutch, who carry the goods of other nations rather than their own, especially need to know many languages. Moryson thinks that the English, because they exchange few Dutch products, have less need to learn Dutch. But Dutch speech itself can be heard as an object  The area and people that ‘Dutch’ denoted was undergoing a shift in England at the turn of the seventeenth century. Previously, Dutch was used as we now use German, but after the United Provinces won their independence, the English began using Dutch to refer solely to the people and language of the Low Countries (OED). It is the English response to these Dutch that this essay explores. We can, however, see residual traces of the older, broader sense of Dutch in the sometimes vaguely delineated nationalities of nominally Dutch characters.  Fynes M oryson, Shakespeare’s Europe: A Survey of the Condition of Europe at the End of the 16th Century, being Unpublished Chapters of Fynes Moryson’s Itinerary (1617). Ed. Charles Hughes (New York: B. Blom, 1967) 378.  Richard Grassby. The Business Community of Seventeenth Century England (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995) 181.


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of exchange, since the early modern English did consume Dutch speech as a commodity in their playhouses. Dutch itself became an object of the players’ trade. The stage figure of the Dutch merchant therefore is an interesting kind of double emissary. He is an unofficial emissary from the continent to the English characters in the play, bringing them news and goods from abroad. He is also a metaphorical emissary to the playhouse audience, making audible Dutch commercial culture by letting playgoers hear and understand Dutch speech. The merchant’s representation of Dutch commerce to characters and audience is further complicated by theatrical role-playing, since a stage Dutch merchant is of course really an English actor. But within the fiction of the play and within the walls of the playhouse, the Dutch merchant’s trade in goods and in words makes him a powerful cross-cultural figure. To show how Dutch merchants could function as cross-cultural emissaries on the early modern stage, this essay listens closely to the Dutch speech of a merchant and his son in Thomas Middleton’s play No Wit, No Help Like a Woman’s (1611). When Middleton’s Dutch merchant is accused of ‘wearing a double tongue,’ his position as an emissary is figured in terms of his language. He speaks two languages—Dutch and English—and these together render him a reliable reporter of events abroad. But this bilingualism is also used to call his credibility into question. Though the merchant’s clear and sanctioned commercial role and the two languages he speaks allow him entry into the play’s London society and give his report weight, he remains apart from the play’s community, a temporary and ultimately unimportant influence on its plot. The merchant is a more important figure than his limited roles in the plot would indicate, however, because of how his language positions him in relation to his audiences both onstage and in the playhouse. To be sure, a character like Middleton’s Dutch merchant is a more informal and more metaphorical emissary than some of the other travelers considered in this book. He holds no official post, and, while he embodies Dutch commercial interests, he seems to have no close connection to the Dutch polity, appearing instead as a cosmopolitan figure who can comfortably move within and between Europe’s great trading cities. The centrality of language to Middleton’s representation of the merchant, however, foregrounds his ability to cross borders and to represent Dutch (and the Dutch) to the English. His languages—alien Dutch and familiar English—make him an emissary, since they allow him to stand both as an authoritative reporter of news from abroad and as an example, for the playhouse audience, of Dutch speech and Dutch commerce. In the introduction to this volume, Brinda Charry and Gitanjali Shahani note that language is a necessary mediating technology in the shaping of networks of global exchange and, as

 T homas M iddleton, No Wit, No Help Like a Woman’s. Ed. Lowell E. Johnson (Lincoln, NE: U of Nebraska P, 1976) I.iii. 140–41. All further references to No Wit, No Help Like a Woman’s are given parenthetically in the text.

Listening to the Emissary in Middleton’s N o Wit, No Help Like a Woman’s


such, that ‘cultural reality exists in representation and through reconstruction.’ Middleton’s Dutchman represents and reconstructs Dutch trading networks on the English stage, helping to make Dutch speech and commerce available to and meaningful for L ondon playgoers. H e also foregrounds the possibilities of multilingualism and the pitfalls of translation. Middleton therefore uses this figure to trace the linguistic borders defined and crossed by emissaries as they traverse geographical boundaries. The Dutch merchant in No Wit seems to need no translator, since he is intelligible to audiences in both Dutch and English. Rather than marking the merchant’s difference, his foreign speech allows playgoers to make sense of Dutch and to hear rather than simply accept the traveling merchant as a reliable emissary. The double-tongued merchant is far more reliable than the play’s English speakers. Language thus works to complicate national boundaries and even the kinds of economic interests that we see outlined by Moryson; this merchant does not eat up the English. From his mouth instead come words in both Dutch and English, and hearing the emissary onstage, I suggest, both brings audiences into linguistic proximity with the foreign and, crucially, turns foreign speech into an object of consumption, a commodity traded in playhouses. The play reprises the mercantile situation, and by using foreign speech to entertain English audiences, shows that a double tongue is not a threat. By complicating linguistic borders, the figure of the Dutch merchant also complicates conventional stage representations of Dutch speakers as comically stereotyped eaters of cheese and drinkers of beer. These conventions are based on English ideas about patterns of prodigious Dutch consumption. Simon Schama has notably branded the Dutch response to their wealth an ‘embarrassment of riches,’ and from the English perspective, the Dutch had reason to be embarrassed. Even if, for the Dutch, their vast feasts were a morally and civically safe way for them to enjoy their wealth, the English could easily see those same feasts as gluttonous and riotous. In the early modern English imagination, the Dutch were either soberly commercial or merrily indulgent, but these two positions in fact enabled each other, since Dutch feasts were paid for with the profits of trading and banking. Despite traditions of Dutch artisan labor that we see represented, for example, in Thomas Dekker’s The Shoemaker’s Holiday, Dutch wealth was generated by traffic in goods rather than their production; as Moryson notes, they had ‘little of their own to export.’ Like the consumption it financed, Dutch trade itself could seem excessive to early modern English observers. The material of Dutch wealth, the rich goods carried in the bellies of Dutch ships, seemed to boggle the mind of Samuel Pepys 

Introduction 5. Simon Schama, The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age (New York: Knopf, 1987) 151–2.  Pieter Geyl, The Netherlands in the Seventeenth Century, Part One, 1609–1648 (London: Ernest Benn, 1961) 165; Moryson 378. 

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when he visited the hold of a captured Dutch vessel in 1665. In his diary, he marvels at ‘the greatest wealth ... in confusion that a man can see in this world’ and relates his spiced progress through the hold: ‘in cloves and nutmegs, I walked above the knees.’ Though the English were impressed and somewhat disgusted by this seemingly limitless and disordered wealth, Sir William Temple in 1673 could write of the Dutch that ‘they furnish infinite luxury, which they never practice, and traffic in pleasures, which they never taste.’ Schama suggests that responses like Temple’s, which insisted that the Dutch did not enjoy their riches, acted as a kind of consolation to the English; yes, the Dutch were rich, but their admirable frugality could easily be read as a parsimonious avarice.10 While Pepys and Temple’s responses to Dutch wealth date from a later period than Middleton’s play, their attitudes are telling because they mark the fulfillment of English ideas about Dutch commercialism and materialism that developed over the preceding century of Dutch economic power. Both emphasize trade and traffic in luxury goods, although the English were uncertain to what extent the Dutch enjoyed the luxuries that their ships carried. The English response to Dutch trade was thus somewhat contradictory: the Dutch could be seen alternately as miserly traders and greedy consumers. The Dutch merchant in No Wit is balanced between these two positions. His trade in goods and in words makes him a model citizen of the world, but other characters in the play try to cast him as a stereotypically drunken Dutchman. The English, while they recognized and admired Dutch success, also had a persistent sense that Dutch commercial dominance was not achieved by fair means. The Dutch citizen and republican ethos elevated households and towns, with all their moral and social significance, above centralized, militarized government. The Dutch state therefore was militarily dependent insofar as it needed English and other foreign troops to support it in the long war with Spain.11 Because the Dutch were fellow Protestants, the English supported their military causes out of a religious solidarity that trumped economic competition until later in the seventeenth century, but this settlement was not without its inherent tensions. Dutch wealth, in the view of many English observers, was built on outside

S amuel Pepys, The Diary of Samuel Pepys, vol. 6, 1665. Ed. William Matthews (Berkeley: U of California P, 2000) 300.  S ir William T emple, Observations upon the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Ed. Sir George Clark (Oxford:Clarendon Press, 1972) 119. 10 Schama, 258. 11 On the Dutch fear of monarchical authority and insistence on the rights of localities, see Richard Helgerson, Adulterous Alliances: Home, State, and History in Early Modern European Drama and Painting (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2000), Chapter 5; Schama 62–80. Schama also discusses the Dutch suspicion of and even contempt for martial values. The Dutch saw a military ethos in conflict with its commercial prowess, rather than a necessary enabler of commerce (240–54). 

Listening to the Emissary in Middleton’s N o Wit, No Help Like a Woman’s


military resources.12 Moreover, Dutch attempts to control the seas aroused much resentment among their European neighbors, especially the English across the Channel, and ultimately contributed to the English wars against the Netherlands in latter half of the seventeenth century.13 The Dutch merchant who appears in No Wit, No Help Like a Woman’s participates in Dutch trade and the cultural tensions it raised. Although we hear little about his role in the cross-channel economy between London and Antwerp, early modern audiences heard his role in Dutch commerce when they heard him speak Dutch. Given the strength of Dutch trade in the early seventeenth century, his recognizable role as a Dutch merchant guarantees him entry into the London of Middleton’s play. The merchant figures in the play’s subplot, arriving in the English household of Sir Oliver Twilight with a report from abroad. By casting the Dutch merchant as a reliable witness, Middleton trades on the Dutchman’s trade in current news. An agent of exchange, the Dutch merchant, identified not by name but by occupation, trades in reports and then retreats as the plot plays out; he has no lasting part in the social world of Sir Oliver’s house, but he does occupy a sanctioned role, albeit as an intermediary, in its economy. Middleton’s key figure for language in No Wit is the double tongue, a figure that is first pinned on the Dutch merchant but ends up rebounding on the play’s various double talkers. As it invites the audience to trust the Dutchman by hearing better than the onstage auditors, this play ultimately destabilizes language itself as a mediating technology by suggesting that meaning is not communicated by words themselves but rather depends on how those words are heard and interpreted. In No Wit, versions of Dutch are spoken by three characters in the play’s less critically remarked second plot: a Dutch merchant, his son, and the English rogue, Savorwit.14 As the play opens, Philip Twilight and Savorwit have lately returned to London from a trip abroad to ransom Philip’s long-ago kidnapped mother and sister. Claiming to have learned of Philip’s mother’s death, they return only with Philip’s now-pregnant new bride, Grace, whom they introduce as the longlost sister. Most of this exposition is related by and seems to depend upon the 12

The tension between the civic republican ideal of the Dutch householder and the Dutch dependence on what was in effect a professional military led by the stadholder, the Prince of Orange, whose power threatened to make him a de facto monarch is the subject of Helgerson, Chapter 5. 13 On the myriad subjects of Dutch/English conflict in the seventeenth century, see Schama, 230–36; Geyl, 41. 14 The main source for this plot is the Italian prose comedy La Sorella, but M iddleton revised his source by setting his play in London, turning it from a moral lesson into an illustration of female wit, and focusing it on humors comedy (No Wit, xiii–xv). Most critical attention has focused on the play’s other plot, in which Mistress Low-water, the play’s main witty female, recovers her husband’s lost fortune by dressing as a young man and wooing the rich widow Lady Goldenfleece. See, for example, Rowe, George E., Thomas Middleton and the New Comedy Tradition (Lincoln, NE, 1979) 114–30; Holmes, David M., The Art of Thomas Middleton (Oxford, 1970) 84–9.


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machinations of the crafty servant Savorwit, a much more vividly drawn character than Philip himself. The already precarious plan to pass Philip’s swelling wife off as his sister becomes even more difficult to sustain when a Dutch merchant arrives in London and reports that Lady Twilight is alive abroad and that he last saw the alleged ‘sister’ in an Antwerp inn. The appearance of the Dutch merchant is just one instance of Middleton’s larger interest in trade and the questions of credibility that attend it. Middleton establishes a commercial discourse in which Savorwit and Philip are figured as traders whose business is dangerously unregulated. Philip’s account of his first meeting with his future bride in Antwerp presents her as a commodity acquired in a foolish but unavoidable trade: ‘There went the ransom, to redeem my mind / ’Stead of the money, I brought over her’ (II.ii. 131–2). Like many a merchant gone to market, Philip went with money and returned with goods. In a striking soliloquy, Savorwit explicitly compares his and Philip’s improvisatory and shifting plots to a kind of unstable trade: Our knavery is for all the world like a shifting bankrupt; it breaks in one place, and sets up in another; he tries all trades, from a goldsmith to a tobacco seller; we try all shifts, from an outlaw to a flatterer; he cozens the husband and compounds with the widow; we cozen my master and compound with my mistress; only here I turn the right hand from him; he is known to live like a rascal, while I am thought to live like a gentleman. (II.ii. 182–9)

Savorwit likens their ‘knavery’to a ‘shifting bankrupt’through a series of comparisons that use the language of trade and finance to link the shady work of the rogues with the equally shady dealings of the ‘bankrupt.’ Financial language slips from the bankrupt’s side of the analogy to the knaves.’ Savorwit and Philip are not just like corrupt traders, they are corrupt traders who ‘try all shifts’ and ‘compound with the mistress’ as they try to stave off the inevitable discovery of Philip’s profligacy. ‘Shift’ here carries two senses—subterfuge and clothing. When Savorwit and Philip ‘try all shifts,’ they fraudulently put on different trades as an actor might change costume. ‘Compound,’ which Savorwit loads with sexual entendre, too belongs to an economic discourse, since it means both to scheme and to make a contractual agreement or cooperative alliance. At the end of the speech, though, the analogy between the wit and the bankrupt breaks down when Savorwit is revealed to be not just dishonest but unrecognizably so. The dishonest, protean trade in which he engages is more dangerous than the bankrupt’s because it cannot be recognized as such; while the bankrupt is known to be a ‘rascal,’ Savorwit appears a ‘gentleman.’ This speech simultaneously devalues trade by presenting it not as a calling but as a disguise or scheme and elevates the Dutch merchant in comparison to the English ‘gentleman.’15 The play presents two versions of trade: the shifting, dishonest trade of the rogue and the consistent, honest trade of the merchant. 15 For the limits of the notion of trade as a special calling in early modern London, see J oseph P. Ward, Metropolitan Communities: Trade Guilds, Identity, and Change in Early Modern London (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1997) Chapter 3.

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Unlike Savorwit, the Dutch merchant stands as an honest broker. Though we see him trading in information rather than in goods, his credibility derives from his occupation and the position of disinterested observer that it affords him. A Dutch merchant makes an ideal narrator of events abroad, given the centrality of the United Provinces, as we have seen, to the circulation of capital in Europe at the turn of the seventeenth century. The Dutch merchant’s travels allow him to report both that he saw Grace in an inn at Antwerp, a banking center, hub of the wool trade, and major city in the United Provinces, and also that he saw Lady Twilight abroad and alive. His language does not detract from his credibility, since, in an economic system that required a high degree of trust among parties to a transaction, strange speech posed fewer problems than dishonesty in exchanges between European merchants and those of more remote lands: ‘[Businessmen] commented unfavourably on the low ethical standards of foreign merchants which were more of an obstacle to exchange in countries like Russia and China than linguistic, political, and religious barriers.’16 Shared languages could smooth transactions, but there was no clear alignment between strange speech and ethical concerns; any merchant might be unethical and unreliable. To sort through this ethical uncertainty produced when intermediaries carried out many transactions and deals were often made on a casual basis, honor and reputation were key.17 A merchant’s commercial credibility, once lost, was irreplaceable. The Dutch merchant adheres to this ethos, defending his report by telling Sir Oliver that ‘Dissembling is no part of my living’ (I.iii. 220–24). He trades on his credibility and sees his reliable report from abroad as part of his ‘living.’ While the link between credibility and commerce is not as untroubled as the merchant presents it, as Savorwit’s version of trade makes clear, this merchant is presented as scrupulously honest and trustworthy. Language actually reinforces the merchant’s credibility as a trader in news. Although he is a stranger in the play’s England, he can immediately be taken for a reliable emissary in part because he speaks Sir Oliver’s English. His English gives him privileged access to Sir Oliver’s house and his Dutch confirms and enhances the credibility of his report. Sir Oliver initially trusts the merchant, telling Savorwit that the news that Lady Twilight is alive ‘has been credibly reported to me / By a Dutch merchant’ (I.iii. 129–36). To underline this judgment, Middleton offers a scene of translation for the Dutch merchant that makes him credible in two languages. In this central Dutch scene of the play, the merchant stands as a privileged intermediary between his son, who speaks only Dutch, and Sir Oliver, who speaks only English; for example, the merchant, speaking in a stage Dutch that would be at least partially comprehensible to an English audience, reminds his son to thank Sir Oliver for his hospitality, the boy repeats the thanks, and then the merchant translates for his son. This kind of exchange establishes Sir Oliver’s willingness to trust translations and also lets the audience hear the merchant as reliable in both English and partially accessible Dutch. Likewise, Sir Oliver’s trust 16 17

Grassby, 298. Ibid. 178, 299.


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seems based in part on the merchant’s command of English, a language he needs for his trade and that guarantees that he can serve as an emissary. This play imagines that the traveling merchant can be all-knowing because he speaks primarily in the language of commerce. As a commercial agent, the Dutch merchant has the linguistic flexibility to deal in multiple markets and therefore the knowledge of the world to make him a reliable reporter of events abroad. At this point in their exchange, the merchant clearly speaks Sir Oliver’s language, both literally and metaphorically. Savorwit, however, tries to advance the opposite conclusion. He claims that the merchant’s mastery of two languages makes everything he says unreliable: ‘He wears a double-tongue—that’s Dutch and English’ (I.iii. 140–41). Savorwit’s slur on the merchant’s ‘double-tongue’ equates bilingualism with double-dealing and holds up the monoglot as a linguistic ideal. He wants Sir Oliver to assume a direct relation between language and truth, one based not on the content of words but simply on linguistic skills: those with a single language tell a single reliable truth.18 This logic of the double tongue makes Savorwit’s next move an ironic one: putting himself in the privileged position of translator. In the merchant’s absence, he stages an interrogation of the merchant’s son for Sir Oliver. He begins with comic babble, an imitation of Dutch whose real audience is not the Dutch boy but Sir Oliver and the playgoers: ‘Hoyste kaloiste, kalooskin ee vou, dar sune, alla gaskin’ (I.iii. 143). Savorwit’s linguistic imitation establishes himself as a Dutch speaker for Sir Oliver and also works, in a broad sense, to raise the audience’s laughter. But it is laughter not at the ridiculousness of a Dutchman but instead at the ridiculousness of the inept linguistic disguise of an Englishman playing a Dutchman. In comparison to Savorwit’s parroted ‘Dutch,’ the boy’s response is generally comprehensible, a version of stage Dutch that sounds a lot like English: ‘Ick wet neat watt hey zack; Ick unverston ewe neat’ (I.iii. 144). This is of course Sir Oliver’s and the audience’s reaction as well. No one understands Savorwit’s ‘Dutch,’ but the incomprehension of each hearer serves a different end. The Dutch boy’s incomprehension motivates him to continue talking, and offers Savorwit a chance to undermine the merchant’s story. Sir Oliver’s incomprehension motivates him to trust Savorwit, so that he must rely on Savorwit to learn the ‘truth’ of the merchant’s story. And the audience’s incomprehension is the source of this scene’s comic zing; we know we don’t comprehend, and, unlike the boy and Sir Oliver, we know why: Savorwit’s Dutch is a fraud. Once this basic mechanism has been established, Savorwit begins to ‘translate’ the boy’s increasingly confused responses for Sir Oliver. The translations extravagantly discredit the merchant’s word, accusing him of being both a lunatic and an aimless wanderer whose circuitous itinerary ‘round about by Parma’ bypassed Antwerp altogether (I.iii. 146–7). Savorwit’s translations become even 18 Early modern authors traced the multiplicity of languages to speech’s second fall at Babel. J anette D illon, Language and Stage in Medieval and Renaissance England (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998) 26–7.

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more elaborately extended as the boy’s ‘Nimd aweigh de cack’ turns into ‘The poor boy blushes for him; he tells me his father came from making merry with certain of his countrymen and he’s a little steeped in English beer,’ this leading Savorwit to insist, ‘There’s no heed to be taken of his tongue now’ (I.iii. 178, 81–4). Merged with the frequently invoked stereotype of the drunken Dutchman, the Dutchman’s double tongue has become a loose one. The common metonymy of tongue for voice in this case figures the Dutchman’s tongue as unhinged and therefore unreliable. Savorwit’s lengthy translation of the boy’s short protest, however, raises Sir Oliver’s suspicions. Savorwit responds with a rather pedantic language lesson: ‘Oh, sir, the Dutch is a very wide language. You shall have ten English words even for one, as for example, Gullder-goose; there’s a word for you, master’ (I.iii. 187–9). He translates Gullder-goose as ‘How do you and all your generation,’ using it as a supposed example of Dutch restraint and English copiousness (I.iii. 191). As Sir Oliver too naively relies on an unreliable translator, this scene suggests that speech is only as good as its listeners. Playgoers are asked to be adept interpreters, to use the range of evidence presented onstage to distinguish correctly between real Dutch and fake Dutch. One does not need to know real Dutch to know that Savorwit’s Dutch is fake. This successful distinction makes the audience identify with the honest and well-intentioned Dutchman against the English rogue; national difference seems far less important here than listening well for comic cues. Savorwit, not the Dutchman, is the ridiculous speaker, and he can clearly be heard that way. Savorwit’s ‘Dutch’ is implicitly metatheatrical. Trying all shifts, he puts on a Dutch tongue as a costume and with it pretends access to Dutch, Dutch-speakers, and Dutch knowledge that he does not really possess. Like the English actor playing the Dutch merchant, Savorwit’s Dutch tongue is affected, not natural. Savorwit’s Dutch is also comically imitative, and suggests how stage Dutch was heard by English audiences. For audiences it seems to have had a distinctive, if comically exaggerated, sound that was recognizably Dutch. The English apparently heard Dutch as heavy with consonants, especially the hard ‘c’ sound. Because of its particular sound, stage Dutch probably could be distinguished from other stage foreign languages even though some of its specific words would be likely incomprehensible. Savorwit’s position as he puts on a Dutch tongue is not all that different from the position of the English actor playing the Dutch merchant. Neither speaks real Dutch, since the merchant’s Dutch itself is a hybrid of Dutch and English words. Within the play, however, the merchant is presented as an impartial emissary while Savorwit is a stock crafty rogue. Their different ways of speaking Dutch confirm this fundamental difference in their credibility. We are thus supposed to hear the merchant’s theatrical Dutch as more real than Savorwit’s theatrical Dutch. The merchant’s ‘real’ Dutch audibly corrects Savorwit’s exaggerations. When he reenters, the merchant can offer credible English to explain himself, erasing the language barrier that Savorwit sought to exploit. Stage Dutch here emphasizes not the Dutchman’s strangeness but his insider status. He speaks English as well


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as anyone else in the play, so when Savorwit tries to cast him as a stranger, the scheme, while temporarily entertaining, cannot long succeed. The merchant reestablishes his credibility by stepping back into the role of translator. On hearing Sir Oliver’s doubts, he questions his boy in a Dutch exchange that, like the boy’s earlier stage Dutch, seems designed to be partially comprehensible to the audience. The resemblance of Middleton’s stage Dutch to English allows the audience, which may not hear the Dutch of the merchant and his son as very different from Savorwit’s babble, to check the merchant’s reliability. The inquiry takes three parts: Sir Oliver’s description of what the boy ostensibly told Savorwit, a question-andanswer exchange between the merchant and his son, and the merchant’s translation of his son’s response. This framing of the Dutch exchange translates it on both ends. So, for example, after Sir Oliver repeats the lunacy allegation, the merchant asks his son about it and the Dutch boy responds, ‘Heigh lieght n ze bokkas, dee’t site.’ From this, one can probably hear ‘he lies’ at the beginning and ‘say it’ at the end. The precise meaning of bokkas is left obscure, but when his father translates all is made clear: ‘He says he lies in’s throat that says it’ (I.iii. 233, 35). This translation confirms what the audience already half-understood the Dutch boy to say. While Savorwit trades on anti-Dutch stereotypes as he attempts to use English confusion about Dutch to discredit its speakers, the way that Dutch works when the merchant returns ultimately affirms a linguistic correspondence between English and Dutch. The English audience can hear enough of its language in the boy’s speech to trust the English account spoken by his double-tongued father. After witnessing two of these Dutch exchanges, Sir Oliver pronounces himself ‘abus’d’ by Savorwit, but his final confirmation comes when he returns to the word ‘Gullder-goose,’ invented by Savorwit to demonstrate the copiousness required to translate Dutch into English. The Dutchman can offer only a figurative translation: ‘How? Gullder-goose? There’s no such thing in Dutch; it may be an ass in English’ (I.iii. 248–50). This translation definitively exposes Savorwit’s Dutch as a fiction. Sir Oliver admits that he has been gulled (and made a goose) by Gullder-goose: ‘Then I am that ass in plain English’ (I.iii. 251). Here, plain English shows Sir Oliver to be an ass, while the potentially troubling doubletongued Dutchman stands as reliable and authoritative. Linguistic complexity in No Wit is not a liability. Anthony Trollope notoriously complained that No Wit would appeal ‘to an audience devoid of all taste’ and that ‘the people with whom the reader is intended to sympathise are all bad,’ but this complaint forgets the (albeit minor) Dutch merchant.19 Perhaps the last character with whom an English audience would be expected to identify, his trade and linguistic credibility render him comprehensible and reliable and thereby invite the audience to identify with him against the play’s many dissemblers.

19 Quoted in Sarah Jayne Steen, Ambrosia in an Earthern Vessel: Three Centuries of Audience and Reader Response to the Works of Thomas Middleton (New York: AMS, 1993) 126.

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So while he temporarily offers a point of identification for the audience that makes audible productive similarities between Dutch and English, the Dutch merchant will ultimately move on to other trades in other towns, as the play’s plot and subplot spiral beyond him and his credibility as a commercial insider ceases to figure in the play’s action. His trade demands that he remain apart from the play’s social world, which becomes ever more convoluted when Lady Twilight herself returns. Temporarily, however, the Dutch merchant offered this mishmash of an English comedy the refreshing clarity of a reliable report, a report enabled by bilingualism. His speech allows English audiences to understand Dutch and to hear Savorwit’s mockery of Dutch speech, rather than Dutch itself, as ridiculous. This play participates in the ‘rehearsal of cultures’ that Steven Mullaney has identified as a key feature of early modern England’s imaginative encounter with the alien.20 Staging Dutch, Middleton lets an English actor wear a double tongue very much like the merchant’s own double tongue. The merchant’s double tongue allows him to trade in markets across Europe, and, most crucially, to know what happens in foreign cities. His tongue and his knowledge, both tied to his occupation as a merchant, cannot be discredited by Savorwit’s resort to stereotypes of Dutch drunkenness. The merchant thus makes the emissary’s position audible; he is heard as a figure who can cross borders. The stage allows emissaries to be represented and received by audiences based on how they sound. The emissary can thus make foreign sounds comprehensible and consumable for English audiences. Even though foreign speech was often offered as an object of laughter, by making foreign words meaningful to English audiences, foreign languages brought English playgoers into linguistic proximity with strange speakers and strange cultures. Not all strange-speaking characters on the English stage are as attractive and credible as Middleton’s Dutch merchant, but all are to some degree theatrical emissaries. Though they are played by English actors rehearsing foreign sounds, they still offer audiences meaningful aural engagement with the foreign, complicating linguistic borders by trading in words. The English consume foreign speech, buying what both the Dutch merchant and Middleton are selling: strange sounds as entertainment worth paying for. Middleton’s Dutch merchant goes one step further. Rather than simply making the foreign comprehensible and consumable, his speech trains audiences to hear better than his onstage auditors. He speaks past his fellow characters in the play, appealing to the ears of the playhouse audience and teaching them to hear the Dutch language as a marker of commercial credibility, something to be admired and respected rather than mocked.

20 S teven, M ullaney, The Place of the Stage: License, Play, and Power in Renaissance England (Chicago, 1988) 82.

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PART 4 T ransmission and T ransformation

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Chapter 10

‘Backward and Abysm of Time’: Negotiating with the Dead in The Tempest Brinda Charry

‘[T]here are deserts and wastes in times as in countries….’ —Francis Bacon, Novum Organum ‘Of bodies chang’d and other shapes I sing.’ —��������������� George S andys, Ovid’s Metamorphosis Englished (1632). 

While contests over space are certainly an important dimension of the social, time too, as Johannes Fabian points out, is a ‘constitutive dimension of social reality’ subject to ‘interpretative discourse.’ Consequently, narratives that assign cultures their place in the long ‘passage’ of time play an important role in our comprehension of attitudes to cultural otherness. I study Prospero, the protagonist of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as an emissary who negotiates between European self and foreign Other, as well as between past and present time, and examine the complex and interesting ways in which one kind of negotiation informs the other. Since The Tempest foregrounds the interplay of power and knowledge, and because Sycorax, who is identified as Prospero’s political and intellectual antagonist, is named as born in ‘Argier’ or Algiers, I isolate one aspect of the historic past that I believe is relevant to understanding the contest enacted in The Tempest—early modern attitudes to the role of Arab thinkers who transmitted scientific and mathematical learning to Europe in the middle ages. Transmission of people and ideas is a large part of the story of intercultural engagement, and cultures, even seemingly insular ones, are always already intercultural in more ways than one, born of and continually shaped by contact and movement. As Anthony Grafton and Ann Blair point out, not only is an understanding of the processes of transmission crucial to understanding culture, but transmission undermines the idea of culture

Francis Bacon, Novum Organum (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1952) 119. George S andys, Ovid’s Metamorphosis Englished. Book 1( London, 1632) sig. Ar.  J ohannes Fabian, Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes its Object (New York: Columbia UP, 1983) 24.  

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as organically unified and free of process. In this essay I do not focus as much on the actual transmission of Arab learning to Europe as on the changing attitudes to ‘foreign’ knowledges in the early modern period and the emerging ideology of Eurocentrism that arose in the context of early modern England’s encounter with the Muslim world. Since both transmission and transformation take place in time, I then read Shakespeare’s play as a narrative in which a Eurocentric discourse of cultural, intellectual, and moral progress is produced through a discursive management of time in such a way that the Other is assigned a location in the ‘passage of time’ (a location determined by the Self who may not transcend time, but is perceived as being favored by it, even having a certain degree of control over it) and rendered ineffectual by representing him / her as especially vulnerable to the transformations wrought by time. Scholars as Emissaries While the medieval myth of the idol-worshipping Saracen might have been largely discarded by many early modern European commentators, many Europeans still insisted on the intrinsic irrationality of Islam. Muslims are ‘addicted to sorceres and dreams,’ and are ‘naturally superstitious believers of dremes, prophecyes and Divinations’; the Quran is characterized by its ‘bad Rime ... and worse reason ... [it is a] confused and foolish … worke.’ Although the ancient Greeks themselves, as Martin Bernal points out, were conscious of their connections and debts to the ancient Orient and Africa, in this early modern vision it is Christian Europe that is the sole receptor of the Greek legacy of philosophical thought, the Other is outside of this heritage and therefore outside of R eason. T his idea in itself served to crystallize the difference between European and Muslim. However, this representation of Islam contradicted European knowledge of the rationalist Muslim thinkers of Baghdad and the Iberian peninsula such as alFarabi, Avicenna, Averroes, al-Ghazali, and Ibn Khaldun. Just as early modern politics had set in motion a system of diplomacy that charged ambassadors and messengers with establishing contact with other societies, the period between the tenth and fourteenth centuries saw Muslim thinkers playing the role of emissaries between ‘East’ and ‘West’ with scientific and mathematical knowledge serving as the currency of exchange. This activity transformed Europe into a contact zone whose intellectual heritage was shaped by extensive traffic with the Islamic world. A nthony Grafton and A nn Blair, The Transmission of Culture in Early Modern Europe (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1990) 3.  Samuel Purchas, Purchas, His Pilgrimage 3.2 (London, 1614) 295.  A ntoine Geuffry, The Order of the Great Turckes Courte. Trans. Richard Grafton (London, 1542) 524.  Purchas his Pilgrimage 3.2 250.  M artin Bernal, Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization (New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1987). 

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As numerous modern scholars of Western science and European intellectual history have pointed out, Arabic scientific work and Arabic translations of Greek thought played an essential role in the evolution of what has come to be called the European Renaissance, and ‘it was upon the legacy of knowledge from Islam that the scientific revolution in Europe largely grew.’10 If modern science is the product of ‘dialogues between the living and dead,’11 even important work such as Copernicus’s model of the solar system was based on work by Arab astronomers like Nasr ad-Did–al-Tusi (thirteenth century) and Ibn ash Shatir (fourteenth century).12 The distinctiveness of the European Renaissance has traditionally been understood in terms of the grand cultural and intellectual achievements of the period, but the story of the process of cultural traffic and exchange is as important as the story of culture itself, and the legacy of Spanish Arabs to the scientific cultures of medieval and early modern Europe is perhaps the best example of cultural intermingling and of the fact that ‘cultures are not impermeable ... never a matter of ownership, of borrowing and lending with absolute debtors and creditors but rather of appropriation, common experience, and interpretation.’13 S ee Charles Burnett, The Introduction of Arabic Learning into Britain (London: the British Library, 1997), C.I.B Schmitt, ‘Renaissance Averroism studied through the Venetian editions of Aristotle: Averroes,’ The Aristotelian Tradition and Renaissance Universities (Aldershot, 1984), H.A. Wolfson, ‘The Twice Revealed Averroes’ Speculum 36 (1961): 373–392, Paul Kristeller, Classics and Renaissance Thought (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1955), Howard Turner, Science in Medieval Islam (Austin: U of Texas P, 1997), Henry Winter, Eastern Science: An Outline of its Scope and Contribution (London: J. Murray, 1952), D.M. Dunlop, Arabic Science in the West (Karachi: Pakistan Historical Society, 1956), and Gerald MacLean, Reorienting the Renaissance (New York: Palgrave, 2005). However, many Western scholars contend that there was no original Arab science and Arab scholars did not go beyond their Greek heritage, they were merely ‘like a moon’ that ‘reflected the light of the Hellenic sun’ (Max Meyerhof, ‘Science and Medicine’ in The Legacy of Islam (Thomas Arnold ed., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1931) 311–356. 354. This point of view has been refuted by historians such as David Lindberg, The Beginnings of Western Science (Chicago: Chicago UP, 1992), and Osman Bakar The History and Philosophy of Islamic Science (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1999). 10 Winter, 86. 11 T ony H uff, The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003) 13. 12 See Mark Bernal, Black Athena, 156. The challenges to traditional histories of science that propound the idea of a ‘revolution’ or break from the past come from revisionist historians such as Bernal, Frances Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic tradition (London: Routledge, 1964), Margaret Osler, ‘The Canonical Imperative,’ Rethinking the Scientific Revolution (New York: Cambridge UP, 2000), and I.B. Cohen, Revolution in Science (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1985). For more traditional histories of European science see R obert M erton, Science, Technology and Society in 17th-century England (New York: H. Fertig, 1970, 1938), and Charles Webster, The Great Instauration: Science, Medicine and Reform 1626–1660 (New York: Holmes and Meir, 1976). 13 Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Knopf, 1993) 17. 

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Several early modern writers commenting from both within and outside the scholarly community did acknowledge Arab contribution to European learning. The English traveler William Biddulph concedes that ‘the Arabian tongue is a learned tongue wherin Avicen and many learned physicians have written much,’14 and Frenchman Jean Bruyerin Champier who translated Averroes writes that ‘when the great flourish of learning collapsed in Athens, and Gothic barbarity invaded the Roman empire, some Greek books of both the philosophers and physicians migrated to the Arabs, including the Moors and Spanish (who were held under the yoke of the Arabs and used their language and laws)—especially the books of Aristotle and Galen ... Thus it happened that [the Arabs] translated many volumes of ... authors from Greek into their own language. For it is known that the Arabs were most zealous in the study of the humanities….’15

If the tension between Arab tyranny (implied by Champier’s reference to ‘the yoke of the Arabs’) and Arab scholarship remains unresolved in Champier’s text, English traveler George Sandys is also faced with the dilemma of accounting for the Arab Avicenna’s intellectual accomplishments. Because, for Sandys, the ‘rational Muslim’ is a paradox, even an impossibility, he distinguishes Avicenna’s intellectual accomplishments from his religious identity. Sandys writes that ‘Avicen that great philosopher and Physician who flourished about 450 yeeres since when Mahometisme had not yet utterly extinguished all good literature ...’ had, later in his career, ‘laid downe for a while his outward person of a Mahmetan,’ and made a ‘flat opposition between the truth of their faith received from their prophet.’16 While it would clearly be an exaggeration to imply that Arab scientific learning was (or even reasonably could) be discarded by the European scholastic community, there was also a growing tendency to see the European intellectual heritage as distinct from the Arab one. While this tendency is especially apparent in the writings of ‘non-academic’ commentators, there are signs of it even in scholarly circles. As Charles Burnett argues, in spite of major translation efforts in Oxford in the middle of the sixteenth century, ‘the Greek and Arabic element [in the old texts] were gradually being separated from each other,’ and although translations continued to be produced and Arabic continued to be studied, ‘at the same time it marks the end of a period in which Arabic authors were regarded as important for assimilating the knowledge which made man wise.’17 Francis Bacon, perhaps the best known of early modern English philosophers of scientific learning who privileged an active engagement with nature over an uncritical acceptance of past learning because ‘truth is best discovered by the light of nature not received from the darkness of the William Biddulph, The Voyages of Certain Englishmen, into Africa, Asia, Troy, Bythinia,Thracis and the Black Sea (London, 1608) 47. 15 Cited in Charles Burnett, ‘The Second Revelation of Arabic Philosophy and Science 1492–1562,’ Islam and the Italian Renaissance (London: The Warburg Institute, 1999) 185–99. 193–4. 16 George S andys, Relation of a Journey begun An Dom 1610 (London, 1627) 59–60. 17 Burnett, ‘Second Revelation,’ 196, 197. 14

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past,’18 does concede that ‘antiquity deserved that reverence, that men should make a stand thereupon and discover what is the best way but when the discovery is well taken, then to make progression.’19 However, while Bacon does acknowledge the Greek contribution to learning he ignores the Arabic one: ... out of twenty-five centuries with which the memory or learning of man are conversant, scarcely six can be set apart as fertile in science and favorable to its progress. For there are deserts and wastes in times as in countries, and we can only reckon up three revolutions and epochs of philosophy. The Greek, the Roman, our own, that is the philosophy of western nations of Europe.20

While Bacon’s own empiricism is very much in the Arab tradition, he seems inclined to consider the Greek heritage and Christianity as solely responsible for predisposing Europe to rationality. The Christian religion, Bacon argues, is more in tune with reason because it represents: the golden mediocrity in this point between the law of the heathen and the law of Mahumet which have embraced the two extremes. For the religion of the heathens had no constant belief or confession, but left all to the liberty of argument, and the religion of Mahomet, one the other side interdicteth argument altogether: the one having the very face of error, and the other of imposture; whereas the [Christian] Faith doth both admit and reject disputation and difference.’21

Christianity is therefore seen to reproduce in its systems of belief the systems central to the new science; it is simultaneously the cause and effect of ‘better reason’ and will be the moving force behind a glorious new age ‘fertile in science and favorable to its progress.’ This tendency to view Europe as privileged heir to the tradition of rationality, and the denial of intercultural engagement in the production of learning contributed to a reconstruction of the history of Europe and the Muslim world in which Europe is defined as culturally distinct from the Islamic ‘orient.’ Thus was invented what Samir Amin describes as the ‘eternal west unique since its moment of origin.’22 Silencing Sycorax Shakespeare’s play The Tempest (1611) was written at an important moment in Western intellectual history. As John Mebane points out, it was one among a 18 Bacon, ‘The Refutation of Philosophies.’ The Philosophy of Francis Bacon: An Essay on its Development from 1603–1609 with new translations of fundamental texts. Ed. and trans. Benjamin. Farrington (Chicago: The U of Chicago P, 1964) 121. 19 Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning (London: Oxford UP, 1966) 37–8. 20 Francis Bacon, Novum Organum (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1952) 119. 21 Francis Bacon, Advancement, Book 2, 245. 22 S amir A min, Eurocentrism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1989) 89.


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number of plays dealing with magic that were written between the 1580s and 1620s, a period that witnessed witchcraft trials, Giordano Bruno’s visit to Oxford (in 1603), and the publication of several works on alchemy, mathematics and Hermeticism.23 My reading of the play draws from those studies, which have concerned themselves with the nature of Prospero’s ‘potent art’24 (its legitimacy and virtue, or conversely its affiliation with malevolent black magic25), as well as more recent critical work, which perceives the play as ‘imbricated within the discourse of colonialism.’26 Knowledge (of magic) is itself a site for negotiation with alterity in the play and the island becomes a space where both social identity and the nature of learning are reconfigured. Prospero mediates between the island and the Europeans who land on it, even as he mediates between modes of knowledge which are represented as affiliate as well as incompatible. If read in the historical context of the traffic of scientific knowledge discussed above, the relations between ‘self’ and ‘Other’ in Shakespeare’s play are informed by the relationship between the exotic and the esoteric, and the link between knowledge and power—both the epistemological basis of power as theorized by Foucault, and the manner in which notions of what constitutes knowledge itself are themselves socially produced. Writing in the postcolonial context, Poonam Pillai argues for the need to recenter ‘non-Western epistemological systems that have become marginal through the project of Western modernity.’27 Though the early modern historical context is clearly different from that which Pillai is most concerned with, the epistemological concerns of The Tempest, as B.J. Sokol points out, are perennial in several ways.28 The play’s enactment of the clash of knowledge systems is as enduring as, and is clearly connected to, its territorial and other conflicts. 23 J ohn M ebane, Renaissance Magic and the Return of the Golden Age: The Occult Tradition and Marlowe, Jonson, and Shakespeare (Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1989) 6. 24 William Shakespeare, The Tempest. V.i.50. All quotations taken from The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt, Walter Cohen, Jean Howard, and Katherine E. Maus (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997). All future references to the play will be cited parenthetically. 25 See, for example, Walter Curry, ‘Sacerdotal Science in Shakespeare’s The Tempest,’ Shakespeare’s Philosophical Patterns (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1937) 163–99; Patrick Grant, ‘The Magic of Prospero,’ Review of English Studies 27 (1976): 1–16; D’ Orsay W. Pearson, ‘“Unless I be Reliev’d by Prayer” The Tempest in Perspective,’ Shakespeare Survey 12 (1979), 195–213; and Robert West, ‘Ceremonial Magic in The Tempest,’ Shakespeare Essays (Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 1965) 63–78. 26 Francis Barker and Peter Hulme, ‘“Nymphs and Reapers Heavily Vanish”: The Discursive Con-Texts of The Tempest,’ Alternative Shakespeares. Ed. John Drakakis (New York: Methuen, 1985) 204. 27 Poonam Pillai, ‘Feminism and the Problem of Epistemic Displacement: Reconstructing Indigenous Theories,’ On your Left: The New Historical Materialism (New York: New York UP, 1996) 206–247. 28 B.J. Sokol, A Brave New World of Knowledge: Shakespeare’s T he T empest and Early Modern Epistemology (Cranbury, NJ: Associated UP, ca. 2003) 30.

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R eading The Tempest in the light of the traffic of knowledge also allows for an understanding of the literary text itself functioning, in Stephen Greenblatt words, as ‘a structured negotiation and exchange’ between ‘one culturally demarcated zone and the other.’ While the fantasy setting of the play insists on the demarcation between the real on the one hand and the fictive on the other, the literary functions as a mode of ‘metaphorical acquisition’ where parallels, similarities, and similitudes between representation and the ‘real’ are teased out.29 The historical material is clearly, almost inevitably, transformed with a view to literary and theatrical effect, but the conditions and manner of transformation are informed by the social context. While I do not intend to make a simple connection between the changing nature of the engagement between Europe and Arab science outlined above, and the contest of knowledges in The Tempest, the historical tensions do offer what Stephen Greenblatt elsewhere describes as a code ‘of interlocking tropes and similitudes’30 that inform our understanding of the play. Jerry Brotton, Rachna Sachdev, and Barbara Fuchs, among others, have argued that it is problematic to dismiss the old-world references in The Tempest.31 T he play is, in Brotton’s words, ‘inflected with English involvement in the trade and diplomacy of the Mediterranean world.’32 Fuchs argues that what is at stake in the play’s engagement with Barbary is Islam’s ‘military might.’33 However, in a play where power is clearly linked to knowledge (of magic) it is not entirely possible to dismiss Sycorax’s status as witch as purely metaphorical. Denise Albanese’s study of the play makes the important move of explicitly linking the theme of magic to early modern voyages of discovery and examines the ways in which gender as well as the colonialist aspects of the New World location of the play inform the power of Prospero’s magic.34 But then, Sycorax is from the ‘old world.’ She is the witch born ‘in Argier’ or Algiers—a city that had been brought under OttomanTurkish rule in the 1530s (I.ii. 313). In an era when Europeans were experiencing more frequent and sustained encounters with foreign cultures, the opposition between ‘civilization’ and ‘savagery’ was often evoked to delineate boundaries between 29 S tephen Greenblatt, Shakespearean Negotiations (Berkeley: U of California P, 1988) 6, 7, 11. 30 Stephen Greenblatt, ‘Fiction and Friction.’ Reconstructing Individualism: Autonomy, Individuality, and Self in Western Thought. Ed. T homas H eller, M orton S osna, and D avid E. Wellbery (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1986) 30–52, 46. 31 Jerry Brotton, ‘“This Tunis, sir, was Carthage”: Contesting Colonialism in The Tempest,’ Post-colonial Shakespeares. Eds. Ania Loomba and Martin Orkin. (New York: Routledge, 1998) 23–42, Barbara Fuchs, ‘Conquering Islands: Contextualizing The Tempest,’ Shakespeare Quarterly 48.1, (1996–1997): 45–62. Rachna Sachdev, ‘Sycorax in Algiers: Cultural Politics and Gynecology in Early Modern England,’ Feminist Companion to Shakespeare. Ed. Dympna Callaghan (Malden: Blackwell, 2000) 208–25. 32 Brotton, 24. 33 Fuchs, 61. 34 Denise Albanese. ‘Admiring Miranda and Enslaving Nature.’ New Science, New World (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1996) 59–91.

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self and O ther. Greenblatt reads The Tempest as enacting the encounter between so-called ‘lettered’ and ‘unlettered’ cultures. The scientific and technical knowhow of Europeans was apparently perceived as ‘magic’ by New World natives and used to terrorize them.35 However, Muslim peoples were clearly not perceived as unlettered. In fact, as the relatively open-minded English traveler Henry Blount maintains, it is simply part of the ‘vanitie of Nations to esteeme themselves civiler and more ingenous ... than other people ... in disdain of whose follies they term barbarous and beastly stupidity.’36 However different the Ottomans might have been ‘the cultural difference between it [the ‘Orient’] and Europe,’ as Ania Loomba puts it, ‘could not be explained as one between unlettered and lettered cultures. The East was not, at least not then, Europe’s silent ‘other.’ Colonial discourse might subsequently have muffled the voice of colonized people around the world but the process of silencing differs.’37 Imagining the possibilities the New World holds for Europeans, Richard Eden writes: ‘the gentiles lyving only after the lawe of nature may well be likened to a smoothe and bare table unpainted, or a white paper unwritten upon the which you may at fyrste paynte or wryte what you lyste, as you can not upon tables aready paynted, unlesse you rose or blot owt the fyrste forms.’38 T he island of The Tempest is no ‘bare table unpainted’ as Sycorax’s presence has already left its mark. The representation of the New World as tabula rasa was purely an European fantasy of course, but early modern Europeans knew all too well that in the case of North Africa and the Levant such a fantasy could not even be reasonably articulated. Far from being a ‘paper unwritten upon’ these locations clearly bore the inscription of centuries. What was needed then was to ‘blot owt the fyrste formes,’ to erase the cultural and intellectual heritage of these foreign spaces. This process of silencing Sycorax’s voice in an isle which is, so Caliban tells us, ‘is full of noises’ (III.ii. 130), is a literary rendition of the historical silencing of competing knowledge systems, and it can be said of silencing or erasure what Michel de Certaeu said of forgetting—‘it ... is not something passive.’39 One way The Tempest actively enacts erasure and silencing is by employing the language of mutability or alteration.

S tephen Greenblatt, Learning to Curse: Essays in Early Modern Culture (New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1992) 23. 36 H enry Blount, A Voyage Into the Levant (London: 1650) 197–8. 37 Ania Loomba, ‘Shakespeare and Cultural Difference,’ Alternative Shakespeares, Vol 2. Ed. Terence Hawkes (New York: Routledge, 1996) 164–91. 176. 38 Richard Eden, ‘The Preface to the Reader,’ The Decades of the New World (London: 1555) sig. C4v. 39 Michel de Certeau, ‘Psychoanalysis and its History,’ Heterologies: Discourse on the Other. Trans. Brian Maossumi (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1986) 3. 35

‘Backward and Abysm of Time’


‘Of bodies chang’d40 The traffic of goods, ideas, and knowledge inevitably involves transformation. In other words, intercultural engagement leads to complex, multiple, sometimes unpredictable, changes in the identity of the parties involved. In Richard Eden’s vision of the ‘new world’ this transformation is controlled and one-sided. Transformation is wrought by painting or writing ‘what you lyste’ onto the blank canvas that is the Other. In The Tempest Prospero’s transactions with the inhabitants of the island aim specifically at discursively subjecting them to alteration while keeping himself intact. Further, forgetting and erasing the Others’ powers in the play are a result of narrative labor particularly linked to alteration in and through time. Daniel Vitkus, Jonathan Burton and others have pointed out that conversion to Islam or ‘turning Turk’ is both an important historical phenomenon and a central trope in narratives that deal with the Anglo-Islamic encounter. Conversion to Islam signaled the ‘cultural flexibility, mobility and adaptability’41 of the Englishman in the Levant, even as it was perceived as ‘an act of betrayal and subversion.’42 While The Tempest clearly does not deal with religious conversion, ‘turning’ can still be linked to the ways in which the structures of domination that the play narrates are articulated. After all, as we all well know, if there is a standard magician’s trick, it is that of transformation. Renaissance practitioners of magic linked transformation to language; the Hermetic philosopher Agrippa, for example, writes that language itself had a transformative power and words can, in Agrippa’s words, ‘change not only the hearer, but also other bodies and things that have no life.’43 T ransformation is also a traditional literary trope which Shakespeare exploits in The Tempest to achieve multiple effects. The language in the play signifies and performs change— spirits appear and then are returned to thin air, a ‘strange fish’ turns out to be a man, people change, traitors repent their treachery, and Miranda falls in love (II.ii. 26). Prospero’s magic is the prime agent of this physical and psychological alteration. In Ariel’s words ‘not a soul … was so firm, so constant … that this coil / would not infect his reason (I.i. 208–9). Memory is itself a shaping power and also a shaped one. ‘Canst thou remember / A time before we came unto this cell?’ Prospero asks Miranda, and then proceeds to give her his version of the past (I.ii. 38–9). Sycorax is, of course, part of Prospero’s narrative and it is significant that her memory is deliberately kept alive rather than repressed. As Prospero tells Ariel: ‘I must once in a month recount what thou hast been / Which thou forget’st’ (I.ii. 264–5). Through the play Prospero attempts to control both Miranda’s and Ariel’s George S andys, Ovid’s Metamorphosis Englished. Book 1(London, 1632) sig. Ar. Daniel J. Vitkus, Turning Turk: English Theater and the Multicultural Mediterranean, 1570–1630 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) 22. 42 J onathan Burton, Traffic and Turning: Islam and the English Drama, 1579–1624 (Newark, DE: U of Delaware P, 2005) 16. 43 From De occulta philosophia, cited in Judith Anderson, Words that Matter: Linguistic Perception in Renaissance English (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1986) 139. 40


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consciousness of time. In turn he represents Sycorax as having been subject to the radical and debilitating transformation wrought by time, she was, we are told, ‘with age and envy’ ‘grown into a hoop’ (I.ii. 259–60). While there is no implication that Prospero was an agent in this transformation of Sycorax, he still draws attention to it, emphasizes it, and has an explanation for it. Sycorax’s transformation is a horrifying deformation and this is a sign as well as effect of time (her ‘age’), even as the transformation wrought by time is connected to the degeneration and mutilation brought about by her evil and spiteful nature (her ‘envy’). What’s more, the discourse of her degeneration is continuous with her ethnic identity. If moral self-government was considered essential for the success of the early modern alchemist and magician, the Algerian witch’s lack of self-regulation contributed to her deformation. Transformation (both material and spiritual) also interested George Sandys, the Englishman who traveled to the Levant. In his translation of Ovid’s Metamorphosis, which he possibly worked on even as he traveled across the Levant and North Africa, Sandys returns to the theme. His Preface emphasizes the dangers of metamorphosis: those who ‘forsake faire Intelligence / To follow Passion and voluptuous sense / that shun the Path and Toyles of Hercules ... / Themselves deforme ... .’44 In Sandys’ rather moralistic interpretation of Ovid, spiritual and physical alteration are continuous; as in the case of the ‘hooped’ Sycorax, sensuality and evil lead to deformation and degeneration. S imilarly, early modern European writing on Turkey and the region’s intellectual heritage often referred to change and remarkable alteration. Samuel Purchas, for instance, laments the fall of Constantinople, a city that was ‘compendium of the world, eye of cities, heart of the habitable world, academie of learning ...,’ into Turkish Ottoman hands. The city’s ‘ancient greatness’ is sadly a thing of the past and if Constantinople is great at all in the present, it is ‘onely in miserie and mischief’ because it is now subject to the ‘ridiculous and blasphemous Mahometisme ...’ and the modern visitor can only ‘preach thy [the city’s] funeral knell and ring thy knell to succeeding ages.’45 Sandys’ commentary on the degeneration of Turkey specifically focuses on the decline of the knowledge of the arts and sciences: The parts I speak of are the most renowned countries and kingdoms: once the seats of most glorious and triumphant empires ... the places where Nature hath produced her wonderful works; where Arts and science have been invented and perfited, where wisdome, vertue, policy and civility have been planted, have flourished..., and lastly where God himselfe descended to become man ... Which countries once so glorious, and famous for their happy estate are now through vice and ingratitude, become the most deplored spectacles of extreme miserie, the wild beasts of mankind having broken in upon them, and rooted out all civilitie, and the pride of the starne and barbarous Tyrant possessing the thrones of ancient and just dominion, who aiming only at the height of 44 45

Sandys, ‘The Mind of the Frontispeece,’ Ovids Metamorphosis Englished. Purchas his Pilgrimage 3.13, 315.

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greatness and sensualitie, hath in tract of time reduced so great and goodlie a part to that lamentable distresse and servitude under which ... it now faints and groaneth ... no light of learning permitted, no vertue cherished, violence and rapine insulting[sic] over all ... which calamities ... are to the rest of the world as threatening instructions.46

In Sandys’ narrative the Levant and North Africa are the holy lands, they were also the great cultural and intellectual centers of the world, ‘where Arts and Sciences have been invented and perfited.’ However, the language of both physical and moral degeneration dominate the text’s representation of the present state of these regions—the lands have in the ‘tract of time’ become now ‘lamentable,’ ‘reduced,’ ‘desolate,’ ‘become ruines,’ ‘extinguished,’ and the oppression of ‘true Religion’ is indication and consequence of the fact that ‘no light of learning [is] permitted.’ However, the picture of cultural and intellectual ruin is in marked contrast to the Ottoman’s political ascendancy, the ‘pride’ of the conqueror of ‘the thrones of ancient and just dominion’ stands undiminished. Sandys makes haste to discredit this by informing us that the Ottomans’ ascendancy is only in martial prowess and ‘sensualtie.’ The ‘Turk’ is ‘the sterne and barbarous Tyrant’ who stands apart from the cultural and intellectual heritage of the lands he rules—indeed, Sandys seems to imply, the tyranny and despotism of the Ottomans is allowed to prevail partly because of the ignorance and illiteracy of the people he rules over. The ‘Turk’ is the philistine, the barbaric usurper, who is sans history and sans tradition, responsible for wiping out, rather than nurturing, learning and the arts. This extract attests to the fact that even as the Western traveler dwelt on cultural ruin and degeneration, he attempted to create a predictable narrative scheme to counter what was (from his perspective) a destabilizing social and political force. The movement from glory to ruin is a recognizable, preordained pattern. In spite of the ‘Turk’s’ political might, his cultural and intellectual contributions are either erased or relegated to the past. Brian Turner argues that this way of conceiving of the development of history is central to ‘orientalist’ thinking: It presumes that ‘social development is caused by characteristics which are internal to society’ and that ‘the historical development of society is either an evolutionary process or a gradual decline.’47 In this dichotomous scheme Europe progresses while the ‘orient’ declines or stagnates. The Other as Fabian also points out, is not only represented as perpetually ‘caught in a dilapidated present,’ but also as being blind to the alterations time has wrought in him.48 T he European self on the other hand has insight into the ebb and flow of history, he travels time in one sense, just as he traverses and even ‘discovers’ space, and in doing so he implicitly lays claim to both the present and the future. The present is conceived of as a chaos out of which the European traveler produces order. Unsettling as the pattern of Sandys, ‘Preface to the Reader,’ Relation of a Journey, sig. A2r–B1v Brian T urner, Marx and the End of Orientalism (London: Croom Helm, 1986) 81. 48 Fabian, 10. 46 47

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mobility and mutability is, it can happily be interpreted as a turn taken in the direction of Western ascendancy. The Tempest too hints at a similar degeneration of classical lands when Gonzalo tells his companions ‘This Tunis, sir, was Carthage’ (II.i. 80). Though he is mocked by the others, he is at least somewhat right. As Stephen Orgel points out: ‘Gonzalo is correct in the sense that, although Carthage and Tunis were always separate cities, after the destruction of Carthage Tunis took its place as the political and commercial center of the region.’49 Early modern travelers including William Lithgow not only reiterate that ‘Tunis is the place where old Carthage stood,’ but also insist that because the city is under Turkish Ottoman rule at present it is in ‘no way answerable to the fixe point of the greatness it had before.’50 Very soon after Gonzalo’s puzzling comment the princess Claribel’s marriage to the Tunisian prince is criticized. Alonso’s daughter, we realize, is not only married to a dark-skinned foreigner, her bridegroom also represents the terrible force responsible for the destruction of Naples’ (and the rest of Europe’s) heritage. Apart from this reference, The Tempest as theatrical and literary text adapts the contextual historical discourse of transformation, both European ascendancy and Muslim decline. The play takes this material and enacts the seemingly archetypal and mythical movement from chaos to order (a pattern whose aesthetic and theatrical appeal possibly lies in its comforting familiarity and predictability), with Prospero’s magic working to bring about this transformation. The other North African in the play, Sycorax, plays a dual role in this drama of alteration. She, like the Muslims, has the terrifying potential to transmute and alter beyond recognition (after all, Europeans persisted in the belief that Muslims actually forced Christian men to ‘turn Turk,’ so making them victims of moral and spiritual deformation) and her power fulfils itself through her knowledge of magic. However, this magic, as generations of commentators have pointed out, is discomfortingly similar to Prospero’s own brand of knowledge. Magic is not a stable category, on the other hand it is simultaneously honorable and morally suspect. Prospero gets around this dangerous and disturbing slipperiness of magic only by rendering it an agent of positive transmutation. Prospero’s knowledge produces subjects for domination by transforming them, even as his knowledge recasts itself as legitimate knowledge. Contact with a cultural and racial alterity in the magic space of the island serves to quicken this transformation. Prospero’s brother Antonio proved the shrewder politician of the two while in Milan partly because he had had the powers of ‘turning’ men. He won over Prospero’s supporters and ‘chang’d ‘em / Or else new form’d ‘em’ (I.ii. 82–3). Though Antonio might be condemned otherwise, he has mastered the art of orchestrating mobility in his comrades and subjects. His ability to alter people is creative, even rather fascinating. These skills are in the final analysis celebrated in the play and are an integral aspect of the art of political management that Prospero 49 50

Stephen Orgel, n.82, The Tempest (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1987). William Lithgow, Rare Adventures and Painefull Peregrinations (London, 1632) 356.

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learns from his worldly brother. Prospero’s magic quickens men into mobility and action, and the trajectory of change is carefully calculated and controlled by him. The discomfiting power that Muslims had to ‘turn’ men is countered here by ‘turning’ Sycorax herself, representing her as deformed into a ‘hoop.’ This representation serves to discredit and erase her power. The degeneration of Sycorax, when read in the context of the so-called degeneration of Eastern cultures is a way to ‘blot out the first formes’ (as Eden put it), and a way of making up for the threat posed by the world of Algiers to Europeans. The discourse of degeneration was an especially effective form of control when it came to negotiating with ‘other knowledges,’ including the past intellectual contribution of Muslims. Francis Bacon’s essay An Advertisement Touching a Holy War (1622–1623, published 1629), argues that the ‘Turks’ are ‘without letters, arts, or sciences ... this nation hath made the garden of the world a wilderness.’51 Purchas writes that although Persia was the home of the wise magi in the past, modern Persians ‘have few books and lesse learning.’52 T he Egyptians, Sandys points out, ‘had first invented Arithmetick, Musick and Geometry and ... found out the course of the sunne and the stars, their constellations, risings, aspects and influences ... ’ However, Egyptian cities such as Alexandria only ‘flourished until the Mahometans subdued Egypt and subverted all excellence with their barbarousness.’ Islam itself could only be set up as opposed to learning; where that religion ‘is planted,’ writes Sandys, it ‘roots out all virtue, all wisedome and science ... laying the earth to waste, dispeopled and uninhabited.’ Into Something Rich and Strange ... Alteration takes place in the dense medium of time, and the flow of time is itself marked and defined by changes in bodies, personalities, and societies; all beings are subject to the ‘changing times,’ and human consciousness of change and of time are more-or-less inseparable. These early modern narratives’ negotiation with alterity is simultaneously an engagement with past and future time. Historically time has been interpreted as what Fabian calls ‘a quality of states.’ Terminology such as ‘peoples without history,’ ‘traditional,’ ‘old-fashioned,’ and ‘modern’ are ways of placing cultures and peoples in relation to the movement of time.53 This placement has far-reaching implications for the construction of cultural difference. The Muslim world is relegated to the past, its present is characterized by degeneration and decay. The vibrant future, on the other hand, belongs to the West. At the dawn of the seventeenth century prophets heralded the new millennium as the dawn of a new age. The idea of spiritual renewal translated itself in the field 51 Bacon, Francis, ‘Advertisement Touching Holy War.’ The Works of Francis Bacon. Vol 2. Ed. James Spedding, Robert Leslie Ellis, and Douglas Denon Heath (Boston: Brown and Taggard, 1863) 28 52 Purchas his Pilgrimage, 4.9, 390. 53 Fabian, 23.

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of intellectual inquiry into that of ‘progress.’ Although ‘progress,’ particularly ‘scientific progress,’ is usually seen as a feature of nineteenth-century European thinking, the beliefs and ideals associated with the notion go back to the sixteenth century.54 Richard Eden is one of the many early modern Englishmen who express his belief in the age as marked by remarkable growth and advancement: ‘our age may seeme not only to contend with the Ancients many goodly inventions of Art and wit, far to exceede them.’55 Narratives of progress, as Eric Wolfe points out turn history ‘into a moral success story ... a tale about the furtherance of virtue.’56 As European authors visualized a glorious future, they were not only implying continuity with a glorious (classical) past, but also a disjuncture with other cultures and spaces. Thus the discourse of progress is created in opposition to Eastern degeneration, and if the period ‘saw the emergence of a new faith in the potential of human initiative,’57 it was a confidence in the intellectual potential of the European (male) rather than in humanity in general. England was, the English liked to claim, the new cultural center of the world, the new Athens. The old Athens, Purchas writes is ‘long since dead. The true Athens and helicon are come into our Westerne parts….Even here now behold a British Athens.’58 In contrast, the Ottomans’ destiny was charted out differently. They would be banished to a devastated temporal zone, one of the ‘deserts and wastes in times’ that Bacon refers to. If early modern historiography and conception of time in general were marked by a transition from medieval notions of divine time to relatively ‘secular’ notions of time, and if ‘explanations of events in terms of their first cause in divine providence were giving way to Machiavellian analyses of second causes—the effects of political situations and the impact of human will and capabilities,’59early modern European perception of the cause of the imminent fall of the Ottomans is contingent upon European dynamism and is also determined by divine providence—as Italian diplomat Lorenzo Bernardo wrote, ‘there is a law of nature that the same force of nature which caused a thing to grow must keep it alive when mature. If the Ottoman Empire rose so high ... then when it lacks its wings it will

S ee R obert N isbet, History of the Idea of Progress (New York: Basic Books, 1969) and J .B. Bury, The Idea of Progress: An Inquiry into its Origin and Growth (New York: Dover Publications, 1955). 55 Richard Eden, ‘Dedication,’ Jean Taisnier, A Very Necessarie and Profitable Booke Concerning Navigation. Trans. Richard Eden. (London, 1579). 56 Eric Wolf, Europe and the People without History (Berkeley: U of California P, 1982) 5. 57 Keith T homas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (New York: Charles Scribner Sons, 1971) 65. 58 Purchas his Pilgrimage, Book 3.14 316. Camden also describes Oxford University as ‘our most noble Athens’ Britannia, Trans. Philomen. Holland (London, 1632) 256. 59 Phyllis Rackin, Stages of History: Shakespeare’s English Chronicles (Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1990) 6. Also see Fred Jacob Levy, Tudor Historical Thought (San Marino, CA: Huntingdon Library, 1967). 54

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surely fall.’60 Though the decline of classical cultures is at least partly attributed to the ambition and malevolence of the Ottomans, the political fall of the Ottomans themselves is seen as an act of nature and divine providence. Prospero’s negotiation with time results in his conquering the present and appropriating the past. Miranda’s knowledge of the ‘the dark backward and abysm of time...,’ is mediated by Prospero, who also reminds both Miranda and Ariel that he is responsible for the renewal of their lives and fortunes (I.ii. 50). The future is won by controlling the manner and direction of alteration, indicating that transformation wrought by time is neither arbitrary nor will it lead to lead to total annihilation. The world turns meaningfully and towards a purpose. The play does not directly reproduce the discourse of European progress, instead it rewrites it as moral reform thereby implicitly connecting social progress with virtue. In this moral scheme of history the ‘virtuous’ triumph because they are virtuous and ‘history is the working out of a moral purpose in time....’61 The ‘positive’ transmutations that the play enacts are set up against the impurity and degeneration of the witch from Algiers. Self-definition in the play emerges from distinguishing the impure from the pure, excluding the former and thereby establishing boundaries between the outside and the inside. The word ‘tempest’ itself connotes purification. As John Mebane points out, it is a term from alchemy that denotes ‘a boiling process which removes impurities from base metal which facilitates its transformation into gold.’62 The shipwrecked Italians in the play are transformed for the better. Their ‘candied consciences’ are de-congealed, the sea ‘belch [es] up’ the ‘men of sin’ in a self-cleansing, purging act (and we discover soon enough that this too is not merely ‘natural’ but a result of Prospero’s magical manipulations) to land them on the island and effect their further transformation (II.i. 286), (III.iii. 78, 81). Prospero orders and manages difference first by depicting Sycorax as irreversibly transformed by her own evil and then reforming his European enemies. Similarly, Prospero’s knowledge effects its own transformation. In his days as Duke of Milan, Prospero’s knowledge had served as an agent of change in contradictory ways. It had resulted in the ‘bettering of my mind,’ but was also responsible for him becoming ‘dedicated to closeness’ or seclusion (I.ii. 90). It was this reclusive quality of Prospero’s pursuits that led to his political downfall. Prospero’s knowledge in the preisland days was then a paradoxical admixture of the unchanging and the dynamic. It is the enchanted space of the island, liminal in that it is both the ‘old world’ that needs to be liberated and conquered from new upstart forces, and a ‘new world’ in that it allows for rewriting of the past and for the hope held by new beginnings, that Prospero’s magic becomes transformative, productive, and creative in that it brings new subjects into being. While apparently neither age nor 60 Lorenzo Bernardo, ‘Its Decline May Now Be Under Way.’ Pursuit of Power: Venetian Ambassadors ‘Reports on Spain, Turkey, and France in the Age of Philip II, 1560–1600. Ed. and trans. James C. Davis (New York: Harper and Row, 1970) 156–66. 61 Wolf, 5. 62 M ebane, Renaissance Magic, 181.


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the envy he has been harboring against his enemies turns Prospero into a hoop or anything comparable, his magic is transformed into a mode of learning defined by its virtue, but also by its pragmatism and wordliness. It is a mode of knowledge that has the greater moral and social good in view. By aligning itself with positive forces and so purging itself of all kinship with Sycorax, Milanese magic reinvents itself on this unnamed island and is untouched by the dark knowledges of Algiers and similar territories. By reincarnating his own magic and discursively ‘turning’ Sycorax into a hoop deformed by the decay wrought by time and villainy, the play rejects all association with Sycorax’s learning. The vocabulary of transmutation works to restore Prospero to power, his magic to legitimacy, and also serves to further reinscribe the difference between himself and the likes of Sycorax and Caliban. Theater itself serves as an emissary, an instrument of exchange that transmits mythologies of racial and cultural difference. By staging the power of Prospero’s knowledge and the clash between the virtuous and dynamic Self and the degenerate Other, theater becomes a potent form of knowledge that transforms and ‘reforms’ its audience. What Louis Montrose describes as the ‘social productivity’ of literary texts, that is, the role of fictions in shaping a social consciousness, is linked to their transformative capability.63 While critics of the theater feared that the ‘cozening devices’ of the stage would ‘turn’ the public by corrupting them, because plays ‘move wholly to imitation,’64 apologists for the theater also appealed to its transformative power. Thomas Heywood writes that ‘lively and wellspirited action’ ‘hath the power to new mold the harts of spectators and fashion them to shape of any noble attempt.’65 The Tempest too, through its enactment of alteration and change, constructs the real in such powerful, enchanting ways that the construction itself affects change in the audience who define Self and Other in relation to the modes of alterity the play stages. T heater, the play seems to suggest, is a powerful negotiator between stage and spectator, home and the world, past, present, and future time. However, the exact nature of the effects of time—and Prospero—remains unclear. While Caliban, like his mother, is seen as heading toward degeneration and deformation (‘as with age his body uglier grows / So his mind cankers ...’) the play implies that he always dwells just beyond the reach of the transformative powers of magic. He is, in Prospero’s words, ‘a born devil on whose nature / Nurture can never stick’ (III.iii. 78, 81), (IV.i. 188–9). Worse still, he transforms in ways that defy management; we’re told that attempts to teach him language have provided him means ‘to curse.’ Caliban’s transformation is perverse and

63 Louis Montrose, ‘Renaissance Literary Studies and the Subject of History,’ ELR 16.1 (1986): 5–12. 9. 64 Petition from Lord Mayor and Aldermen to Privy Council, July 28th 1597. CSP IV 321. 65 Thomas Heywood, An Apology for Actors (London, 1612).

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threatening, from Prospero’s perspective, in that it can be self-directed.66 Besides Caliban also evades memory-management, he persists in clinging to his own version of history. Similarly, there are moments in the play when Sycorax retains her power and influence. The very fear of the contagious is simultaneously an acknowledgment that it is contiguous, after all the fear of contamination is itself clearly a function of awareness of proximity and similarity rather than of absolute difference. As the sociologist Durkheim writes, ‘the pure and the impure are not separate classes but two varieties of the same class ... there is no break of continuity between these two opposed forms ... the pure is made out of the impure ... .’67 The fact that the Algerian Sycorax is present at all in Prospero’s memory (he insists on reminding Ariel about her), and the fact that when he recalls her it is with a disturbance and anger that seem excessive given she is no longer alive, might indicate his kinship to her. Distancing and disfiguring Sycorax has the inevitable effect of distorting one’s own identity and history. Purification and purging of any sort wards off infection, as Gail Kern Paster reminds us, purging itself ‘threatened bodily boundaries and self mastery of the subject.’68 The play admits its awareness of how intrinsic the Other is to the self when Prospero says of Caliban ‘this thing of darkness I / Acknowledge mine’ (V.i. 277–8). The statement distances Caliban and constructs him as different and inferior but simultaneously signals a possible breakdown of categories that the play as a whole refuses to explicitly enact. This line also acknowledges a sense of kinship born of the awareness that Sycorax (and the culture she represents) is part of both their heritages and ought to figure in (to quote the playwright’s words in his sonnet) the ‘remembrance of things past,’69 even as she is a dynamic, living presence. The past and the alien persist in the present. That is why while it is possible for Miranda to exuberantly exclaim at the ‘brave new world,’ Prospero only responds that ‘’Tis new to thee’ (V.i. 183–5). Behind the beginnings of every brave new world persists another older one. The narrative structures that oppose the degenerate Other and the dynamic, hopeful Self are further complicated by that vision of a time when everything including the self will be ‘melted into thin air ... shall dissolve ... and ... leave not a rack behind’ (IV.i. 150–55). But these moments of doubt are countered by the dramatically powerful conclusion in which the spiritual redemption of the Europeans dramatizes the difference between them and the degenerate Sycorax and the foolish Caliban. The messiness of origins and similarities is denied; Prospero represents himself as achieving a moral and intellectual purity, a knowledge that is virtuous, singular, and unified rather than a dangerous hodgepodge. Neither the legacy of the past, 66 Similarly, Antonio’s puzzling lack of penitence at the end is another indication of the difficulty, even impossibility, of absolutely reforming others. 67 Emile Durkheim, Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. Trans. Karen Fields (New York: Free Press, 1995) 134. 68 Gail Kern Paster, The Body Embarrassed (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1993) 458. 69 Shakespeare, Sonnet 35.

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nor cultural difference is negotiated with successfully, and if true communication between communities is about ‘creating shared Time,’ the Other is denied ‘coevalness’ and simply erased or dismissed from the center-stage of history.70 The play concludes with what Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong’o describes in his essay ‘Freeing Culture from Eurocentrism’ as the problematic ‘tendency to see ... the relations of cultures ... as if cultures within a nation and between nations have developed on parallel bars towards parallel ends that never meet, or if they meet, they do so in infinity ... .’71 Besides, even as Prospero announces his intention to renounce his magic, to ‘break my staff ... drown my book,’ the act of so-called renunciation is itself an exercise in power (V.i. 54, 57). He has captured his enemies (and their attention) occupies center-stage, corporated well-chosen gibes at his enemies in the final speech, and further alienated Caliban who, after being dismissed as a comic failure, slinked shamefacedly off-stage promising to ‘seek for grace’(V.i. 295). Consequently, there is little renunciation of the authority and power associated with powerful knowledge systems. The silencing of Sycorax, the dynamics of religious, ethnic, and gender Othering in the play have clearly served to purify and legitimize Prospero’s learning and disassociate it from the past. What Prospero is giving up is his ‘rough magic’ (emphasis added) (V.i. 59–60). If the adjective ‘rough’ also signifies ‘in a natural or crude state ... not brought by working into a finished condition or form,’72 Prospero has acquired a more ‘sophisticated’ form of knowledge that no longer needs the robe, staff, and other suspicious tools of the magic trade. If the earlier Prospero’s magic bore a discomfiting similarity to Sycorax’s, and he himself, like the renegade European, ‘grew stranger’(I.ii. 76) to his own people, he finally ‘re-turns’ to his community. He triumphantly holds the center-stage of time, having successfully negotiated both with the past and the future.


Fabian, 31. Ngugi wa Thiong’o, ‘Freeing Culture from Eurocentrism,’ Moving the Center (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1992) 26. 72 The Oxford English Dictionary Online. http://0-dictionary.oed.com. s.v. ‘rough.’ 71

Chapter 11

‘Thrown from the Rock’: Emissaries as Midwives and Impediments of a New World S heila T . Cavanagh

The geography of Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania, parts one and two, is expansive. The central characters rule over countries and empires that stretch across most of Europe and Asia, possibly reaching as far eastward as India and China. Despite limited communication tools, the monarchs of these widely separated lands manage to stay in remarkably close contact with many of their subjects, families, and friends, largely through the intervention of messengers. This essay will examine the influence of these messengers in determining the fate of the Urania’s many characters, as well as their part in shaping the transformation of the world they inhabit. In this society, messengers stir up trouble and calm frayed tempers. They determine the direction of international conflicts and both intervene in and provoke domestic upheavals. Whether warranted or not, their messages are usually believed and their generally unquestioned credibility has far-reaching consequences. They also mark the tension that pervades the text between the hope for a reconfigured world and an underlying pessimism about the possibility of achieving one. This essay will consider the critical and unusual role of messengers in the Urania, focusing on the disparity between those who represent quotidian human concerns and those who bring news from the supernatural world or from humans with apparent occult powers. The supernatural realm is intricately involved in the development of the new society chronicled throughout the Urania, in part, it seems, because the human rulers often let their emotions and romantic concerns interfere with their official obligations. Thus, it appears that emissaries from the supernatural world operate as better stewards of the emerging society than the T he Urania was written in two parts: the first was published in 1621; the second was written ca. 1626, but was not published until recently. Throughout this essay, ‘1’ refers to part one and ‘2’ cites part two. Page numbers (indicated parenthetically) are to The first part of The Countess of Montgomery’s Urania. Ed. J osephine A . R oberts. M edieval and Renaissance Texts & Studies. Vol. 140. Binghamton, NY: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, State University of New York at Binghamton, 1995, or to The secound part of the Countess of Montgomery’s Urania. Ed. Josephine A. Roberts; Completed by Suzanne Gossett and Janel Mueller. Medieval and Renaissance Texts & Studies. Vol. 211, (Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 1999). 


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humans who nominally oversee the political domain. This essay will consider such messengers, both human and otherworldy, as they function alternately as midwives and as obstacles to the new political world order that is growing throughout the Urania. T he Urania itself displays a generic tension resembling the conflict between optimism and despair that underlies its representation of sociopolitical changes. Containing elements of epic, romance, roman a clef, verisimilitude, and fantasy, the narrative reflects its author’s integration of traditional and emergent styles of writing that symbolically parallel the kinds of new alliances and disjunctures that assail the evolving world she endeavors to present. Similar to life outside of fiction, this environment resists simple categorizations and defies easy responses to complicated relationships and events. The vexed status of the emissaries portrayed in the Urania, therefore, coincides with complexities in the narrative’s overall style and content. One of the main catalysts for both personal and political change within the text remains consistent throughout both volumes of the Urania; namely, romantic attraction. Although some of the characters become allied with lifelong partners and withdraw from erotic pursuits during the lengthy romance, others never achieve romantic stability. As succeeding generations reach adolescence or adulthood and enter the narrative, they too become entangled in complicated personal relationships. Love and desire continually embroil the characters in romantic dramas that are often at odds with their other obligations. Such competing interests then increase the power accompanying messengers. As characters wait eagerly for news about countries or loved ones, they become susceptible to the goals of those figures bringing them the information they crave. Since emissaries do not always deserve the trust that tends to meet their communications, the reliance upon messengers is as likely to foment trouble as it is to calm personal or political disagreements. The trust that characters place in emissaries is often remarkable. Near the beginning of the romance, for example, the central figure Amphilanthus is told by the mystical Melissea that Urania, a recently found shepherd, is his sister. This news is immediately followed, moreover, by the insistence that Amphilanthus must throw his sister into the sea: while Melissea pass’d unto the King, to whom shee onely told that faire Urania was his sister, and that although so deare to him, yet to make her live contentedly, he, and none else must throw her from Rocke of St. Maura into the Sea. (1:190)

Anticipating an argument from the startled king, Melissea assures him to ‘Feare not, but doe it’ (1:190) but he immediately dismisses her encouragement as unnecessary: ‘Nay, say no more,’ cry’d he, ‘this is enough, and let me this enjoy, Ile feare no ills that Prophesies can tell’ (1:190). As Amphilanthus demonstrates here, Melissea unequivocally receives the trust of the main characters in the Urania, no matter how unconventional her advice and admonitions might be. Despite the

‘Thrown from the Rock’


lessons taught about the unreliability of strangers in many of the Urania’s precursor texts like The Faerie Queene, Wroth’s characters rely upon their ability to discern faithfulness, even though their confidence is often unwarranted. Amphilanthus’s trust in Melissea, for instance, appears to result from a strong belief in his own physiognomic skills, as his first encounter with the seer indicates: ‘Hee looking upon her, perceived wisdome, modestie, and goodnesse figured in her face; wherefore with a kind of acceptance hee received [her] salutation’ (1:139). He had already decided to believe her when she revealed the purpose of her visitation: ‘my name is Melissea, and having skill in the Art of Astrologie, I have found much concerning you, and as much desire to doe your service’ (1:139). Not surprisingly, given the king’s lifelong participation in complicated affairs of the heart, his first question does not address Melissea’s credentials or purposes, but asks about his amorous future: ‘Can you find, good Madam,’ said hee, ‘whether I shall bee happie in my love, or not? (1:139). Although he is not pleased with her response, he does not question its authority, but begins to wallow in characteristic melancholy as he ponders her prognostications. Amphilanthus’s immediate faith in the pronouncements of Melissea is replicated by other members of the narrative’s inner circle, even when the prophet is not named as their source. When Amphilanthus arrives at the Rock of St. Maura to carry out his mission, for example, he offers Urania precious little justification for the actions he undertakes: My dearest Sister, and the one halfe of my life, Fortune (never favourable to us) hath ordain’d, a strange adventure for us, and the more cruell is it, since it is not to be avoyded, nor to be executed but by my hands, who best love you; yet blame me not, since I have assured hope of good successe, yet apparent death in the action, I must (not to prolong time, or amaze you with discourse, alas I must say these words) deerest Urania, I must throw thee into the Sea; pardon me.Heaven appoints it so. (1: 230)

Clearly, Amphilanthus views Melissea as the messenger of ‘Fortune’ and ‘Heaven,’ even though he is offered nothing but her word as support for this identification. Still, Urania asks for no confirmation of Amphilanthus’s sources, nor demands any further conversation on the topic. Instead, she ignores her brother’s reassurance that she faces ‘apparent,’ not actual death, and implores him to get on with it: ‘My deerest brother,’ sayd she,’ what neede you make this scruple? You wrong me much to thinke that I feare death, being your sister, or cheerish life, if not to joy my parents; fulfill your command, and be assured it is doubly welcome, coming to free me from much sorrow, and you to give it me, for whose deare sake, I onely lov’d to live, and now as much delight and wish to die.’ (1:230)

Melissea’s credentials as a seer from Delos, sacred homeland of Artemis and Apollo, imbue her words so thoroughly that she does not even need to be named in order to be obeyed. As these citations indicate, Amphilanthus and Urania risk death in the sea without hesitation. Thus, however dicey the word of emissaries in romance might be traditionally, characters in the Urania see no reason to question


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their credentials. Challenging death presents no difficulty if an apparent messenger from the heavens presents such a charge. Ironically, however, the characters with occult connections do not always evince an enthusiastic acceptance of prophecies. Melissea’s niece Denia, for instance, serves as an emissary for her aunt on a number of occasions. Often, she appears to share great esteem for her aunt, whom she describes to Clavarindo before prophesying his fate for him: heere what I must relate to you from myne Aunte, the Sage Melissea of Delos in the Aegean Sea: A lady of [su]ch incomparable vertu, and Lady of such knowledge as non can bee esteemed like her, nor is their any. (2:61)

After communicating her vision of Clavarindo’s future, however, she demurs from urging unequivocal belief in her aunt’s foreshadowings: ‘you are ordained for hapines and for mee, which I most Joye in, and when other then happens to uss (if ever), wee may blame the Sage Melissea, mine Aunte’ (2:61). Nevertheless, Denia remains the only figure holding reservations about Melissea’s abilities to foretell the future, and Clavarindo immediately sets out to locate some of the Urania’s many missing children, as Melissea indicates he should. Although it could be unnerving for Melissea’s own niece to raise questions about her abilities, no one is ever shown to worry about it. This typical easy and unquestioning belief in emissaries from the heavens helps draw attention both to the idealization and the concomitant pessimism undergirding the Urania. As Josephine Roberts indicates, Amphilanthus partially serves to represent an emperor able to expand and strengthen his domain, in contrast to his historic counterpart. The political situation in Europe was far less strong and stable during Wroth’s lifetime than the fictional portrayal of the region offered in the Urania. Her reconceptualization of the actual state of events within the context of her romance makes sense, therefore. Nonetheless, the skepticism at the heart of this representation is easy to overlook, as political success appears assured for the main rulers, despite the wars and personal turmoil they encounter throughout the narrative. The role of messengers with supernatural powers, such as Melissea, however, undercuts the optimistic message that may be drawn from the regular victories of Amphilanthus and his allies. As noted, Wroth interweaves characteristics from a number of genres, drawing from various realms of fiction and from historical representation. Realism only occasionally appears to be the author’s goal, but given the specificity of her geographical details and other historical allusions, it seems reasonable that she is creating a vision of an idealized world: in this case, one where religious disputes and language differences do not hold sway. The achievement of this new world, however, appears to depend upon the intervention of figures such as Melissea and the other beings with supernatural  In her edition of the Urania, Josephine Roberts details the political and familial contexts for the romance (1: xxxix–liv; 1: lxxi–xcviii).

‘Thrown from the Rock’


powers or connections, which makes the events of the romance appear less like a blueprint for a refigured world order and more of an exercise in fictional wishful thinking. The heavy reliance upon the less realistic characters in the text suggests that the actual seventeenth-century Europe is not meant to draw solace from the Urania. Instead, the underlying message appears to be that a restructured world can only be accomplished through the intercession of outside forces and it is difficult to tell whether Melissea and her cohort represent figures with an actual spiritual corollary or not. Since Wroth carefully separates the occult from the Christian throughout her romance, the text does not make it clear whether concepts such as ‘Fortune’ are meant in some literal sense or whether they serve predominantly as metaphors for the imaginary. Unlike The Faerie Queene, which relies heavily upon allegory, the Urania includes a generic mix that further complicates efforts to determine which events correspond with the historic world and how a reader is meant to conceptualize the relationship between the text and possible reality. The characters within the narrative, for the most part, are not troubled by such questions. Their ‘reality’ readily encompasses emissaries from both earthly and supernatural venues, and embraces Melissea and her family, who cannot easily be identified with either realm. Within the world of the narrative, messengers are welcome from any environment. Since everyone in the text is portrayed as speaking English, there are never any problems with aural comprehension. Everyone communicates clearly and any instructions conveyed are quickly carried out. In addition, the role of these messengers becomes further obscured when the human foibles of their counterparts without spiritual affiliations are factored into the mix. While Melissea’s intentions are never questioned due to her affiliation with the ‘heavens,’ many messengers in the Urania give little indication that they deserve similar consideration. Even though faith in Melissea is always rewarded, congruent belief in humanity in general often leads to sorrow and disappointment, and the characters in the romance never learn to discern these differences. Despite all the extravagant praise showered upon Amphilanthus, for instance, the renowned soldier and ruler remains susceptible to messengers who are actively involved in derailing his personal life. Since Amphilanthus is adept at creating his own romantic complications, he is particularly vulnerable to the machinations of those who wish to make his life even more tumultuous. However astute he is supposed to be on the battlefield, his personal dealings do not reflect such talent. Misplaced trust, for example, leads to one of Amphilanthus’s most significant decisions in the narrative. During one of his numerous erotic alliances, he becomes entangled with the Queen of Candia, who ultimately tires of him and decides to interfere with his life. Although the Queen is described as ‘infectious,’ and ‘furious See Cavanagh (2004) for a discussion of the Christian / occult split in the Urania. Sheila T. Cavanagh, ‘“She is but Enchanted”: Christianity and the Occult in Lady Mary Wroth’s U rania.’ Things of the Spirit: Women Writers Constructing Spirituality. Ed. Kristina K. Groover (South Bend, IN: Notre Dame UP, 2004) 69–89. 


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ill-natur’d’ (2:131), Amphilanthus does not recognize any danger in the dalliance until he is warned by ‘the same angelicall spiritts which most communly governd and protected him’ (2:131) that he should depart before she does him harm. Now recognizing that he needs to leave the Queen, the Emperor Amphilanthus turns to his old tutor, whom the text calls ‘the onely servant hee had in the chiefest place trusted and imployed most beetweene him and Pamphilia’ (2:131). This former teacher, Forsandurus, has expanded his repertoire in the years since he served as messenger between Pamphilia and Amphilanthus, and is here called ‘the greatest astrologer and, allmost, an inchanter that was’ (2:131). This new status does not appear relevant to Amphilanthus, however, who continues to use him as an emissary to Pamphilia. Like the astrologer Melissea, the enchanter Forsandurus easily maintains Amphilanthus’s abiding trust. Despite Amphilanthus’s trust, this astrologer does not warrant confidence such as that shown to the sage from Delos. Like the Queen of Candia, who disrupts the lives of others simply because she can, Forsandurus here displays a delight in malevolence that he shares eagerly with the meddling monarch: ‘Thier reciprocall dispositions made such a league of friendship, with full bent to proceed in ill, as noe day failed thier meetings, nor any occasion hinder thier plotting of the worlds distruction, att least at their quarters’ (2:132). Neither Amphilanthus nor Pamphilia appear to have done this pair wrong, but ‘Poor Amphilanthus ... must bee butt the meane anvile on whome ther treacherous Villanies must knocke and bee beaten to their ruin’ (2:132). The pair concoct a plan to keep Pamphilia and Amphilanthus separated from each other, drawing in part from the abundant information that Forsandurus offers the queen: she gained out of him all that hee knew, and for the more expression of her nonknowledg of all, the deepest secretts hee knew; soe as the deerest and privatest thoughts that ever were knowne to him of Pamphilia, hee layd open to her. (2:132)

Even though the Queen has already decided to leave Amphilanthus, these stories increase Pamphilia’s status as a threat: ‘what rested now butt hatefull spite and spitefull rage against such a rival and soe, as desperate revenge’ (2:132). She therefore determines to lure Amphilanthus into a different marriage, ‘with the Dallmation ore Natolian Lady,’ and tries to convince him that his empire will profit: ‘telling him how by this marriage hee may inlarge his Empire, bring his dominions into the Easte, and so still the neere to their injoyinge’ (2:133). Urgings of political benefit do not sway the Emperor, however, requiring the further machinations of the ever-trusted Forsandurus. The tutor / magician’s role as emissary takes precedence here. As Amphilanthus resists the Queen’s entreaties, ‘his deere freindlike servant sware that, to his knowledg, Pamphilia was betrothed to the King of Tartaria’ (2:133). Still, even this claim proves futile until Forsandurus invokes his role as messenger to create additional lies:

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Yett att laste this Villanous woman and her more Villanous instrument wrought soe as hee believed itt, having trusted him to conviegh letters to her in haste and trust, and receaving noe answere from her. The beast beesids saying, ‘Well, sayd hee,’ I thought and durst have sworne that if any woeman could continue firme to the end Pamphi[li]a wowld, butt she, O she, proves as other woemen do. O decieptfull sex! O wicked monsters, unknowing true-borne love!’ (2:133)

As the narrator indicates, Amphilanthus makes a serious error here in deciding where to place his trust: the poore, deceavd Emperour, whos confidence in her [Pamphilia] faithe (wherein hee noe thing err’d) was ther ruin, mixt to[o] much with the trust hee had in his (as hee termed him) never-deceaving servant, whos trust now was soe different as to differ from all trust.’ (2: 133)

Although Forsandurus will eventually admit his misdealings in this endeavor, the damage done can never be reversed and this lapse in Amphilanthus’s judgment raises serious questions about the belief system informing the world created in the Urania. Pamphilia does not realize what is happening during this interval because she is busy overseeing the wars afflicting her country of Pamphilia (2:133). As readers of the narrative realize, moreover, Amphilanthus’s long-suffering lover has reason to believe that she herself is married to the Emperor at this time. R eaders also recognize that she has done nothing throughout the long romance to cast doubt upon her fidelity. However frequently Amphilanthus might stray, Pamphilia has always remained faithful, even when distraught over Amphilanthus’s philandering behavior. Like Othello, therefore, Amphilanthus chooses to trust the word of his male servant rather than his own experience with the woman he loves (and may be married to). It is difficult to determine in such cases where the trust emanates from; while Amphilanthus and his Shakespearean counterpart profess to have reason to place confidence in their informants, the readers of these texts are not privy to such supportive evidence. The placement of trust in this narrative emphasizes the tension between idealization and pessimism noted above. The reliability of Melissea’s prophecies and interventions suggests that spiritual domains are working to support efforts by Amphilanthus, Rodomandro, and others to expand the extent of the Christian world. Although Amphilanthus initially places considerable trust in the seer’s  See Roberts (1991) for an account of the marital complexities in this text. It appears as though Pamphilia and Amphilanthus are married to each other at the time that he marries the Princess of Slavonia. Josephine Roberts, “The knott never to bee untide”: The controversy regarding marriage in Mary Wroth’s ‘Urania.’ Reading Mary Wroth: Representing alternatives in early modern England. Ed. Naomi Miller and Gary Waller. (Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 1991) 109–32.  Throughout the text, the main characters fight as Christians against pagans in order to expand the Christian domain and keep the non-Christian forces at bay.


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powers and integrity without external supporting evidence, her prophecies prove accurate over time, so that her later admonitions offer increasing credence for those more skeptical than Amphilanthus. According to her niece Denia, Melissea ‘hath an infinite love to the Morean Court and is their protectress’ (2:61). Fortunately for Amphilanthus and his fellow monarchs, this pronouncement turns out to be true. Like the characters in The Faerie Queene and other texts in this generic realm, however, Wroth’s figures are not always able to discern the intentions of others. The treachery of Fosandurus makes this fallibility quite clear. While Amphilanthus regularly places great confidence in his physiognomic skills, for example, his results often do not support his faith in such abilities. Believing his treacherous tutor rather than the faithful Pamphilia is an inexplicable as well as a serious error. The common, very human, inability to discern the difference between friend and foe is offset in the Urania by the introduction of characters and events that clearly emanate from areas beyond human understanding. When Parselius’s wife Dalinea dies, for instance, a magical tomb for her burial descends without rational explanation: Then was the Tombe layd open by power undeserned, for noe ordinary, nore the rarest eyes cowld distinguish that rarietie, nor cowld speculation parfectly demonstrate to our Understanding the true essence of this wourke. Therfor leave itt as itt is: a miraculous wourcke nott for mortals to presume to sift into. (2: 319)

Parselius, whose grief has overcome his reason, is also enveloped by mysterious powers that keep him from interfering with his wife’s funeral: In the mean time Dalinea is brought, and Parselius is by charmes (for noe thing cowld master him) onely contented beefor them all to take her dead body in his armes, kiss her, and soe part with her to her funerall rights, now noe more soe distractedly yeelding to an undesent sorrow as itt must have binn to have kept her body from buriall, which his unmeasurable fondnes wowld have dunn, still as he thought to [have] her with him. Thus now destany findes a way to assist him. (2: 319)

The kinds of fantastical events that are commonplace in romance work well here and help keep the narrative moving in a positive direction. At the same time, they suggest that humans are unable to behave appropriately or successfully without supernatural assistance. In realms of the heart, this human ineptitude may generally have local ramifications only, but in the broader world in which most of the major characters in the Urania operate, human weaknesses can have far-reaching consequences. This regular introduction of supernatural messengers, therefore,

 I discuss physiognomy further in Cherished Torment: The Emotional Geography of Lady Mary Wroth’s ‘Urania’ (Duquesne UP, 2001).

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implies that spectacular political achievements such as those accomplished by Amphilanthus and his cohort may not be feasible in the ‘real’ world. This apparent lack of confidence in humanity significantly undermines the grand global vision presented in the Urania. Most of the central figures in the text are members of the royal families of Morea, Romania, and Naples, and Amphilanthus serves as the fictional counterpart to the Holy Roman Emperor. Together with Pamphilia’s Asian husband, Rodomandro, King of Tartaria, these close relatives spend most of their working lives protecting their kingdoms from pagan invasion and seeking to spread Christianity around the globe. They encounter fierce opposition at regular intervals and each of them is involved in the wars that repeatedly envelope this world. The challenges facing these monarchs and their cousins are severe, making their regular successes particularly remarkable. While readers could easily dismiss the supernatural emissaries as conventional figures in this kind of narrative, the involvement of Wroth and her family in the historic events mirroring those occurring in the Urania, combined with her attention to details that might easily have been omitted, supports a closer look at this configuration of people, places, religion, and politics. As most modern readers of the text know, the relationship of Pamphilia and Amphilanthus bears a strong resemblance to the complicated liaison between Wroth and her cousin William Herbert. There are a number of other characters who also appear to be drawn from Wroth’s circle of family, friends, and acquaintances. A member of the Sidney family, Wroth lived among some of the wealthiest and most powerful members of the court, many of whom had great literary accomplishments. She spent part of her childhood on the continent with her father and she had numerous ways to remain informed about current events in the areas depicted in her text. She was also acutely aware of the discrepancies between the victories of Amphilanthus and the undistinguished record of his historical analogue. In many respects, the Urania offered Wroth a way to rewrite history. Writing a fictional account of internecine feuds and battles between east and west gave her the opportunity to craft a world more in keeping with her fondest wishes. Unfettered by the constraints of reality, she could fashion a tale of triumph, despite the significant defeats of many rulers in her lifetime. As noted, however, Wroth’s ideal portrait of an expanding Christian world is not realized through the unaided efforts of valiant human monarchs and soldiers. Though often praised for their bravery and skill, the humans she portrays are frequently too caught up in their own troubles to be effective rulers or warriors. Amphilanthus, for instance, is missing for much of the text; Pamphilia is left without sufficient assistance while ‘Asia is burning’; the younger generation of knights are busy seeking the Urania’s many lost children; the older knights sink into lethargy and retirement; and characters are frequently out of action for lengthy periods as they languish under enchantments. While these various distractions offer substantial fodder for the adventures of romance, they would not bode well for the Christian areas if supernatural forces did not intervene. Despite the hyperbole that always attends upon Pamphilia and Amphilanthus in particular, there is little


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evidence offered to suggest that they could rule successfully if left entirely to their own devices, without supernatural aid. At several points in the narrative, Urania and other characters chastise this pair for their neglect of official duties, making it clear that this disparity between their actions and their reputations is not an unconscious representation on the part of the author. Wroth regularly draws upon her sly sense of humor in her writing; her characters’ repeated neglect of their official duties is likely satirical, therefore, deliberately inserted to undermine their constant barrage of extravagant praise. By portraying her heroes as incapable of succeeding without the help of magic, Wroth suggests that the ideal world of her imagination is unlikely to be realized. This pessimism is particularly striking because the spiritual emissaries accomplish nothing substantive that could not be replicated without their assistance. While Melissea and others devote their attention to the protection of the Moreans and their cousins, they do not supply these soldiers with magic weapons or other instruments of extraordinary power. They do not actively thwart the enemies of Christianity, nor do they provide lasting tactics or implements that might provide long-term aid. They offer prophesies and reassurances throughout a variety of crises, but actually do very little that would alter the course of a battle in ‘real’ life. Close inspection reveals that Melissea and her comrades are most helpful through their provision of nurture and calm, not of practical involvement in war or diplomacy. Finally, the Urania’s victories appear to emanate almost entirely from the cult of personality that forms around Amphilanthus. Throughout the lengthy text, he continues to triumph, regardless of his long absences, his melancholic funks, and his ongoing sexual philandering. Amphilanthus is victorious solely because he is Amphilanthus. The narrative never requires that he back up his reputation with appropriate actions. Wroth demurs from tackling the real political issues by retreating into a fictive world where charisma invariably trumps talent. H er use of emissaries from both human and spiritual domains helps highlight the problems inherent in anyone actually accomplishing the vision that she presents. Since no one in the text ever encounters difficulties with understanding unfamiliar languages, messengers do not need to possess linguistic skills. Nor do they spend much time delivering communications between allies engaged on the battlefield. Although messages sometimes reveal the whereabouts of important, missing people, they do not typically carry information that could be used to further the political goals of the central monarchs. Instead, they tend to reassure characters about the fate of their loved ones or guide them towards fulfilling the prophecies generated about them. In a text where personal and professional obligations and desires remain in constant competition, the use of messengers most commonly involves the domestic concerns of the characters. The romance would be disappointing, therefore, for anyone wanting any suggestion that the world order being represented might actually be achievable. Instead, Wroth offers a world in which some important political aims are reached, but only through the manipulations of a fiction writer’s pen. She gives no

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indication that stronger leadership in reality would bring comparable results. In fact, the pessimism that accompanies even the positive outcomes represented suggests that the new world order achieved in the Urania might not bear close scrutiny. The abrupt ending of the text, which terminates before the triumphant climax that is hinted at earlier in the story, further indicates that Wroth does not intend to propose a world order that could conceivably emerge in the seventeenth century. Its final words, ‘Amphilanthus wa[s] extreamly’ (2: 418) leave open a wide range of possibilities, ranging across a spectrum of options that have been opened within the text. It is hard to imagine, however, a string of words that could use this stem to complete the romance. Whatever extremity Amphilanthus was experiencing, it is beyond the reader’s grasp. Like many of its literary predecessors, the Urania thwarts closure, leaving its audience with many unanswered questions. Its emissaries, moreover, provide conflicting perspectives on their role within the political and romantic domains under scrutiny and on the need for messengers in order to propel the action in the desired direction. As the text crisscrosses between fantasy and verisimilitude, its emissaries help reveal the problems with reality that undermine the ideals being presented in a deceptively optimistic light. By showing that humans cannot be trusted and that supernatural beings only possess limited abilities to intervene in human events, the narrative indicates that the ideal is not going to be facilitated by either human nor magical means. Barring a leader like Amphilanthus, who achieves his goals despite abandoning his responsibilities at regular intervals, there is unlikely to be a new world order according to the Urania’s rubric. Although it appears on the surface to offer a counternarrative to the actual events of the period, this interpretation begins to crumble upon closer investigation. Despite her frequent successes, for instance, even Melissea’s powers have limits, as she explains to Urania when she is unable to stop one of Amphilanthus’s unwanted departures: Most excellent Ladys, bee nott tormented, nor troubled with this strange and unlooked-for accident, since itt is by such and soe great an influence as I ame beelowe it, and have no kind of commaunde ore least observance, nay cannot prevaile against itt. (2: 182)

Since Melissea appears to be the figure with the closest relationship to ‘fate’ and seems to possess the greatest knowledge of how to fulfill one’s destiny, her limitations suggest that one cannot count on intervention from any source and that human frailties cannot always be offset by external forces. Given the sorrows of Wroth’s own life, it is probably not surprising that she undercuts the possibility of a new world order at the same time that she presents it. She does, however, offer a vision of what the world might be if humanity could rise above its insufficiencies.

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Schama, Simon. The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age. New York: Knopf, 1987. Schmitt, C.I.B. ‘Renaissance Averroism studied through the Venetian editions of Aristotle-Averrroes,’ The Aristotelian Tradition and Renaissance Universities, London: Variourum Reprints, 1984. Sebek, Barbara, ‘Good Turns and the Art of Merchandising: Conceptualizing Exchange in Early Modern England,’ Early Modern Culture 2 (2001). S en, S udipta. Empire of Free Trade, The East India Company and the Making of the Colonial Marketplace. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania UP, 1998. S etton, Kenneth. Western Hostility to Islam and Prophecies of Turkish Doom. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1992. Sewell, Robert. A Forgotten Empire: Vijayanagar. New Delhi, National Book Trust, India, 1962. Shaffer, Lynda. ‘Southernization,’ Dunn, Ross E., ed. The New World History. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. S tephen Greenblatt, Walter Cohen, Jean Howard, and Katherine E. Maus. New York: Norton Publishing, 1997. ———. The Merchant of Venice, Ed. Jay L. Halio. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993. ———. The Tempest. Ed Stephen Orgel, Oxford: Oxford UP, 1987. ———. The Tempest. A New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare. Ed. Horace Howard Furness. New York: Dover Publications, 1963. S hastry, B.S . Goa-Kanara Portuguese Relations 1498–1763. Xavier ����������������� Centre of Historical Research Study Series No. 8. Ed. Charles J. Borges, S.J. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company, 2000. Shaw, Ezel Kural. ‘The Double Veil: Travelers’ Views of the Ottoman Empire, Sixteenth through Eighteenth Centuries.’ English and Continental Views of the Ottoman Empire, 1500–1800, Ed. E.K. Shaw and C.J. Heywood, Los Angeles, CA: Wm. Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA, 1972. 3–19. S herley, A nthony. Sir Anthony Sherley His Relation of His Travels into Persia. Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1974. ———. Sir Anthony Sherley His Relation of His Travels into Persia. L ondon, 1613. Shershaw, Scott Cutler. ‘Response to Barbara Sebek. “Good Turns and the Art of Merchandizing: Conceptualizing Exchange” Early Modern England.’ Early Modern ������� Culture 2 (2001). Silva, Leila Rodrigues da. ����������������������� ‘Fernão Mendes Pinto.’ Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 287: Portuguese Writers. Ed. Monica Rector and Fred M. Clark. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 215–19. S ingh, J yotsna. Colonial Narratives, Cultural Dialogues. New York: Routledge, 1996. Skilliter, S.A. ‘Three Letters from the Ottoman “Sultana” Safiye to Queen Elizabeth I,’ in Documents from Islamic Chanceries, First S eries, Ed. S .M . Stern. Oxford: B. Cassirer, 1965, 119–57.


Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture

S nader, J oe. Caught Between Worlds: British Captivity Narratives in Fact and Fiction. Lexington, KY: UP of Kentucky, 2000. Sokol, B.J. A Brave New World of Knowledge: Shakespeare’s T he T empest and Early Modern Epistemology. Cranbury, NJ: Associated UP, ca. 2003. S tagl, J ustin. A History of Curiosity: The Theory of Travel 1550–1800. Chur, Switzerland: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1995. Starr, G.A. ‘Escape from Barbary: A Seventeenth-Century Genre.’ Huntington Library Quarterly 29 (1965): 35–52. S teen, S arah J ayne. Ambrosia in an Earthen Vessel: Three Centuries of Audience and Reader Response to the Works of Thomas Middleton. New York: AMS, 1993. S teensgaard, J an. Carracks, Caravans and Companies: The Structural Crisis in the European-Asian trade in the early 17th Century. Lund, Denmark: Studentlitteratur, 1973. S tein, Burton. The New Cambridge History of India, Vol. 1, Part 2: Vijayanagara. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989. S tevens, H enry. The Dawn of British Trade to the East Indies as Recorded in the Court Minutes of the East India Company, 1599–1603. London: Frank Cass and Company, 1967. S tevenson, L aura. Praise and Paradox: Merchants and Craftsmen in Elizabethan Popular Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1984. Stow, John. The Annals or Generall Chronicle of England. London, 1615. ———. The Annales of England. London, 1602. S trange, G. L e, ed. and trans., Don Juan of Persia: A Shi’ah Catholic, 1560–1604. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1926. S trong, R oy. The Elizabethan Image, Painting in England, 1570–1620. London: Tate Gallery, 1969. S ubrahmanyam, S anjay. Explorations in Connected History: From the Tagus to the Ganges. London and New York: Oxford UP, 2005. ———. ‘On World Historians in the Sixteenth Century’ Representations 91 (Summer 2005), 26–57. ———. ‘Iranians Abroad: Intra-Asian Elite Migration and Early Modern State Formation’ The Journal of Asian Studies 51: 2 (May 1992):340–65. ———. The Political Economy of Commerce: Southern India 1500–1650. New York: Cambridge UP, 1990. T aisnier, J ean. A Very Necessarie and Profitabke Booke Concerning Navigation. Trans. Richard Eden. London, 1579. T aylor, J oan. The Englishman, the Moor and the Holy City: The True Adventures of An Elizabethan Traveller. Stroud, Gloustershire: Tempus Publishing Ltd., 2006. Teltscher, Kate. India Inscribed: European Writing about India. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1995. T emple, S ir William. Observations upon the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Ed. Sir George Clark. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972. Terry, Edward. ‘A Relation of a Voyage to Easterne India,’ in Purchas his Pilgrimes. London, 1625.



Thiong’o, Ngugi wa. ‘Freeing Culture from Eurocentrism,’ Moving the Center. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1992. T homas, Keith. Religion and the Decline of Magic. New York: Charles Scribner Sons, 1971. Thomas, Nicholas. Entangled Objects: Exchange, Material Culture, and Colonialism in the Pacific. Cambridge, MA, and London, England: Harvard UP, 1991. Thynne, Francis. The Perfect Ambassador: treating of the antiquitie, priveledges, and behaviour of men belonging to that function. London: John Colbeck, 1652. Timberlake, Henry. A True and Strange Discourse of the Travailes of Two English Pilgrims. London: Thomas Archer, 1603. True Report of Sir Anthony Shierlies Journey. London, 1600. T urner, Brian. Marx and the end of Orientalism. London: Croom Helm, 1986. Turner, Howard. Science in Medieval Islam Austin: U of Texas P, 1997. Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, or Memoirs of Jahangir Trans. Ed. Alexander Rogers. Henry Beveridge. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1968. Vaughan, Virginia Mason. Performing Blackness on the English Stages. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2005. ———. Othello: A Contextual History. New York: Cambridge UP, 1994. ———, and Alden T. Vaughan. Shakespeare’s Caliban: A Cultural History. New York: Cambridge UP, 1991. Verma, Som Prakash. Mughal Painters and Their Work. Delhi: Aligarh Muslim University, 1994. Vitkus, Daniel J. Turning Turk: English Theater and the Multicultural Mediterranean, 1570–1630. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. ———. ‘Trafficking with the Turk: English Travelers in the Ottoman Empire During the Early 17th Century,’ Travel Knowledge: European ‘Discoveries’ in the Early Modern Period. Ed. Ivo Kamps and Jyotsna Singh. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001. 35–52. ———. ed. Piracy, Slavery, and Redemption Barbary Captivity Narratives from Early Modern England. New York: Columbia UP, 2001. Vries, P.H. ‘Are Coal and Colonies Really Crucial? Kenneth Pomeranz and The Great Divergence’ Journal of World History 12:2 (Fall 2001): 407–46. Ward, J oseph P. Metropolitan Communities: Trade Guilds, Identity, and Change in Early Modern London. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1997. Warneke, Sara. Images of the Educational Traveller in Early Modern England. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995. Washington, T., trans. The Navigations, Peregrinations and Voyages, made into Turkey by Nicholas Nicholay Daulphinois ... Translated out of the French by T. Washington. London, 1585. See Nicolay, Nicolas de. Watreman, William, trans. The Fardel of Facions containing the ancient manners, customs, and Lawes of the peoples inhabiting the two parts of the earth called Affrike and Asia. London, 1555. See Boemus, Joannes. Webbe, Edward. The Rare and Most Wonderfull. London: William Wright, 1590.


Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture

Weber, Max. The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. 1905. Webster, Charles. The Great Instauration: Science, Medicine and Reform 1626– 1660. New York: Holmes and Meir, 1976. Welch, Stuart Cary. Imperial Mughal Painting. London: Chatto and Windus, 1978. West, Robert. ‘Ceremonial Magic in The Tempest,’ Shakespeare Essays. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 1965. 63–78. Willan, T .S . Studies in Elizabethan Foreign Trade. New York: Augustus M Kelley, 1968. Winter, H enry. Eastern Science; an outline of its scope and contribution. London: J. Murray, 1952. Wolf, Eric. Europe and the People without History. Berkeley: U of California P, 1982. Wolfson, H.A, ‘The twice revealed Averroes’ Speculum 36 (1961): 373–92. Womack, Peter. ‘The Writing of Travel.’ A Companion to English Renaissance Literature and Culture. Ed. Michael Hattaway. London: Blackwell, 2000. 148–64. Wong, Bin R. ‘Early Modern Economic History in the Long Run’ Science & Society, 68:1 (Spring 2004): 80–90. ———. China Transformed: Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1997. Woodhead, Christine. ‘“The Present Terrour of the World?” Contemporary Views of the Ottoman Empire c.1600,’ History 72 (1987): 20–37. Woolf, D .R . Reading History in Early Modern England. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2000. Woosely-Poiteven, Kimberly. ‘“Counterfeit Color”: Cosmetics, Race and Gender in Early Modern England’, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Illinois, UrbanaChampaign, 2004. ———. Wroth, Mary. The secound part of the Countess of Montgomery’s Urania. Ed. Josephine A. Roberts; Completed by Suzanne Gossett and Janel Mueller. Medieval and Renaissance Texts & Studies. Vol. 211, Tempe, Arizona: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 1999. ———. The first part of The Countess of Montgomery’s Urania. Ed. J osephine A . Roberts. Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies. Vol. 140. Binghamton, NY: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, State University of New York at Binghamton, 1995. Yates, Frances. Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic tradition. London: Routledge, 1964. Y eazell, R uth Bernard. Harems of the Mind: Passages of Western Art and Literature. New Haven: Yale UP, 2000. Y egenoglu, M eyda. Colonial Fantasies: Towards a Feminist Reading of Orientalism. New York: Cambridge UP, 1998. Zhiri, Oumelbanine. ‘ Leo Africanus’ Description of Africa.’ Travel Knowledge: European “Discoveries: in the Early Modern Period. Ed. Ivo Kamps and Jyotsna Singh. New York: Palgrave, 2001. 258–66.

Index Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud ben M ohammed A noun, 16, 84–5 Achyutaraya, 185 A dil S hah, 186, 189 Africa, 25, 27, 77–8, 79, 80, 86, 87, 88, 91, 100, 123, 135, 153, 158, 168, 208, 210n1, 214, 216, 217, 218 Africanus, Leo, 16, 77–88 Geographical Historie of Africa, 78 agent, 5, 8, 10, 13, 17, 18, 49, 81, 96, 97, 98, 99, 102, 110, 111, 113, 122, 126, 141, 189, 200, 215–16, 218, 221 agents of exchange, 95–144, 197 mediating agents, 5, 11 Agnew, Jean-Christophe, 13n3, 42, 43 Akbar, 52, 54, 55, 56 Alcazar, battle of, 80 Al-Farabi, 208 Al-Ghazali, 208 A li Pasha, 164–5 Alleyn, Edward, 45 A lterity, 5, 15, 17, 102, 129–31, 139, 143, 171, 208, 212, 218, 219, 222 al-Wazzan, Al-Hasan ibn Muhamad (see Leo Africanus) ambassador, 2, 3, 6–14, 23–40, 41–76, 77–92, 96, 104, 127, 132, 143, 158, 159, 160, 208 ambassadorial missions, 113 Bill Clinton as ambassador, 1–2 L evant Company ambassador, Paul Pindar, 142 and passing, 95, 99, 102 America, 1, 2, 24, 27, 34, 42n7, 83n2, 97, 127n2, 153, 155n1, 213 A min, S amir, 211 A ppropriation, 38–40 A rab, 98–102, 104, 110, 129, 130, 150, 207, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 213 Arabic Spain, 209 A ristotle, 189, 209n9, 210 A sia, 25, 27, 25n5, 27,n16, 29n19, 40n46, 42n5, 75, 79, 97, 152, 153, 167,

168, 169n5, 170, 179, 181, 186, 189, 210n14, 225, 233 Asiatic mode of production, 29 astronomy, 156, 209 authoritative discourse, 178 A verroes, 208, 210 Avicenna, 208, 210 Bacon, Francis, 18, 25, 40, 207, 210, 211, 219 The Advancement of Learning, 211 An Advertisement Touching a Holy War, 219 Novum Organum, 40, 207 “The Refutation of Philosophies,” 211 Baghdad, 98, 100, 208 Bailey, GauvinAlexander, 53n26, 55, 60 Baindur, 185 Baines, Barbara, 124n42 Bakhtin, Mikhail, 167, 170, 174, 175, 177, 178, 189, 190 Bakhtinian, 18, 170, 174, 175 Bandar A bbas, 108 Banu, N adira, 69 Barbary, 8, 77, 80, 82, 118, 123, 136, 158n34, 213 Barbary Company, 77, 81, 82, 84 Barros, João de, 182, n42 Barton, Edward, 69 Basawan, 55 Baticalá, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 186, 187 Bayly, C.A ., 98, 99n6 Beaumont, Francis The Knight of the Burning Pestle, 115–17 Bedouins, 99, 129 Beg, H usseinA li, 23, 32, 33, 35–9 Beg, Uruch, 26, 33, 40; see also D on J uan of Persia Belkassem, Ahmed, 81 ben Adel, Al-Caid Ahmed, 81, 85 Bernal, M artin, 208n8, 209n12 Bernier, François, 17, 96, 104, 106 Bhabha, H omi, 171


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Bhatkal, 180, 181, 184, 185, 186, 187, 189 Bichitr, 61 Biddulph, William, 210 The Travels of Certaine Englishmen, 133n16, 134n18, 135n20, 140n40, 21 Bijapur, 97, 106, 107, 171, 174, 186, 189 Blount, H enry A Voyage into the Levant, 17, 27n14, 135n20, 139–44, 214 Boemus J oannes Omnium gentium mores, leges, et ritus, 151–2 Bonahue, Edward, 124n42 Boon, J ames, 5 Borde, Andrew, 77 The Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge, 77 Botero, Giovanni Relationi universale, 153–5, 162 Bracciolini, Poggio India Recognita, 148 Braudel, Fernand, 2, 2n7, 4n11 Brenner, R obert, 117 British Empire, 26, 28, 38, 131n9 Brito, M aria Correia de, 168 Brotton, J erry, 42n5, 51n21, 60n43, 213 Brown, Judith, C., 8, 12, 105n13 Browne, John The Marchants Avizo, 118–20, 122, 123, 124, 125n45, 126 Burnett, Charles, 209n9, 210 Burnett, Mark Thornton, 117n12 Burton, J onathan, 3n11, 6, 11, 16, 19, 25n7, 29, n2, 79, 129n2, 170n10, 171n14, 215 Busbecq, Ogier Ghiselinde Augerii Gislenii busbecquii D. legationis turcicae epistolae, 147, 160–65 Camões, Luiz da, 25, 183n45 Captivity narrative, 136–8, 156n29 Cardinal Wolsey, 7 Carleton, D udley, 8, 83 Carré, Barthélemy, 95–111 Cartwright, John, The Preacher’s Travels, 23n1 Castanheda, Fernão Lopes de, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184

Castanho, Bento, 173, 174 Catz, Rebecca, 168, 169n4, 174n20, 177n27, 177n28 Certeau, Michel de, 15, 213, 214n39, Chakrabarthy, Dipesh, 29n20, 34 Chamberlain, J ohn, 8, 84 Chaudhuri, K.N ., 2, 3n10, 4n11, 6, 6n17, 117 Chennabhairadevi, Queen of Pepper, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188 Chennadevi, 185, 188n66 Chew, Samuel, 23, 24n2, 24n3, 26n9, 29n2, 33 China, 6, 12n37, 28n18, 29n19, 30n21, 52n25, 80, 168, 199, 209n11, 225 Christian/ Christrianity, 3n11, 8, 19, 23, 30, 32, 36, 39, 43, 53–5, 60, 77, 83, 88, 89, 90, 91, 96, 107, 133, 134, 135n20, 136, 138, 139, 140–42, 150, 151, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 159, 160, 162, 163, 164, 165, 167–9, 174, 175, 176, 191n72, 208, 211, 218, 229, 231, 233, 234 Christian God, virility of, 107–8 Clifford, J ames, 4 Clinton, Bill, 1–2 Clinton, H ilary, 1–2 Cohen, Walter, 25n6, 27n13 Cohn, Bernard, 49, 50, 51, Colbert, J ean Baptiste, 96, 97 colonial, 43, 53, 153, 171, 180, 182, 186, 187, 189, 191 colonial discourse, 214 colonial imagination, 27, 175 colonial fantasies, 187 Portuguese colonial discourse inIndia, 18 Portuguese colonial expansion into A sia, 168 colonialism, 27, 32, 42, 43, 50, 183, 212 colonialist, 213 Constantinople, 8, 104, 149, 158, 160, 216 contact zone, 4, 40n45, 208 convent, French, 96, 104, 105, 107 convents, reputation of, 104–5 conversion, 23, 54, 55, 87, 136, 165, 189, 215 Correia, Gaspar, 180, 181, 183–4, 189 Coryate, T homas, 140n40, 142–4 counter-Reformation, 153 Coutinho, Gonzalo Vas, 171, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 184, 187, 188, 188n67, 189, 190

Index Couto, D iogo do, 180, 181, 182–3, 184, 184n49, 186n61 D’amico, Jack, 81n15, 17, 18, 19 D a Ásia, 182–3 Dakshina Kannada, 186 D allam, T homas, 69 D as, Kesu, 55 D avies, D .W., 24n3, 33, 34n34 Davis, Natalie Zemon, 9, 77–80 D ay, J ohn The Travels of the Three English Brothers, 23, 24, 26, 30–32, 33, 38, 39 de Certeau, Michel, 15, 214n39 de Critz, J ohn, 61 de la Hayes, General Blanquet, 97 de S ousa, M artim A ffonso, 180, 181, 182, 183, 189 Décadas (Decades), 182 Deccan, 66, 171 degeneration, 214–24 Dekker, Thomas, The Shoemaker’s Holiday, 195 Derrida, Jacques, 14 D evarasa II , 188n66 Dimmock, Matthew, 129n2, 149, 161 diplomacy, 3, 5, 6–14, 16, 17, 102, 169, 208, 213, 234 diplomat, 1, 2, 8, 11, 13, 17, 131, 140, 147, 155, 220 diplomatic, 6, 7, 9, 17, 12, 98, 104, 164, 186 discourses of diplomacy, 23–92 D iu, 95 D on J uan of Persia, 26, 40; see also D on J uan of Persia Relaçiones de Don Juan de Persia, 23n1, 3–38 drama, 3, 11, 23–40, 96, 77–92, 113–28, 130, 131, 170, 193–203, 207–24, 226 dramatic, 96, 138, 160 D unn, R oss, 28n17, 40n46 Dürer, Albrecht, 55 Dutch, 23, 89, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100–104, 131, 193–203 Dutch inIndia, 96, 97, 100 D yer, J ohn ‘The Fleece,’ 75


East India Company, 9, 41, 43, 49, 51, 53, 61, 65, 66, 74, 97, 117, 120 Eden, Richard, 220 The Decades of the New World, 213, 214, 215, 216, 219 Elizabeth I, Queen of England, 7, 8, 12, 30, 32, 53, 68, 69, 77, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 87, 89, 123, 147, 149, 186 el-Mansour, Ahmed, 80, 81, 84 embassy, 23–40, 41–75, 77–92 Emissary ambassador as, 2, 3, 6–14, 23–40, 41–76, 77–92, 96, 104, 127, 131, 132, 143, 158, 159, 160, 208 attributes of, 2–3, 97–8 as charlatan, 32 and communication, 3, 4, 5, 14, 50–51, 78 as cultural emissary, 96, 104–5, 110 as defender of culture, 102–3 and ethnography, 150–55 as eunuch, 106, 109 factors as, 17, 113–27 and gifts, 9, 12, 16, 23, 34, 36, 37, 41–76, 78, 80, 88, 103, 104, 109, 110, 125, 175, 176 as harem lord, 104, 107–10 as hencoops, 108 as invisible man, 111 and language, 5, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 39, 43, 49, 65, 74, 80, 86, 96, 98, 100, 109, 110, 123, 127, 130, 132, 141, 142, 147–203, 210, 214, 215, 217, 222, 228, 234 as masks, 102, 103 as matrimonial agent, 102 as midwife, 19, 225–6 and performance, 12, 13, 16, 79, 95, 96, 99–102, 141, 167, 175 as physician, 101–2 pilgrims as, 54, 104, 129, 130–44 as provision master, 102 as resistant to cultural contamination, 95, 110 scholars as, 19, 150–55, 208–11 spiritual emissaries, 234 as spy, 17, 32, 95–8, 110, 135, 141–2 and theatricality, 11–13, 16, 17, 88, 91, 96, 99, 102, 104, 106, 114, 194, 201, 203, 213, 218


Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture

and trade, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 12, 30, 34, 41, 42, 43, 46, 49, 51, 52, 66, 71, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 90, 91, 96, 97, 98, 101, 102, 106, 110, 113, 114, 117, 118, 120, 127, 141, 157, 160, 180, 183, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 202, 203, 213, 224 and translation, 38, 147–66 and transmission, 5, 18, 19, 207–35 and travel-writing, 38, 109, 148, 27, 75, 110, 129–44, 147–9, 155–65, 169, 216–17 tutor/magician as emissary, 230 empire, 25, 26, 27, 28, 34, 38, 98, 147, 151, 152, 154, 156, 163, 174, 186, 216, 225, 230 British Empire, 26, 28, 38 Greek and Roman Empires, 153 Hindu Empire of Vijayanagara, 171, 172, 184 O ttoman Empire, 6, 8, 17, 27, 129, 140, 150, 220 Portuguese empire, 169, 178 R oman Empire, 210 English, 193, 194, 195, 196, 200, 201, 202, 203 ethnographies, 147–55 Eurocentrism, 208, 224 Exchange of information, 96 Fabian J ohannes, 207, 217, 219, 224n70 facing, 190 factor, 8, 17, 18, 60, 113–28 Faerie Queene, The, 227, 229, 232 Faria e S ousa, M anuel de, 188 fārman, 41 Fez, city of, 77, 78, 80, 82, 84, 87–90 Finet, John, King James’s Master of Ceremonies, 12 Fletcher, Joseph, 28, 29 forgetting, 214–15 Forster, Edward Seymour, 161, 163n31 Forster, Richard, 13 Foster, William, 61 Four Epistles of A.G. Busbecquius Concerning his Embassy into Turkey, The (Anon.) see Busbecq, O gier Ghiselinde France, 7, 83, 95, 96, 97, 105, 107, 110, 123, 126, 153, 158, 160

Frank, Andre Gunder, 6, 29, 40n46, 42n5 French consul at Aleppo dressed as a monkey, 103 French culture, superiority of, 96, 102, 104, 106, 107–8, 110 French domestic life, 106 French East India Company, 97, 99 French national, 96 French nuns, 105, 106, 107 French soldiers, superiority of, 103 Galland, A ntonie, 104 Gentili, Alberico, 7 Georgieviz, Bartholomeuz De Turcarum moribus Epitome, 155–7 Gersoppa, 185, 185n56, 186n57, n58, 187, 188, 188n65, n66 Geuffroy, A ntoine L’État de la cour du gran Turc, 150–51 gift, 9, 12, 16, 23, 34, 36, 37, 41–76, 78, 80, 88, 103, 104, 109, 110, 125, 175, 176 Giovanni Botero as anti-Machiavelli, 153 globalization, 42 Goughe, H ugh Ofspring of the house of Ottomanno, 155–7; see also Georgieviz, Bartholomeuz Grafton, Richard The Order of the greate Turckes courte, 147, 150–51; see also Geuffroy, A ntoine Grand T our, 132 Grassby, Richard, 117n11, 117n12, 120n24, 193n3 Greek, 19, 98, 100n7, 133, 134, 141, 148, 153, 154n23, 158, 171, 208, 209, 210, 211 Greenblatt, S tephen, 3n11, 19, 41n2, 53n28, 212n24, 213, 214 Gresham, S ir T homas, 122, 123, 124, 125n45, 126, 128, 157 Grosrichard, Alain, 103 Guide, 98, 99, 101 Habermas, Jürgen, 189 Hakluyt, Richard Principal Navigations, 8, 25, 131n9 Hammond, LincolnDavis, 148

Index harem, 96, 104–8 harems and convents, 104–5, 107, 109 harems as fictional space, 104, 108–10 harems, gift exchanges in, 109–10 H art, T homas R ., 169n5, 170 Haudrère, Philippe, 97 Hawkins, William, 43, 56 Helibeck, 31–6; see also A li Beg, H ussein H erbert, William, 233 heteroglossia, 18, 170 Heywood, Thomas An Apology for Actors, 222 Fair Maid of the West, 11, 89–91 If You Know Not Me, You know Nobody, Part II, 11, 122–7 H indu, 54, 55, 99, 100n7, 169n3, 171, 174, 175, 177, 180 História do descobrimento e conquista da Índia pelos Portugueses (History of the discovery and conquest of India by the Portuguese), 181–2 H odgon, M arshall, 28, 29n19 H oly L and, 133–5, 140 Honavar/ Onor, 171, 172, 180, 185, 186, 187, 167–91 H ormuz, 171 H otman, J ean The Ambassador, 2, 7, 10, 13, 35n33 Howard, Jean, 89, 122, 124n42, 126n50, 132n12, 212n24 H umanism, 131–2, 150, 158, 165 hybrid/ hybridity, 16, 40n45, 79, 108, 174, 175, 201 Ibn Khaldun, 208 identity, 95, 96, 129–44 identity as disguise, 100, 101–2 imperial/imperialism/imperialist, 2, 24–30, 32, 34, 38, 39, 40, 51, 53n26, 54, 60, 73, 75, 96, 97, 98, 104, 108, 149, 159, 160, 180, 185 India, 6, 16, 18, 40, 41–76, 95, 95–111, 142, 148, 167–91, 225 Industrial revolution, 26, 28, 29 Integrative history, 28 internally persuasive discourse, 178, 178n31 Islam / Islamic, 19, 26, 39, 55, 80, 83, 84, 106, 107, 131, 149, 150–52, 155, 156, 157, 158, 160, 165, 174, 189, 208, 209, 211, 213, 215, 219


J ahangir, 9, 41–76 Tuzuk-e-Jahangiri, 43 Jakobson, Roman, 4 J ames, King of England, 9, 12, 41, 45, 46, 61, 72, 74, 119n20 J anissaires, 154, 156 Jankowski, T heodora, 124n42 J ardine, L isa, 42n5, 51n21, 60n43, 115n6 J erusalem, 129, 133–5, 141 Jew, 32, 37, 100n7 J ohnson, R obert The Travellers Breviat: or An historical description of the most famous kingdomes inthe World, 147, 153–4; see also Botero, Giovanni joint stock companies, 26 J ones, N orman, 149 J onson, Ben News from the New World Discovered inthe Moon 119 Kamps, Ivo, 27n11n 14, 79n7, 134n18, 136n23 Karnataka, 180, 186, 186n63 karyx / karu, 19 Kendricke, John (factor to cloth merchant John Quarles), 120–22 King Henry VIII, 14, 133 King J ames, I, 9, 12, 41, 45, 46, 61, 72, 74 Klekar, Cynthia, 12 Knights of M alta, 159 Knolles, Richard, 45, 46 Generall Historie of the Turkes, 147, 149, 161 knowledge, 207–24 Koch, Ebba, 53, 69 Krishnadevaraya, 188n66 language, 3, 5, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 39, 43, 49, 65, 74, 80, 86, 96, 100, 109, 110, 123, 127, 130, 132, 141, 142, 147–203, 210, 214, 215, 217, 222, 228, 234 Language and the technologies of mediation, 147–203 Le Courtier de l’Orient, 13, 16, 96, 97 L ello, H enry, 35 Lendas da Índia (Legends of India), 183–4 L evant, 8, 138, 152, 156, 214, 215, 216, 217


Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture

L evant Company, 138, 142, 143, 152 L evinas, Emmanuel, 190 Lewis, Bernard, 24n3, 26 Linschoten, Jan Van, 186n62 Lithgow, William A Most Delectable, and Trve Discourse, of an Admired and Painefull Peregrination, 129–30, 133, 134n18, 136, 140n40, 142, 144, 218 L oomba, A nia, 3n11, 11, 130, 213n31, 214 L ondon, 11, 12, 34, 53, 77, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 88, 120, 122, 125, 126, 143, 194, 195, 197, 198 Machiavelli, Nicollo, 6 The Prince, 6 Machiavellian, 220 Maclean, Gerard, 25n6, 27n14, 140, 141, 209n9 magic, 211–24 M agnusson, L ynne, 120n21 Mahamandaleswara, 184 M alynes, Gerard Consuetudo Vel Lex Mercatoria, or the Ancient Law-Merchant, 117–18, 127n55 man-god, 107–8 Manucci, Niccolao, 109 Manwaring, George A True Discourse of Sir Anthony Sherley’s Travels into Persia, 23n1, 24, 31, 33 Marlowe, Christopher, 45 Tamerlane, 45 M arx, Karl, 29 M assinger, Philip The Renegado, 69 M atar, N abil, 20, 81n16, 129n2, 130n3, 126n23, 126n28 M athee, R udii, 24n1, 26n8 mathematics, 25, 208 M attingly, Garret, 5, 6, 7 Mauss, Marcel, 51, 109 McJannet, Linda, 25n7, 149n11, 161n41 McLuskie, Kate, 123 M ebane, J ohn, 211, 212n23 Medici, Cosimo de’, 104 memory, 215, 223

merchant, mercantalism, 17, 18, 45, 46, 80, 82, 84, 87, 89, 90, 97, 100, 102, 103, 113–28, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 138, 139, 140, 142, 143, 156, 160, 185, 193–203 merchants’ agents, 113–27 [or, see Factors] messengers as midwives, 19, 226 Mexia, Affonso, 187, 188n65, n66 Michault, Nicholas, 160 M iddleton, T homas All’s Lost by Lust, 91–2 No Wit, No Help Like a Woman’s, 11, 18, 194, 197–203 Mille et une Nuits, 104 M ilton, J ohn, Areopagitica, 114–15 Ming / Qing China, 6 modernity, 3, 27–9, 52, 212 M onserrate, Father A ntonio, 54, 55 Moor/Moorish, 8, 16, 54, 77, 79, 80, 81, 83, 84, 85–92, 100n7, 103, 135, 136, 139, 174n21, 181, 189, 210 Morocco, 16, 77, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88–92 M oryson, Fynes, 193, 195 Mughal artistic representation, 41–76 Mughal court, 9, 41–76, 104 Mughal courtly display, 53 M ughal India, 6, 7, 41–76 M ughals M uslim, 25, 26, 38, 54, 60, 100n7, 119, 135, 136, 139, 143, 151, 152, 160, 165, 171, 172n17, 174, 174, 180, 208, 210, 211, 214, 218, 219 nation, 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 31, 34, 36, 49, 79, 83, 101, 102, 103, 105, 131–5, 141, 147, 152, 154, 158, 160, 162, 171, 179, 191, 193, 195, 201, 211, 214, 219, 224 law of nations, 7, 35 multinational, 102 nationalism, nationalistic, 7, 29, 92, 179 nationalities, 96, 100, 101 New and Large Discourse of the Travels of Sir Anthony Sherley, A, 23n1, 33 New Christians, 167, 168n1 New World, 42, 144, 153, 213, 214 New World History, 28, 29

Index Newton, Adam Z., 189–90 Nicolay, Nicolas de Les navigations, peregrinations et voyages, faicts en la Turquie, par Nicolas de `Nicolay, 158–60 N ini, 69, 73 Nixon, Anthony T he Three English Brothers, 23n1, 24n3, 33, 36 N ur J ahan, 65, 66, 67, 69 Oliver, Isaac, 64 Onor, Queen of, 167–91 O rient, 66, 103, 104, 208, 211, 214, 217 O rientalism, 161, 217 O rtelius, A braham Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 55 O ther, 130–33, 135–44, 207, 208, 212, 214, 215, 217–24 O ttoman Empire, 6, 8, 17, 27, 39n40, 100n7, 129, 140, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 156, 157, 160, 162–3, 171n17, 220 O ttoman S ultan, 31, 68, 77, O ttomans, 18, 23, 25, 36, 60, 100, 109, 129–44, 147–66, 214, 217, 218, 220, 221 Padmamba, 188 Palmer, T homas An Essay of the Meanes how to make our Trauailes, into forraine Countries, the more profitable and honorourable, 9–10, 131–2 Parr A nthony, 24n3, 25n4, 31, 33, 34, 38n41 Parry, William A New and Large Discourse of the Travels of Sir Anthony Sherley, 23n1, 24n3, 33 Peacham, Henry The Compleate Gentleman, 131–2 Peck, Linda Levy, 50 Pepys, S amuel The Diary of Samuel Pepys, 195–6 Peregrinação (Travels), 168, 169, 169n5, 171, 178, 179, 184n49 performance, 11, 13, 99, 110, 115, 117, 190 Perry, Curtis, 116n5


Persia, 23–40 Persian women, 108–10 Philip II , King of S pain, 80 pilgrim, pilgrimage, 54, 104, 129, 130–44 Pinch, William, 50, 73 Pincon, Abel Relation d’un Voyage faict es annees 1598 et 1599, 23n1, 24n2, 33 Pinto, Fernão Mendes, 18, 167–91 Pirates, 32, 77, 81, 90, 136–8, 167, 169, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 189 Plantin, Christopher, 55 Pomeranz, Kenneth, 28, 29, 52n25 Poovey, M ary, 119n21 Pope, 23, 32, 37, 134 Portugal, 81, 137, 138, 168, 173, 174, 176, 178, 180, 181, 183, 187 Portuguese, 23, 36, 40, 54, 81, 95, 97, 98, 99, 100, 102 103, 110, 131, 154, 167 91 Portuguese Estado da India, 97 Pory, J ohn, 16, 78n5, 87–8, 92 postcolonial, 212 post-Reformation Europe, 8 Pratt, M ary L ouise, 110n20, 149 Protestants, Protestantism, 7, 29, 130–35, 139, 142, 149, 150, 152, 196 proto-imperial, 24, 26, 27, 38, 40 proto-industrialism, 26 proto-modernization, 28 proto-novelist, 13, 170, 179, 189 proto-Orientalist, 161 Prynne, William Histriomastix, 114 Purchas, Samuel Haklutys Posthumus, Purchas his Pilgrims, 54n29, 71, 72n57, 136–9, 142n52 Purchas his Pilgrimage, 169, 208, 216, 219, 220 Quarles, John (cloth merchant), 120–22 race, 8, 40, 130, 148 R aleigh, Walter, 53 The Discoverie of ... Guiana, 114, 116 reciprocal comparison, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33–4, 38, 40 R eformation, the, 7


Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture

religion, 8, 54, 60, 80, 83, 84, 87, 114, 115, 134, 139, 140, 143, 149, 150, 151, 155, 157, 159, 160, 165, 166, 174, 211, 217, 219, 233 Remón, Alfonso, 40 renegade, 38, 137, 138, 159, 224 R everend Father Ephraim, 99 R ise of Europe, 28, 29, 40 R izi, Aqa, 69 R oberts, H enry, 81, 114n2 R oberts, J osephine, 225n1, 228, 231n4 Roberts, Nicholas, 136–8, 142, 143 R oe, T homas, 9, 17, 41–76, 96 R oider, Karl A ., 165, 166n39 R omm, J ames, 148 R oss, D enison, 26, n9, 31n23, 33, 36n39 Rowley, William A New Wonder, A Woman Never Vext, 116n8, 127n52 All’s Lost by Lust, 91–2 The Travels of the Three English Brothers, 23, 24, 26, 30–32, 33, 38, 39 Royal Exchange, 157 S afavid, 23, 24n3, 25, 33, 34n29, 34n32, 35, 39 S afavid embassy, 16 S afavid Persia, 6 safir, 6, 34–5, 36, 37, 39, 40 Said, Edward, 104n12, 209n13 S aluva dynasty, 185, 185n50, n56, 187, 188 Saluva king, 188n66 S alvador George, 95, 111 S ampsonia, T eresa, 38 S anderson, J ohn, 138–44 S andys, George Ovid’s Metamorphosis, 207, 215, 216 A Relation of a Journey, 139n38, 140, 210, 216–17, 219 S angitapura, 185, 185n51 S aris, J ohn, 53 Schama, Simon, 195–6 scholars, 208–11 science, 25, 208–11 Sebek, Barbara, 51–2 S en, S udipta, 43, 49 seraglio [see harem] S etton, Kenneth, 155 Sforza, Cardinal Guido Ascanio, 104

S hah A bbas, 23, 24n3, 26, 31, 34, 35, 36, 39 S hah of Persia, 10 Shakespeare, William The Comedy of Errors, 115 I Henry IV, 115 The Merchant of Venice, 84–7 Much Ado About Nothing, 113 Richard III, 115 “Sonnet 35,” 223 The Tempest, 11, 19, 127–8, 207–24 S herley, A nthony, 23–40 Sir Anthony Sherley His Relation of His Travels into Persia, 23n1, 33 S herley brothers, 10, 16 S herley, L ady R obert, 39 S herley, R obert, 30, 31, 38–9 S herley, T homas, 24, 26, 30, 33 S idney family, 233 S idney, S ir Philip and S ir H enry, 159 S ilva, L eila R odrigues da, 168n1, 169, 169n5 silver, illegal trafficking of, 97 S inan Basha, O ttoman admiral, 158, 160n37 S ingh, J yotsna, 3n11, 27n11, 27n14, 79n7, 134n18, 136n23 S ophy, 31–8 S pain, 14, 26, 33, 36, 37, 80, 81, 84, 87, 89, 91, 153, 160, 196 spice trade, 96, 168n1 spy, 17, 32, 95–111, 129–44 the stage, 11, 12, 13, 16, 18, 19, 24, 28, 77, 81, 88, 91, 92, 96, 99, 102, 111, 122, 126 167, 194, 195, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 222 St. John, Powlett, Earl of Bolingbrooke, 161 S tell, J ohn, 159 Stow, John, 12, 81–4, 92 S ubrahmanyam, S anjay, 4n11, 25n7, 26n8, 28n15, 29, 41n1, 52n25, 180 Suleiman Pasha, Viceroy of Cairo, 172, 188 Sultana Safiye, 68–9 S urat, 97, 99, 100, 108 Talionic system, 109 T ate, N ahum, 161 T emple, William, 196 Terry, Edward, 43, 65, 71 theater, 11, 13, 99, 222 theatricality, 11–13, 16, 17, 88, 91, 96, 99, 102, 104, 106, 114, 194, 201, 203, 213, 218

Index Timberlake, Henry A True and Strange Discourse of the Travailes of Two English Pilgrims, 133–6 T omson, George, 84 trade / traders, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 12, 30, 34, 41, 42, 43, 46, 49, 51, 52, 66, 71, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 90, 91, 96, 97, 98, 101, 102, 106, 110, 113, 114, 117, 118, 120, 127, 141, 157, 160, 180, 183, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 202, 203, 213, 224 transformation, 215–24 translation, theories of, 148 translators, as emissaries, 147–66 transmission, 18, 19 transmission and transformation, 207–35 travel guides, 130–33 travelogue, 38, 109, 148 travel narrative/ travel writing, 4n12, 27, 75, 110, 129–44, 147–9, 155–65, 169, 170n10, 216–17 T rollope, A ntony, 202 True Discourse of Sir Anthony Sherley’s Travels into Persia, A, 23n1 True Report of Sir Anthony Shierlies Journey, A, 23n1, 32–3 Turk/Turks/Turkey/ Turkish, 31, 41, 43, 45, 61, 68, 69, 83, 89, 90, 100, 101, 102, 103, 134, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 147, 149, 151, 153, 154, 155–7, 158, 159, 160, 164, 165, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 178, 180, 188, 213, 216, 217, 218, 219 Turning Turk, 215, 218


Varthema, Ludovico de Itinerario, 148 Vaughan, Virginia, Mason, 3, n11, 8, 11, 12, 16, 17, 19, 88, n41 Venkatappa Nayaka, 186n57 Vijayanagara, 180, 184, 185 Vitkus, Daniel, 129n2, 130, 131, 134n18, 136n23, 156, 215 Voyage, contaminating, 17, 38, 43, 80, 95, 96, 103, 104, 108, 109, 114, 120, 134, 138, 168, 213 Washington, T homas The Navigations, peregrinations and voyages made into Turkie, 159; see also Nicolay, Nicolas de Watreman, William, The Fardel of Facions, 151, 152–3; see also Boemus, J oannes Weber, M ax, 29 Wierix, J erome, 69 Wilkins, George The Travels of the Three English Brothers, 23, 24, 26, 30–32, 33, 38, 39 Willan, T .S ., 118 Winter, H enry, 209n9, 209n10 Wong, Bin, 28, 29, 30n21 Woosely-Poiteven, Kimberly, 66n51, 68 Wroth, L ady M ary, 225–35 Urania, 225–35 Xavier, Francis, 167, 181n38, 187n64 Y eazell, R uth Bernard, 104, 108n16, 109n17 Zouche, Richard, 7