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Mark Twain, the Ottoman Empire and Palestine

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Abstract:

In the summer of 1867 Mark Twain and Sultan Abdelaziz of Turkey happened to be on the Champs Elysees the same day. Twain was on his way to the Holy Land, Turkey and other parts of the Near East and had stopped in Paris to visit the Great Exhibition showcasing France’s imperial grandeur. The Ottoman Sultan was parading with Napoleon III on the same occasion. In his travel notes Twain recorded a snapshot impression of Napoleon III as “intelligent looking” and of the Sultan as “stupid looking … the representative of a people by nature and training filthy, brutish, ignorant, unprogressive, superstitious.” This was before he even set foot in Turkey. After visiting Turkey, Twain indulged in musing about the destruction which the Ottoman Empire had “so richly deserved for a thousand years.”

This paper argues that there exists a historical thread in Twain, mediated by his travel accounts and novels, about the destruction of the Ottoman Empire and the opening of the Holy Land for re-appropriation. Twain’s representation of the Islamic world and its peoples has an important function in that historical vision. This paper will explore the sources of that vision, Twain’s orientalism and his modes of expression, as well as the interplay of fancy and reality, of humor and seriousness, of children’s fantasies and historico-political designs.
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Name: American Studies Association
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MLA Citation:

Ben Rejeb, Lotfi. "Mark Twain, the Ottoman Empire and Palestine" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association, <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p105461_index.html>

APA Citation:

Ben Rejeb, L. "Mark Twain, the Ottoman Empire and Palestine" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p105461_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: In the summer of 1867 Mark Twain and Sultan Abdelaziz of Turkey happened to be on the Champs Elysees the same day. Twain was on his way to the Holy Land, Turkey and other parts of the Near East and had stopped in Paris to visit the Great Exhibition showcasing France’s imperial grandeur. The Ottoman Sultan was parading with Napoleon III on the same occasion. In his travel notes Twain recorded a snapshot impression of Napoleon III as “intelligent looking” and of the Sultan as “stupid looking … the representative of a people by nature and training filthy, brutish, ignorant, unprogressive, superstitious.” This was before he even set foot in Turkey. After visiting Turkey, Twain indulged in musing about the destruction which the Ottoman Empire had “so richly deserved for a thousand years.”

This paper argues that there exists a historical thread in Twain, mediated by his travel accounts and novels, about the destruction of the Ottoman Empire and the opening of the Holy Land for re-appropriation. Twain’s representation of the Islamic world and its peoples has an important function in that historical vision. This paper will explore the sources of that vision, Twain’s orientalism and his modes of expression, as well as the interplay of fancy and reality, of humor and seriousness, of children’s fantasies and historico-political designs.

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Similar Titles:
Empire-to-Nation: The Rise of Panislamism and Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire, 1876-1923

The Ottoman Empire and European Order: On the Margin of Christendom


 
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