Abstract

Montfleury’s Le Mary sans femme disseminates distorted yet laudatory information about the legal and sexual practices of the Ottoman Empire to French audiences and readers. The playwright rehearses long-standing orientalist tropes by representing the Ottoman Empire as despotic and devoid of law. Instead of condemning this putative lawlessness, however, Montfleury celebrates it. The glorification of (supposed) Ottoman juridical and sexual customs indicates that Said’s theory of orientalism must be modified to account fully for the complexities of early modern European discourse on the Muslim world.

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