Discourses on Emotions: Communities, Styles, and Selves in Early Modern Mediterranean Travel Books Three Case Studies

El-Sayed, Laila Hashem Abdel-Rahman (2016) Discourses on Emotions: Communities, Styles, and Selves in Early Modern Mediterranean Travel Books Three Case Studies. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent, Freie Universität Berlin. (Full text available)

Download (1MB) Preview


The present study focuses on emotion discourses in early modern travel books. It attempts a close textual, intertextual, and contextual analysis of several embedded narratives on emotions in three late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century travel books: Kitāb Nāṣir al-Dīn 'ala 'l-Qawm al-Kāfirīn: Mukhtaṣar Riḥlat al-Shihāb 'ila Liqā´ al-Aḥbāb by Andalusian traveller Ahmed bin Qāsim al-Ḥajarī (1570- c.1641), The Diary of Master Thomas Dallam by an English craftsman, Thomas Dallam (1575-1630), and Seyahâtnâme (The Book of Travels) by Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi (1611-1685). In these travel books, al-Ḥajarī, Dallam, and Evliya narrate their journeys as emotionally protean experiences. They associate emotions with the contexts of their journeys, their volition to travel, and their authorial motives to write about their journeys. They display their emotions in their dreams, humour, and other subjective experiences. Their narratives yield uncommon notions of emotions, namely the emotions of encounter. A love story between a Muslim traveller and a Catholic girl, an English craftsman's anxiety at the court of an Ottoman Sultan, a disgusting meal in a foreign land, are just a few examples of emotionally freighted situations which are unlikely to be found in any genre but a travel book. The close textual analysis aims to identify the role of the writers' cultures in shaping and regulating their discourses on emotions. The intertextual and contextual analysis of these narratives reveals that the meaning and function of these displayed emotions revolve around the traveller's community affiliation, religion, ideology, and other culture-specific discourses and practices such as Sufism, folk medicine, myths, folk traditions, natural and geographical phenomena, cultural scripts, social norms, and power relations. In a nutshell, reading the travellers' discourses on emotions means reading many cultural and historical aspects of the early modern world. To approach discourses on emotions in texts of the past, the present study draws on the theory of culture-construction of emotions. It uses three analytical notions from the fields of language, anthropology and history of emotions: 'emotional communities', 'emotional styles' and 'emotional self-fashioning'. The present study uses a theoretical framework defined by a recent wave of studies on self-narratives as sources for the history and cultural diversity of emotions in the medieval and early modern periods. Within this approach, travel writing is seen as a self-narrative, a communicative act, and a social practice. This approach to emotion discourses in Riḥla, travel journals and Seyahat genres allows us to project the transcultural and entangled history of the early modern Mediterranean, which as much it was a contested frontier between Islam and Christianity, was also a space of religious conversion and hybrid identities, the articulation of diplomacy and cultural exchange, mysticism and religious pluralism. This approach also pinpoints the diverse forms of cosmopolitanism, or rather cosmopolitanisms, in the plural.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Uncontrolled keywords: Early modern Riḥla, travel journals, and Seyahat genres, History of Emotions, Emotional communities, Emotional styles, Emotional self-fashioning, Ahmed bin Qāsim al-Ḥajarī (1570- c.1641), Thomas Dallam (1575-1630), Evliya Çelebi (1611-1685), Early modern Mediterranean world, Affective cosmopolitanism.
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D901 Europe (General)
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2016 09:40 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2016 08:22 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/56635 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year