Ankara Sosyal Bilimler Üniversitesi, Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü, Batı Dilleri ve Edebiyatları, Ankara/Türkiye

Keywords: Islamophobia and Turkophobia; American popular literature,Nineteenth Century Image of the Turks,Her Rescue from the Turks



Turkophobia and Islamophobia in the Nineteenth Century Western/ American Popular Fiction: An Orienttalist Reading of Her Rescue from the Turks (1896)

This article will be an examination of the images and representations, catalyst in perpetuation of both Islamophobia and Turkophobia, maintained in American popular culture at the end of the nineteenth century, by a close study of St. George Rathborne's (1854-1938) popular dime novel Her Rescue from the Turks (1896). Even though the narrative in the format of romance in this study is a clear example of a poor literary taste, given the popularity of cheap chauvinistic, erotic and exotic romances with the general populace and therefore its wide readership, bringing these now-lesser-known nineteenth century cultural texts to attention is important in terms of forming a better picture about the West's stance against a foreign culture and a people, namely the Turks and Turkish culture at that point of history. By identifying the stereotypical conception of the Turkish other in a nineteenth century text, it will surely be a meaningful observation to see where the modern Hollywood's cinematic codes about the East (e.g. in character development, plot and setting) are based and how they are sustained. The paper concludes the following: The popular romance of Rathborne's, due to its Orientalist perceptions, becomes a jingoistic and chauvinistic celebration of the American patriotism; an unrelentingly demeaning portrayal of Islam as inferior to Christianity; a misinformed representation of Oriental women and the harem only serving to the creation of a false sense of superiority for their Western counterparts; and a view of irredeemably backward and primitive Ottoman Turkish culture in opposition to an advanced and rational American West.