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Title: Representation of the Orient in 16th & 17th Century English Drama with Focus on Persia: A New Historicist Perspective
Authors: , Abdul Ghaffar
Keywords: Language and Literature
English Language and Literature
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: International Islamic University, Islamabad.
Abstract: Representation of the Orient in 16th &17th century English Drama with Focus on Persia: A New Historicist Perspective The subject of the current dissertation is to present a new historicist study of representation of the Orient in 16th & 17th century English drama with focus on Persia in relation to the four plays: Cambyses, The Travailes of The Three English Brothers, The Sophy and Mirza. The work is primarily focussed on confirming the contention that the English playwrights have misrepresented the Orient including Persia in their plays. Using new historicism as a major theoretical framework, the study seeks to reveal that not only the selected English plays but also the varied contemporary discourses have represented Persia and Persians in a negative manner with a view to establishing and asserting cultural hegemony. Though the discourse employed in these plays may not be described as Orientalist or imperialist discourse yet the plays obviously register the birth of the discourse which later on took the form of Orientalist discourse. New historicist assumptions - historicity of the text, discourse and power relationship and the construction of identity are used to examine these plays. This theory sees an inseparable link between literary works and socio-historical conditions. The key assumptions of new historicism are studied as reflected through various elements in the plays, prominently in the representation of Persian characters, dialogues and the interaction between Persian and English characters. The study also heavily draws on Edward Said’s views in Orientalism. His views on representation and existence of an Orientalist discourse from the time of Greek civilization provide an ancillary theoretical lens to investigate the representation of Persia in the selected plays. It is employed in order to reinforce the explanations and findings related to the representation of Persia and Persians. Application of both theories indicates many affinities in the explicatory process of these plays as well as in the findings drawn from their examination. The study reveals that the English playwrights deliberately misrepresented Persia with a view to disseminating and asserting their cultural hegemony across the world. Thus, the validity of the contention is confirmed through this study. The juxtaposition of literary works with non-literary works also demonstrates that the contemporary inter-discursive practices form intertextuality. Further, these varied discourses as ideological tools show complicity in supporting the dominant ideology of the period. This awareness may enhance our understanding in regard to the English perception of the Oriental people in general and Persians in particular during early modern English period. However, the objective of this study is not to blame one or the other party or to highlight the undeniable differences between the West and East. But, the objective is to develop understanding that may help overcome the differences and lead towards accommodation, tolerance and forgiveness since this is the way to start new beginnings and become a part of larger humanity and universal brotherhood.
Gov't Doc #: 23324
Appears in Collections:PhD Thesis of All Public / Private Sector Universities / DAIs.

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