Three Turk Plays from Early Modern England: Selimus, Emperor of the Turks; A Christian Turned Turk; and The Renegado / Edition 1

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During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Ottoman empire posed a clear and present danger to Christian rule in Europe. While English commerce with the Mediterranean world expanded, Ottoman forces invaded Greece, Hungary, and Austria. At the same time, "Turkish" pirates and renegades from North Africa roamed the Atlantic and raided the coast of England. The threat was ideological as well: English sailors captured by Barbary pirates sometimes renounced their faith and converted to Islam.

Here, three important early modern "Turk" plays--Robert Greene's Selimus, Emperor of the Turks (1594); Robert Daborne's A Christian Turned Turk (1612); and Philip Massinger's The Renegado (1623)--are available for the first time. These texts represent Islamic power and wealth in scenes of piracy on the high seas, on-stage execution by strangulation, and rites of religious conversion. The plays are set in historical and cultural context by Daniel J. Vitkus's clear and thoughtful introduction. These carefully edited, annotated, modern-spelling editions are particularly valuable for understanding the cultural production of English identity in relation to the Islamic Other.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Greg Bak
Vitkus has done the field of early modern studies considerable service in producing this edition of these plays. By presenting, in modern English and in an accessible format, three interesting plays together with supporting documents, he has made it much easier to introduce these texts, and the fascinating issues that they raise, into undergraduate teaching and research.
Theodore Leinwand
Daniel Vitkus equips us with an extremely informative introduction as well as fresh, reader-friendly editions of three plays about that great early modern English 'other, ´ the Turk, and about Islam´s enigmatic ally, the renegade or convert. Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century imaginings of Islamic culture (from Barbary pirates to Ottoman despots, from circumcision to the seraglio feature prominently in well over a dozen Elizabethan and Jacobean plays, so it is high time that we had easy access to three prime examples.
Vitkus (English, Florida Institute of Technology) presents three plays that he believes demonstrate the increasing complexity with which the English constructed their ideas of identity in relation to the Islamic "Other." Also included is an introduction in which he presents the plays in historical and cultural context. Paper edition (11029-4), $18.50. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231110297
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 12/17/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 934,083
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel J. Vitkus is assistant professor of English at Florida Institute of Technology. From 1991 to 1997 he was assistant professor of English at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

1. Selimus, Emperor of the TurksNotes2. A Christian Turned TurkNotes3. The RenegadoNotes

Columbia University Press

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