Misunderstandings are the medium in which the noncommunicable is communicated.
—Theodor Adorno, Prisms
It is the spring of 2013, the Rijksmuseum is still closed for renovation, but I am in Amsterdam to see a cache of paintings of Ottoman life by the French-Flemish artist Jean-Baptiste Vanmour. The curator in charge of the Calkoen collection has generously been standing by as I work painting by painting in the museum stores. On my final day she has kindly made an appointment for me to go to the office of the museum's director to see one final painting. To my surprise, he is there. He walks over and greets me warmly, and the three of us stand back to look at the enormous View of Istanbul from the Dutch Embassy at Pera
(ca. 1720-37), which is bolted to the wall opposite his desk (Plate 1). It is a labored, confused painting. Time passes. In so many words, the director indicates that he will be happy not to look at this painting when he moves to his new office. Since I have occasioned reflection upon a daily irritant, I suddenly feel compelled to speak about this picture that I have only just seen, about why I am here.
By any standards, Vanmour's monumental landscape is a remarkably clumsy picture. Something about the task of representing Istanbul on this scale proved to be beyond his means. The stone balcony in the foreground is perhaps the most discomfiting element of the painting: the tiles and stones defy any coherent sense of perspective and these spatial deformations are only exacerbated when we attempt to make sense of the roofs and houses beyond. Furthermore, the figures are not terribly well integrated. The central group of Europeans discoursing about what lies before them seems to come from an entirely different representational economy than the laborer on the left and the man with the horse on the right. These figures appear to be directly out of contemporary costume albums, and there is no apparent rationale for their presence here except as signs of exoticism. One could say something similar about the smoking figure seated on the balustrade—unlike the Europeans whose gestures connect them to the scene, he could be anywhere in the Ottoman dominions. But these disjunctions between the figures and their relative distance from one another are revealing because they demonstrate a failure to successfully devise a pictorial solution for intercultural relations. The very thing that unsettles this picture—its dubious command of the foreground elements—points to that which unsettles any European artist's practice in this space. How can the descriptive techniques of Dutch and French painting (Vanmour was trained in these traditions), and the sociability that they imply, be modified to adequately render the artist's and the viewer's situation.
I use the word "situation" advisedly because one of the thrilling things about this picture is the degree to which the image gains confidence the farther one moves into the landscape and away from the city. In other words, the evocative treatment of the mountains and the Bosphorus in the background highlights the aesthetic struggle to represent the urban world of Istanbul. That the primary elements that gave order to the Western aesthetic tradition—perspective and ocular description—are vexed by what would seem to be the simple task of rendering this balcony gives a very clear sense of the degree to which Vanmour and other cultural practitioners were forced to reimagine their practice. We could suggest that hybridizing the representational economies of landscape and the costume painting into the same picture has generated a spatial deformation, a kind of representational disturbance that actually captures the vexed relationship between European and Ottoman subjects in this represented space. Europeans and Ottomans had a great deal of mediated social intercourse in the capital, but devising a genre capable of capturing this extraordinary ordinariness called into question the way that social relations were represented. Time and again in this book we will encounter examples of this kind of representational discord. My objective is to track these disturbances as they surface in order reflect upon what they indicate about intercultural sociability and about mediation itself. My contention is that these representational disturbances, or vexed mediations, offer auspicious sites for considering social relations beyond fantasies of the selfsame: they are historical gifts for a time when the urgency of speaking, living, and being with others demands a fierce reckoning with Europe's own preconceptions of discursive legitimacy.
Such an exercise poses significant challenges for historical narration and conceptual organization. Rather than offering a grand narrative of European-Ottoman relations or a rigid conceptual framework to organize the archive, I have chosen to explore a series of intimate encounters, some of which have large geopolitical ramifications, using the tools of microhistory and cultural analysis. Thus, the overall effect is far more constellatory than cumulative. Every chapter of this book follows the fortunes of notable European—primarily British, Dutch, and French—diplomats to the Sublime Porte of the Ottoman Empire. These ambassadors were charged not only with representing their respective states at the Ottoman court, but also with maintaining vital trade relations in the Mediterranean. At times I look at their activities in great detail, because their complex mediatory role forces us to think carefully about intercultural communication itself, both in its intimate performance and in its geopolitical significance. That said, every chapter of this book also attends to extremely important aesthetic representations of the Ottoman Empire produced by or under the aegis of these same diplomats. The European embassies in Pera were multifarious social spaces in which artists and writers engaged with the foreign world around them. Engagement in this sense has to do with how genres and forms of representation were deployed and modified to take stock of the spaces and subjects under Ottoman rule. As I work through a very mixed archive of drawings, maps, letters, dispatches, memoirs, travel narratives, engraved books, paintings, poems, and even architecture, I argue that the repository of European representations of Ottoman culture constitutes a valuable resource not only for Ottoman cultural history but also for media archaeology in the eighteenth century. One of the primary theses of this book is that engagement and the later disengagement with the Ottoman world forced symptomatic alterations and deformations in European genres and media. By closely analyzing these deformations and modifications it is possible to scale out to larger claims, first, about intercultural communication and sociability and, second, about recurrent patterns of national and imperial exchange. In its most provocative moments, this book argues that understanding European modernity requires an engagement with the Ottoman Empire.
These are large claims, especially since many of the materials I am analyzing here have either been marginalized in mainstream eighteenth-century studies, or they have only ever been handled in an illustrative fashion. Some of the texts, paintings, and engravings that I deal with have appeared in essays and books as somewhat transparent representations of social practices—this is especially the case of the writings of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the paintings of Jean-Baptiste Vanmour. One of my primary objectives in this book is to radically complicate the relationship between these representations and that which they represent. There is a referential relationship between the images and texts I consider and the subjects they represent, but that relationship is tempered as much by European practices and expectations as it is by any challenges posed by the referent. Yet those challenges are manifest. Engaging the Ottoman world involves combined acts of translation, mediation, and invention such that these representations often draw attention to their own vexed status. And that vexation is only complicated further by the changing political desires vis-à-vis the Ottoman state.
The eight chapters that make up this book intermittently work very close to the evidence and draw back for the long view, a tactic employed by many of the representations I consider. What this means is that the book itself is faced with a challenging balancing act between historical narration and cultural analysis. It is my strong belief that achieving this balance is crucial for understanding the importance of the interface between European and Ottoman culture in this period for we will be encountering far more similarities than conventional wisdom and much scholarship has led us to believe. In the ensuing sections of this Introduction I sketch out three primary propositions that weave their way through all of the chapters: (1) careful attention to formal problematics and generic change allows us to discern important social and cultural tensions in this mediated archive; (2) scrutiny of spatial and temporal itineraries reveals a complex relation to Europe's past that haunts many of my primary observers' present experiences in Ottoman lands; and (3) matters of affect and power are crucial for understanding both formal deformation and historical consciousness in these works because they are so thoroughly entwined with wartime. Formal disturbances and collisions often point to competing temporal itineraries that ultimately leave an affective imprint of deep historical significance.
As these formal, historical, and affective concerns coalesce, I think we can discern crucial developments both in the formation of "Europe" as a concept and in the representation of the Ottoman Empire. In many ways, Europeans representing Ottoman culture and politics found themselves reexamining, or perhaps examining for the first time, the ways and means in which they represented themselves. In some cases, this self-scrutiny led to remarkable acts of cosmopolitan imagination; in others, challenges to the self opened onto either hyper-aesthetic acts of introversion or genocidal fantasies of domination and extirpation of the Ottoman Empire. Significantly these two poles of engagement correspond to separate eras of intercultural exchange, and thus this book is divided into two sections: the first covers the period from 1690 to 1734, and the second focuses on the period between 1763 and 1815. But before laying out the book's structure and its overall narrative arc, I want to situate this book in relation to eighteenth-century studies and the scholarship on empire and globalization more generally. The following three sections of this Introduction elaborate on how form, historical itineraries, and emotion operate in this book.
"I Am Now Got into a New World": The Consolations of Form
For scholars of the eighteenth century, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's Turkish Embassy Letters is the most widely acclaimed record of intercultural encounter with the Ottoman world. One of the earliest letters addressed from Ottoman territory declares to an unknown addressee that "I am now got into a new world," and it is perhaps worth pausing over the modifiers that give the letter its aura of urgency and excitement. The adverb "now" and the adjective "new" not only isolate her in an impossibly narrow present condition, but also disconnect the space she inhabits from its past, from its well-known history. Denys Van Renen argues that this clause "indicates that she is willing to let the setting dictate her outlook" and that "trying to make an impossible temporal category possible, Montagu employs her 'now' to create a perpetual present and to involve imaginatively the recipient in her experiences, eliding a past that interferes with 'their' total immersion in a new culture." It is important to recognize just how artificial this gesture is. Both the "now" and the "new" are counterintuitive constructions. Writing can never capture the present; it is precisely the time that eludes inscription, and this ostensibly "new" world had been in place for centuries. The Ottoman Empire was founded under Osman I in 1299 in northwestern Anatolia; but from Mehmed the Conquerer's conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the empire had exerted significant hold on the European imagination. As numerous scholars of early modern Europe have demonstrated, the "Turk" is almost coextensive with the imagination of Christendom itself. Significant recent arguments have shown that what we now identify as "news" came into full generic competence with the Battle of Lepanto. In the wake of that epochal event, the Ottomans became the preeminent example of a contemporary "empire" for the European imagination, only to be superseded by nascent imperial formations following the Seven Years' War.
This is an important and often forgotten point. Empire, from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, was generally the subject of comparative analysis. And, crucially, not all of the empires being compared were European. Prior to the Treaty of Westphalia—which ended the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, established the precedent of peace treaties negotiated by diplomatic congresses, and ultimately instituted political order in Europe based on coexisting sovereign states—Europeans had direct political experience, affective involvement, and historical engagement with five very different imperial formations. One, the Roman Empire, was inexorably a part of the past, but its cultural, legal, and social lineage remained imaginatively alive. Spain's vast overseas empire signaled the renewed viability in the present of economic and territorial control on a global scale; although with that possibility also came the specter of religious tyranny. This is not the place to survey the impact of the Spanish example on the political and social developments of every other region of what is now called Europe. At the risk of overstatement, no other imperial power had such wide-ranging effects on the domestic politics of regions outside its control, and this is why the Peace of Westphalia occupies such a constitutive place in the consideration of sovereignty, nationalism, and international law. The Dutch Republic's mercantile empire of the seventeenth century offered a rather different model, whose legacy is felt most forcefully in the English and French mercantile networks of the first half of the eighteenth century.
Two other empires—the Habsburg Empire and the Ottoman Empire—also engaged the European imagination during this period. Both predated and continued to operate outside the Westphalian system, and both laid claim to the frontiers between "Europe" and "Asia." But they animated the European imagination in radically asymmetrical fashion. Because the Habsburg Empire drifted in and out of the Holy Roman Empire, and perhaps because the Habsburg Empire's statecraft did not cohere into an easily representable form until the late seventeenth century, it tended to disappear behind the alterity of its territorial rival. As numerous scholars have now demonstrated, the Ottoman Empire, by the time of the Battle of Lepanto, had very quickly acquired the status of Europe's defining other. With the Atlantic Ocean as that which brackets Europe's western expanse, then the geographical location of the Ottoman Empire allowed it to operate as the eastern bracket required for a wide range of polities to see themselves as somehow related. Looking at the vast archive of maps from the early modern period, Palmira Brummett argues conclusively that the combined force of location and religious difference allowed French, Dutch, Italian, English, and German observers of the Ottoman Empire to overcome the sectarian differences that otherwise made "Europe" other to itself. In that regard, Islam worked as the absolute other that enabled "Christendom" to cohere as an ideology and as a political project. Despite remarkable levels of social exchange and a long history of porous borders in eastern Europe, Ottoman rule came to stand for this difference. It is important to recognize that this opposition was largely a discursive effect, activated to legitimate aggression or to constitute sameness; thus declarations of a "clash of civilizations" mistake an effect for cause. Even a cursory analysis of the Ottoman example demonstrates an extraordinary flow of foreign subjects into and through its territories and a remarkable toleration of difference among its subject populations.
This book shows that this specious activation of "Turkish" alterity also permeates the history of both print and performative media. My intention is to correct the relative lack of scholarly attention, especially among cultural critics, that has been paid to the abundance of informational literature and media about the Ottoman Empire that circulated in eighteenth-century Europe. Current secondary literature on "Turkish" topics in eighteenth-century studies tends to gravitate toward exoticism, the Oriental tale, and a generalized sense of the East as it registers in various fictional genres. Unlike scholarship on British India or on the circum-Atlantic, a large proportion of this work does not deal with the Ottoman Empire as a political and economic reality, in part because there is a mistaken assumption that readers did not know this world. Yet accounts of the Ottoman world pervade the print culture of many European locales. After all, the Ottoman state was the subject of extensive historical inquiry in Europe almost from its inception. It became a key comparator for Western theories of governance, and not only as the chief example of despotism. As numerous scholars have now shown, the highly organized Ottoman bureaucracy and its standing military were often as not seen as models of good governance.
To put this provocatively, the Ottoman Empire, before the advent of modernity, carried much of the heterocosmic import of that term. A functioning empire, in existence now, operating according to decidedly alternative social, legal, and religious structures would have looked remarkable to a merchant in London or Leiden as much as to a courtier in France or Sweden. It should thus come as no surprise that the Ottoman world was represented in—and influenced the development of—a variety of European media. For example, Brummett has shown the constitutive place of the Ottoman Empire for the history of cartography in Italy, France, England, the Low Countries, and the Habsburg Empire. We can observe a similar phenomenon in other media. Andrew Pettegree has recently demonstrated not only how instrumental the reporting of the Battle of Lepanto was to the formal development of the news, but also how crucial the reporting on conflict with the Ottomans was to newsletters and newspapers in the seventeenth century. Taking my cue from these recognitions, this book opens by looking closely at the mediation of the Treaty of Karlowitz in a wide range of printed matter in order to establish the everydayness of this information for readers in London and Paris.
By the time Lady Mary Wortley Montagu writes "I am now got into a new world," this new world was old news. In fact, that is what allows Montagu's text to stage its primary critique: she assumes that her readers have knowledge of the histories written by Richard Knolles and Paul Rycaut, of the journey writing of Jean de Thevenot, George Sandys, Ottaviano Bon, Aaron Hill, and others, of the maps coming out of Holland, of the plays and operas being acted in London and Paris, of the specific deployment of Ottoman examples in political treatises by John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and others, and in the routine presence of Ottoman affairs in the daily press. In fact, the assumed level of knowledge in Montagu's letters is no less a sign of epistolary intimacy than that rhetorically achieved by the temporal shifter "now" and the somewhat specious "new": they are part of the same effect of writing that is based on extensive acts of collective reading.
Montagu's Letter-book is a useful heuristic here because the slow shift in how her text has been read tells us a great deal about eighteenth-century studies. In the immediate wake of Edward Said's Orientalism and the postcolonial turn in cultural criticism, it makes sense that most essays and chapters on Montagu focused on specific scenes of exoticism, on acts of aestheticization, and on the deployment of the East as a utopic space. What is revealing is that the ensuing canonization of the Turkish Embassy Letters has been partial. Anthologies are content to give the hammam letter, the meeting with Fatima, perhaps the letter on the rights of Ottoman women in marriage. In short, attention to the book has been dominated by its most ideologically freighted space, the seraglio, and by its most fraught subjects, Ottoman women. This disparity in the distribution of scholarly attention becomes all the more pronounced when we realize that more than half of the Turkish Embassy Letters focuses specifically on European spaces and social encounters. When we grant the European sections of the Turkish Embassy Letters as much attention as scholars have paid to the Ottoman sections, we can see that Montagu soberly compares the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires in order to conduct a highly complex analysis of the ongoing war between the two powers that animated her husband's diplomacy. Van Renen argues persuasively that to ignore the European sections of the Letters is to shred the text of much of its political argument, which he locates in Montagu's writings on fashion. In my fourth chapter, I will be pushing his argument much further by suggesting that Montagu addresses the issue of empire and war in the very historical discourses most conventionally utilized for these discussions—that is, epic poetry and classical history. I feel that this is necessary because Montagu's intervention has implications for the history of form, for aesthetics, and for the way that "European" discourses mediated their constitutive outsides.
Every page of this book, every argumentative thread, follows the information networks through which Europeans represented the Ottoman world and carefully tracks the search for formal and generic aptitude. Because so much of this book turns on pivotal moments when peace dissolves into war or when violence haunts attempts to represent the real, "crisis" is an important concept throughout. Following Lauren Berlant, I see "crisis" as "not exceptional to history or consciousness but a process embedded in the ordinary that unfolds in stories about navigating what's overwhelming." That navigation involves a careful attention to form and genre for, as she states, "Affect's saturation of form can communicate the conditions under which a historical moment appears as a visceral moment, assessing the way a thing that is happening finds its genre." The cultural products that make up the archive for this book share a common revisionary relation to genre and form. Europeans visiting or residing in the Ottoman Empire attempt to adapt or modify familiar forms to render distinctly unfamiliar experiences—in some cases they even learn from specifically Ottoman cultural practices. It is not an exaggeration to say that cultural difference was to some degree overwhelming for these observers, and we can trace the complex feelings instantiated by these encounters with social and historical alterity in the generic and formal innovations devised, on the spot as it were, to navigate this world.
Caroline Levine's capacious understanding of form proves to be useful in this context. For Levine, "'form' always indicates an arrangement of elements—an ordering, patterning, or shaping. . . . Form, for our purposes, will mean all shapes and configurations, all ordering principles, all patterns of repetition and difference." Like Jacques Rancière, she understands politics as a matter of imposing order on space and organizing time. In other words, "There is no politics without form." This is a salient matter here because European representations of the Ottoman Empire involve colliding forms. European strategies of narration and description are used to render the forms of Ottoman sociability and statecraft with varying degrees of success. The formal structures of Ottoman state processions and celebrations will prove to be particularly important here because they constituted both a political and a formal challenge for European representation. Social performance is translated into a cultural artifact, and the formal translation will tell us a great deal about everyone involved.
For this reason I pay a great deal of attention to the specific forms and media used to communicate information about the Ottoman Empire. How did Europeans in London or Paris learn about this faraway place? Much of the scholarship on European knowledge of the East focuses on travel literature and Oriental tales. The former, for all its inaccuracies and inventions, is usually treated differently than the latter, which is rightly traced back to the extraordinary commercial success of Antoine Galland's Les mille et une nuit (1704-17), a proto-translation of the Layla wa Layla, which circulated in England as Arabian Nights' Entertainments (1706). Recent scholarship on Oriental tales has shown that they were an extremely elastic genre, often deployed for scrutinizing or critiquing European governmentality and society. In a sense their generic flexibility and their explicit relation to fantasy and magic made them suitable for a wide range of historical and political applications. At the same time that these kinds of writings were permeating the print culture of eighteenth-century Europe, another kind of textual and visual engagement with the Ottoman world was suffusing the mediascape. There is a vast array of printed and visual materials purporting to offer more referential knowledge of the Ottoman Empire: travel narratives to be sure, but also engraved books, memoirs, scholarly disquisitions, histories, and new hybrid genres attempted to describe with increasing specificity a space and forms of sociability that most readers would never experience or see.
This book is very much about these latter materials, and the changing status of description is a crucial issue throughout. As Cynthia Wall has cogently argued in relation to the development of prose fiction in this period and Svetlana Alpers has vividly shown with regard to seventeenth-century Dutch painting, description has a complex discursive and political history. Not only does description itself change over time, its function within prose narratives and within visual art alters significantly as the century progresses. Benjamin Schmidt has argued further that the efflorescence of "exotic geography" in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries involved a rebalancing of narrative and description in favor of the latter that had a significant effect both on ethnography and geography itself. We will be acutely aware of these epistemological and discursive changes across the century-long period of this book, but because my archive is both textual and visual (and sometimes a hybrid of the two) my consideration of description will be multivalent and often quite extensive. One of the things I want to argue here is that the frequent combination of textual and visual description in the archive I am considering opens onto metacritical reflections on the relationship between representation and referent. This reflection often takes the form of rather strange exculpations, because in many cases the authors and artists are describing events or people that they could not see. Because the referent—most famously Ottoman women—was inaccessible, description was either conducted at second hand or replaced by highly symptomatic forms of invention. The former implies that the empirical act of description was always already mediated; the latter calls into question the epistemological basis of description itself. One of the most important things that we will see throughout this book is that the writers and artists I deal with were not only aware of these problems in representation, but frequently made them the occasion for considering representation's volatile place in intercultural relations.
Even though the powers of western Europe—Britain, France, and the United Provinces—did not hold territorial possessions in or near Ottoman lands, the Ottoman Empire is a crucial site of imperial fantasy. This is in part because the Ottoman Empire functioned as a preeminent example of empire, as discussed above; and it is in part because it was a site of projection for European fantasies about another, historical, preeminent example of empire: Rome. Anyone who wants to understand British imperial desires during this period, and especially how these desires get routed through Roman fantasies and the classical past, needs to look carefully first at how Rome was deployed to understand the Ottoman Empire and then how Greece was imaginatively extricated from Ottoman control. In both cases, we get a new sense of the political function of classical material in eighteenth-century life. What I show in the last four chapters of this book is the degree to which that which is temporally distant comes to mediate that which is most difficult to reconcile in the present, namely, cultural difference itself. As we will see, allegory plays a vital role in this story and the complex temporal deferral at its heart is crucial to the historical melancholy that suffuses many of the texts I consider. It strikes me as somewhat counterintuitive that this study of intercultural exchange may help to reorient scholarship on philhellenism and the legacy of classical learning in the eighteenth century, but this is one of its inexorable conclusions.
Spatial and Temporal Itineraries: Historical Involutes
Itineraries are as much about time as they are about space. As we move through space and time in this archive, we can trace changing relations not only to the object of knowledge, but also to the epistemological subject. One can discern a shifting field of desire vis-à-vis the Ottoman world that ultimately speaks just as clearly to emerging understandings of European identity. If we look broadly across the archive of cultural materials purporting to represent the Ottoman Empire in the eighteenth century, we discover that substantial portions of these publications are devoted to representations of the Holy Lands, Greece, Egypt, and/or Syria. One would be hard pressed to determine whether the primary audience for these texts was drawn to the accounts of Constantinople and Ottoman manners and customs, or whether this material was a vestigial supplement to the antiquarian gaze. Because these scenes of antiquarian interest were under Ottoman control, the vast majority of these texts brought multiple spatial and temporal genres into the same conceptual space, often with some significant discursive disjunctions. The complex relation between the "now" of Ottoman sociability and the "what has been" of antiquity is frequently marked in spatial terms. The widely read histories of the Ottoman Empire, Richard Knolles's The Generall Historie of the Turkes (1603) and Paul Rycaut's The Present State of the Ottoman Empire (1665), and, in its own way, volume 7 of J. F. Bernard's Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde (Ceremonies and Costumes, 1737), with its extensive illustrations by Bernard Picart, use the device of episodic compilation to capture the successive iterations of political regimes and religious practice. As Alain Grosrichard, Ros Ballaster, and others have demonstrated, these texts and the repetition of their primary episodes in political treatises and encyclopedic writing consolidated phantasms of the East. Spaces, dispositions, events become folded into a prevailing economy of despotism. The seraglio, the sultan's gaze and his handkerchief, the assassinations of the vizier coalesce into doxa long before Montesquieu would instrumentalize the tropes for a theory of governance.
But alongside of these accretions of cultural doxa one can also discern a responsiveness to historical change and lived social relations in prominent texts in this pre-disciplinary representation of the Ottoman Empire that is much more attentive to the disjunctive qualities of historical experience. Pre-disciplinarity is a valuable concept here because both "histories" and journey literature are often an extraordinary miscellany of knowledgeable practices. An example is helpful here. Cornelis de Bruijn's immensely influential Reizen van Cornelis de Bruyn, door de vermaardste deelen van Klein Asia (Delft, 1698) in many ways sets the terms for illustrated journey writing for the first fifty years of the eighteenth century. It was quickly translated and published throughout Europe. The English edition, A Voyage to the Levant (1702), like its Dutch and French predecessors, contains over two hundred copperplate engravings. These are roughly divided into four types of images: (1) maps and topographical views; (2) costume illustrations; (3) architectural drawings (exterior and interior); and (4) a small number of natural curiosities. These are matched by corresponding discursive types: (1) geographical descriptions that set the itinerary of both the journey and the book itself; (2) protoethnographic remarks on the manners and customs of the current residents of Constantinople, Cairo, and so on; (3) antiquarian discussions of ruins and buildings; and (4) fleeting remarks on natural history. The key recognition is that these images and discourses are not evenly developed, nor are they separate enterprises. This is most obvious when one attends to the relationship between built environments and architecture. In spite of the fact that half the book concerns Constantinople, De Bruijn's interest in Ottoman architecture is minimal. In part because the seraglio can only be observed from outside, the built environment of Constantinople is folded into topographical views, and the descriptions of prominent buildings are relegated to discussions of his itinerary. In the sections of the book devoted to Ephesus, Alexandria Troas, Rhodes, Jerusalem, Egypt, the visual interest in architecture intensifies and the built environment is the subject of numerous antiquarian illustrations. In fact, accounts of Ottoman manners and customs structurally separate the protogeographical account of urban Constantinople and the antiquarianism that dominates the second half of the book.
We could argue that the journey to the "periphery" of the Ottoman Empire, that is, to Greece, Egypt, Aleppo, and Jerusalem, is no less concerned with social relations; it is just that they operate in a ghostly fashion. Only signaled in the text, the world of the Bible and of classical learning haunt the second half of A Voyage to the Levant; therefore we can recognize a crucial set of oppositions. First, De Bruijn's geographical itinerary always already invokes and gravitates toward the ancient world. Travel in the present carries with it an implied journey to past spaces: spaces that are known through biblical, Latin, and Greek texts and thus constitute pre-Ottoman historical formations. Second, De Bruijn's protoethnography of Ottoman society always already implies and consolidates a classical/biblical ethnographic fantasy. This is more than simply stating that De Bruijn's Orientalizing gaze is grounded in a prior Occidentalism. Rather, it is indicating that such as spatial separation involves a double temporal deformation. Unlike the allochronic aspects of ethnography discussed by Johannes Fabian, De Bruijn locates the ethnographic observation of Ottoman culture firmly in the "now" because he is going to find "Europe" in the "what-has-been" spaces of the Ottoman periphery. This is why the links between preexisting biblical and classical learning and the antiquarianism of the text are not described: they are everywhere implied by the artifact, by the ruin, and are thus more phantasmatically potent as the silent doxa that counterbalances the loquacious accounts of Ottoman marriage and funeral practices, religious beliefs, and so on. What this means is that those aspects that immediately involve the narrating subject, his itinerary, his topographical observations, and his desire for a past effectively negate his own intercultural sociability (we get very little sense of interaction with his sources) and result in a hypostatization of Ottoman social practices as an object of proto-disciplinary knowledge. The key recognition here is that protoethnography and antiquarianism are two parts of the same narrative, discursive and subjective self-realizations.
In De Bruijn these discourses are basically in balance: he devotes roughly the same visual and textual attention to both. This is most obvious in the book's most spectacular engravings. There are two immense foldout views measuring more than two meters: the first is a topographical view of Constantinople (Figure 1); the second is a view of Jerusalem of similar scale and intent. In a sense, this makes his text the epitome of European engagement with the Ottoman Empire for the post-Karlowitz era. The epochal Treaty of Karlowitz of 1699 curtailed the westward expansion of the Ottoman Empire and, in many senses, set the terms for phantasmal oppositions between "Europe" and "the East." De Bruijn conducted his travels during the war between the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire, but the engravings of the book were completed just after the Battle of Zenta. Thus his book and, perhaps more important, the translations circulated at a moment when, as the traveler Aaron Hill stated, the "Leviathan" was hooked. In that regard, the text exhibits the anxieties that attend wartime and the hopes associated with peace. One way of reading the balance between proto-ethnography and its antiquarianism is to suggest that the former has instrumental possibilities for European individuals and nations seeking to expand commercial engagement and the latter embodies enlightenment aspirations to historically contextualize the ancient texts that had until only recently grounded Western culture.
In many ways, De Bruijn's text is a consolidation of preexisting knowledge. But the massive expansion on those prior texts' illustrations and especially the rendering of Constantinople itself mark an important shift both in European representations and in Ottoman society. As Schmidt has argued, this shift toward visual representation is crucial to the emergence of "exotic geography" and the entire phantasmatic economy that relies on the exotic to consolidate notions of Europe. Schmidt's argument focuses on Dutch publications from the period between 1660 and 1730, but their influence is wide and deep. Even as late as Charles Perry's A View of the Levant (1743), we can see the structural remains of these pre-disciplinary miscellanies. But at roughly this same time period we begin to see the emergence of discipline-specific publications. For example, the manners and customs chapters of De Bruijn morph into volume 7 of Bernard and Picart's Ceremonies and Customs. As important as Bernard and Picart's deployment of "Mahometism" in debates on Deism is, the disconnection of their treatise from a traveler's itinerary on the one hand and classical antiquarianism on the other is a significant development. Likewise, the intermittent description of geology and natural history that peppered De Bruijn's text become the subject of full-scale illustrated books like William Hamilton's Campi Phelegraei (1776). For our purposes, the most significant development is the separation of antiquarian discourse from representations of the Ottoman Empire. Those sections of A Voyage to the Levant dealing with ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian and Assyrian ruins become a separate genre unto themselves. Julien-David Le Roy's Les ruines des plus beaux monuments de la Grèce (1758), Robert Wood's The Ruins of Palmyra (1753) and The Ruins of Balbec (1757), and James Stuart and Nicholas Revett's The Antiquities of Athens and Other Monuments of Greece (1762), all notably devoted to specific elements of the cultural patrimony, tend to downplay the itinerary of the observing traveler. In all of these texts the presence of local society and regional governors associated with the Ottoman Empire poses both a narrative problem and an occasion for complex meditations on the relationship of past and present empires.
This uncertainty regarding ancient authority and modern sociability is perhaps nowhere more elegantly explored than in the work of James Stuart. Stuart's travels in the Peloponnese came during an extended period of peace in the Ottoman Empire. If we look at his preparatory illustrations for The Antiquities of Athens, we can see Stuart devising a pictorial method for capturing the collision of historically distinct cultural forms. The most interesting of these involve X-like compositions whereby one temporal regime crosses another. For example, in the 1755 watercolor studies for Propylaea of the Hippodrome Seen from the Courtyard of a Private House, Salonica (Thessaloniki) and View of the Temple of Augustus (Also Known as the Temple of Rome and Augusta), Pola (Pula), and Surrounding Buildings, Stuart depicts two intersecting planes such that the classical ruin crosses the contemporary domestic space. Two temporal regimes intersect in this space, and the effect captures a historical disjunction. As these strategies make their way into TheAntiquities of Athens, they begin to take on stadial significance: the contemporary Greek/Ottoman built environment interrupts an older more advanced cultural form. This would seem like a simple point, but other watercolors allow us to go further. James Stuart's View of the Monument of Philopappos, Athens, prepared during the same expedition, is typical of Stuart's innovative depiction of classical ruins in that it fully integrates figures, including the artist, into the scene (Plate 2). As stated in the catalog of the Royal Institute of British Architects, "the group of gentlemen on the left is Stuart, Nicholas Revett and James Dawkins." Stuart and Revett adopted local dress at times to facilitate their travels, but choosing to portray themselves in this way poses a number of significant questions. We know from Stuart and Revett's placement of figures wearing robes and turbans in TheAntiquities of Athens that these elements of costume are often deployed in a stadial argument about the degrees of civility of populations living in these spaces. As Jason Kelly has argued about Stuart's famous image of the acropolis that makes up the first engraving of The Antiquities of Athens, Turkish figures are incorporated to highlight not only the Ottoman subjugation of contemporary Greek communities but also their pillage of the patrimony of ancient Greece. Stuart's images always tell a story of historical loss and displacement that sets the stage for an argument for the reconstitution of ancient liberty by enlightened European observers like himself.
In Stuart's drawing of the monument at Philopappos, Stuart and Revett mimic the "Turk," and they are in a sense negotiating with the conspicuously European figure. By taking the Turk's place, these artists have moved from a place in front of the picture plane (where the drawing is being produced) to a place within the historical exchange being represented. In this sense, the watercolor instantiates a desire to simply replace the Ottomans, to occupy Greece and appropriate its ancient ruins through a rhetorical sleight of hand that conveniently doesn't require the actual historical displacement of Ottoman governance, for that would require actual war. In this regard, the drawing enacts a desire to own this ruin in a fashion geopolitically similar to the Ottomans, but in a manner that is culturally more "informed." By integrating himself into the picture and by obscuring his role in the production of it, Stuart's desire is made manifest, and that is why I believe he appears to be looking outward at the viewer (or at himself). In a sense, this moment of recognition sums up the fantasy of appropriation at the heart of the kind philhellenism initiated by the Society of Dilettanti.
But what are we to make of the other figure in the watercolor drawing? I'm hesitant to even call this a figure because it is not worked up in the same way as the others. Close inspection reveals the figure to the immediate left of the monument to be an underdrawing, likely in pencil or ink, perhaps a remnant of an earlier moment of composition. It is the ghostly quality of this figure that makes the overall picture seem unfinished; but it is also the element that speaks most powerfully to the desiring relation already encoded into the trio of figures on the left. What kind of a figure is this ghost? He appears to be a Roman soldier lurking in this space, a reminder of a different moment when this space was under the control of a different empire altogether. If we are willing to accept the presence of this ghost, then the picture overlays three imperial regimes, all of whom controlled this geopolitical space, and postulates the emergence of a fourth. This fourth regime is, of course, Rome's uncomfortable avatar, Great Britain, and thus the picture's vestigial element (that which probably should have been erased) discloses the desiring relation that organizes the picture's historical engagement. I'm drawing attention to this errant moment in the watercolor and pursuing an advisedly errant reading of it because the execution of this drawing comes at the end of long period of peace in the Ottoman Empire and in many ways it captures the desires of Europeans looking at what they perceived to be a vulnerable political entity. This same drawing was later engraved for The Antiquities of Athens in the immediate wake of the disastrous war with the Russians that ended with the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774) (Figure 3). In its engraved form, the ghost of Rome has been transformed into a mere local subject, and there remains only one candidate for the future imperial domination of this space. In this regard we could argue that Stuart's images are as symptomatic of their moment as De Bruijn's were of his own and, more broadly, that the shift from pre-disciplinary representations of the Ottoman Empire to protodisciplinary accounts of phenomena and objects in Ottoman territories marks a significant shift in Europe's political assessment of the Ottoman Empire's global significance. As we will see, this shift has important implications for both the diplomatic and aesthetic engagement with the Ottoman world.
That said, there is no hard and fast generic or medial shift; it is more a matter of one kind of knowledge practice slowly receding as another was emerging. Often we see a blend of epistemological positions and representational strategies. There is often an extraordinary divergence between the visual and textual economies of these texts wherein the visual description would seem manifestly at odds with its textual explication. Furthermore the rich array of printed materials pertaining to the Ottoman Empire is marked by the incessant repetition, citation, and appropriation of precursor texts that Said and others have famously identified as a hallmark of Orientalist representation. The sheer repetition of episodes from Knolles, Rycaut, de Thévenot, Jean Chardin, and Barthélemy D'Herbelot in later histories, travel narratives, treatises, and encyclopedic writings has a double effect on reading. On the one hand, repetition generates sedimented doxa that numbs analysis and critique; on the other hand, fleeting moments of variation or disjunction spring forth and shatter fantasies of received wisdom.
Even the most unsympathetic accounts of Ottoman history and society emerge from some level of intercultural exchange. Whether it is foregrounded or not, textual information about the Ottoman world implies a whole chain of mediating figures: dragomans, translators, guides, and assistants. And there is ample evidence of undisclosed reliance on Ottoman visual culture in the engraved books and paintings produced in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Kishwar Rizvi argues that the engravings of sultans in Rycaut's The Present State of the Ottoman Empire were derived from Ottoman miniature painting. Whether explicitly stated or implicitly evident, we see a willingness and a need for collaboration, adaptation, and exchange. But we also see resistance to this, a desire for the reassertion of representational boundaries and social efficacy. We could describe this as a tension between openness and closure, between interculturalism and the reinforcement of identity. The balance between these forces sometimes tilts more toward openness; sometimes closure to the demands of alterity comes all too quickly. My contention throughout this book is that learning to read this tension formally at the level of the text and images opens the way for more complex theories of social interaction. As we will see, the formal translation of this tension is intimately tied to historical and geopolitical forces. The pressure of war, the vicissitudes of peace, and the economic forces restructuring the interaction of European nations and Ottoman dominions in the Mediterranean and eastern Europe generate moments of openness and activate foreclosures of various kinds. What this means is that the formal resolution of these representational tensions are historical signs. They are instances where history, in all its affective power, finds its genre. Thus learning to read this push and pull makes us more sophisticated analysts not only of these representations of historical situations, but also of intercultural conflict and accommodation.
Subject to the Sultan: Feeling Power
When I initiated this project I simply wanted to look at the performance of intercultural sociability in the diplomatic and frontier spaces between Europe and the Ottoman world, especially in times of violent conflict. These moments of interaction were well represented in the archive and thus amenable to analysis. That now appears hopelessly naive, in part because I have had to break new ground by talking about sociability in a non-European context, and in part because I have had to come to terms with the cancellation of social relations that is inherent to wartime. Peace keeps slipping into war, and the affective cost of that slippage has been hard to measure. What has emerged is the recognition that intercultural sociability and violence exert pressure on representation itself and that similar problems and strategies emerge in a wide range of media to deal with representational disturbance. In part I think that this has become recognizable because the British, the French, and the Dutch were not directly involved in colonizing Ottoman space, however desperately they may have wanted to at certain points in the eighteenth century. My principle figures had the remarkable experience of living within Ottoman territory, technically under the auspices of the sultan, and that toleration of their foreign presence, for better or worse, allowed for ideational and representational acts to occur. Thus, without the impetus of colonization and not directly implicated in imperial warfare against the Ottoman Empire, the writers and artists I discuss in the ensuing chapters had the time and the space to imagine life after peace and beside war. In a curious way that capacity was a function of their reluctant subjection to sultan.
Compared to other diplomatic postings in Europe, legations to the Sublime Porte had a singular relation to foreign power. Since the mid-fifteenth century when the Ottomans first entered contractual agreements with their trading partners, the capitulations, or ahdnames, that regulated relations between the Ottoman Empire and its European trading partners lapsed with the death of the sultan. With the advent of every new sultan or the appointment of a new ambassador, the capitulations had to be reconfirmed. Through a series of ritual performances ambassadors were forced to perform physically their subjection to the sultan's rule. Representations of these acts of subjection recur again and again in the archive of intercultural engagement, and, as I mentioned, it was these representations that first sparked my interest in this project. Like other forms of Ottoman state ritual, an ambassador's audience with the sultan or with the grand vizier followed strict protocols that remained unchanged for hundreds of years. In the mid-1760s Sir James Porter was complaining about the same acts of ritual humiliation as his predecessors in the late sixteenth century. I want to take a moment to look at two such representations from the early eighteenth century because each in its different way not only demonstrates the degree to which the Ottoman state cast Europeans in a spectacle wherein their very presence instantiated the sultan's power over them, but also shows how Europeans resisted this kind of interpellation at the level of representation.
On 10 March 1701 Sir Robert Sutton had his public audience with Sultan Mustafa II in Adrianople. Sutton's predecessor, Lord William Paget, had just successfully mediated the Treaty of Karlowitz. We will be discussing this treaty negotiation in detail in Chapter 1, but the important thing to recognize at this point is that Paget's skillful handling of the treaty negotiations allowed the Ottomans to save face after a series of catastrophic defeats to the Habsburg Empire; thus England was in favor at the Ottoman court. Sutton's eight-page relation of his audience constitutes one his most extensive diplomatic dispatches and one of the most detailed accounts of this ritual that we have. Sutton recounts every aspect of the ceremony from the grand vizier's declaration that the grand signor has set a date for Sutton to be brought to him to the spectacular procession arranged for his transportation to the seraglio and his ensuing progress through the various courtyards to the divan itself. Perhaps the most salient aspect of the dispatch is the overwhelming sense of enforced passivity. Sutton's performance is scripted completely by Ottoman officials: his retinue, his time of departure, his route through the city, his horse and even its livery are either dictated or borrowed from his handlers. Significantly, his account breaks roughly in half. The first few pages focus entirely on his procession to the seraglio. The spectacle of the ambassador and his retinue accompanied by a vast retinue of janissaries is crucial to the event: the Ottoman state was essentially performing its control over the foreign legate for its own observing subjects. This explains the sheer excess of people and jewels on display. Michael Talbot cannily notes the polysemy of the procession: the English members of the procession could read the event as a sign of their importance at the same time that the residents lining the streets of Adrianople could read the event as a sign of the ambassador's obeisance to the sultan.
Once Sutton dismounts and passes through the gate of the seraglio on foot (none but the sultan was allowed to enter on his horse), the function of the spectacle is inverted:
The Chiaus Baski and Capigilarkihayasi (who performs the Office of Introductor of Ambassadors and came to the gate to receive his Excellency) walked before him, each of them having a silver staffe of Ceremony with which they beat the ground as they went. In passing the Court we saw on the right hand and bottom thereof about 3000 Janissaries ranged in Battalia, and keeping great order and silence, till upon a signal given they ran with all their force but with the same silence as before, to gather the rice soupe which was placed for them at certain distances in great dishes upon the grasse.
This long-standing ritual of the symbolic payment of the janissary corps with rice was staged repeatedly for visiting ambassadors as a sign of strength and loyalty. What interests me about Sutton's account is his discursive insouciance at this display of force. With these three thousand martial bodies bearing down upon him in the closed space of the courtyard, the text merely states "The Ambassador being arrived near the Divan Hall, Signor Maurocordato . . . came to meet him, and receive him, and conducted him in the Hall, at the Entrance." The distancing effect of the passive voice rhetorically undermines the import of what amounts to a theater of martial dominion. Because this staging of the janissaries' loyalty to the sultan was so frequently rehearsed, and perhaps because the janissaries themselves were in such a weakened state at this point in the history of war between the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires, it has been diminished into a curiosity.
Like all ambassadors before and after him, Sutton was then greeted by the grand vizier and entertained with a sumptuous meal. Sutton's account spends a great deal of time emphasizing the grand vizier's knowledge of English affairs and concern for the health of William III. This scene of hospitality establishes a quasi-intimate relationship between Sutton and the grand vizier that discursively mitigates in advance his ritual humiliation. That moment comes during the final stage of his audience, when he is brought before Mustafa II (here referred to as the "grand signor"). After an elaborate ritual signaling the sultan's readiness to give the English ambassador audience, Sutton was
conducted him into the adjourning gallery, where his Excellency was vested with a Caftan, the two Signori Maurocordato's [sic], the Gentlemen that accompanied his Excellency, the Secretary of the Embassy, & the Officers & Pages to the number of 34 in all, during which the Vizir, the Caimacam Abdullah Pasha, & the Nissangi Pasha, as Vizirs of the Bench passed by along the gallery into the Gr. Signor's Audience Hall. At the same time the Presents (consisting of fine English cloth, satin, velvet, flowered stuffs & cloth of Gold) were exposed before the gate of the Gr. Signor's apartment held by several Officers appointed for that purpose. Soon after came two Capugi Bashis to take his Excellency and support him under the arms, after the Turkish civility & respect, conducting him with the 12 Gentlemen allowed to follow him into the gate & thro' two rows of White Eunuchs, who guard the room within, which leads to the Audience Hall where the Gr. Signor sate upon a Throne in the form of a Bed placed in a corner.
The moment at which Sutton is physically dragged before the sultan, when he is actually taken into custody, is an act of ritual subjugation. Sutton's attempt to discursively recharacterize this "support" as an expression of "Turkish civility & respect" can't fully dispel the performance of bodily capitulation. The text's very attempt to euphemistically reconfigure this performative assertion of power as a species of friendship or civility is perhaps the strongest sign that it was not experienced as in any way respectful. The entire ritual is aimed at making the ambassador feel in his body the lack of freedom before the sultan, and Sutton's text, with its recurrent emphases on the sultan's singular respect for the English, is working to dispel the lingering sense of subjection.
At one level Sutton's text describes the entire day of 10 March 1701 in remarkable detail, but one can detect disturbances in its representation of events that point to very specific experiences of intercultural discomfort. In the face of such enforced passivity it is as if Sutton is attempting to reconstitute his agency at the level of writing. It is not an exaggeration to suggest that refiguring the act of being physically taken into custody as the expression of civility or hospitality is necessary for Sutton to retain his veneer of diplomatic autonomy. We can detect a similar form of representational resistance in visual renderings of the same rituals. In his three paintings of the Dutch ambassador Cornelis Calkoen's audience with Sultan Ahmed III on 14 September 1727 in Constantinople, the expatriate artist Jean-Baptiste Vanmour focuses his attention on the events that happen in the seraglio and divides the event into the three separate spaces in which they occur. This eliminates the ambassador's procession altogether—the place where the Ottoman state exhibited its dominance to the people—and thus significantly nullifies the sense of passivity that so strongly imbues the early stages of Sutton's account. This nullification is crucial because it allows Vanmour to reconstitute Calkoen's agency. How he does that is revealing.
Cornelis Calkoen on His Way to His Audience with Sultan Ahmed III shows the Dutch ambassador striding across the seraglio courtyard at precisely the moment that the janissaries descend upon the silver bowls of rice. Almost every detail in the painting matches Sutton's account of this event, but more intriguingly Vanmour replicates the discursive insouciance of Sutton's text by putting the gaze of the viewer and the ambassador at cross purposes. The viewer sees the janissaries surging toward the ambassador and toward the picture plane. The ambassador and his retinue take no notice of this display of active power, they simply stare ahead of them, out to the left. This has the effect of contrasting the ambassador's lack of interest in the janissaries with the viewer's excessive interest in the very theatricality of the scene. We could say simply that the ambassador's absorption makes the viewer aware of his or her overinvestment in the theatricality of the picture, his or her overinvestment in the spectacle of the sultan's power. This rhetorically diminishes the importance of the janissaries and quite literally foregrounds the importance of Calkoen. That importance is reinforced by the glowing red and gold of his brocade coat.
The pictorial rhetoric of Cornelis Calkoen on His Way to His Audience with Sultan Ahmed III is almost a perfect visual translation of Sutton's diminishment of the spectacle of the payment of the janissaries. We could even argue that the bifurcation between foreground and background in this painting replicates the sudden shift from the description of the three thousand janissaries silently running toward Sutton to the bare narration of his progress to the "Entrance of the Seraglio Hall." A similar level of correspondence can be seen in Vanmour's rendering of the grand vizier's entertainment of the ambassador: virtually every detail of Sutton's account of the grand vizier's hospitality is replicated in The Meal in Honour of Ambassador Cornelis Calkoen. When compared to the first painting, it is clear that the viewer's gaze is mapped onto that of the ambassador. If we think of the bifurcation between foreground and background in the first picture as an intercultural threshold, then that threshold has switched to the table and the viewer is placed eye to eye with the grand vizier Damad İbrahim Pasha. That mutual recognition both elevates the viewer and establishes a level of intimate connection with the grand vizier. As we will see, this important surrogative gesture sets the stage for the remarkable act of resistance encoded into the final painting in the series.
As in Sutton, it is the final stage of the audience that warrants our most serious attention and allows us to be more specific about the relationship between representational distortion, subjection, and the reassertion of agency. In the third picture, Ambassador Cornelis Calkoen at His Audience with Sultan Ahmed III, Vanmour uses composition and light to radically decenter the sultan (Plate 5). The representation of his throne matches Sutton's description perfectly, but here it is used like a kind of cell: pushed off to the left and looking out at the viewer, Ahmed III is isolated from all of the other figures in the painting. It is Calkoen with his glowing khalat (khil'ah) who is given pictorial centrality: he is not only located in the center and thus aligned with the light from the central window, but he is also engaged with the grand vizier on the far left. In other words, the absorptive alignment of Calkoen with the grand vizier in the second painting is redeployed here, but by turning their gaze ninety degrees, the entire picture highlights their colloquy and diminishes the exchange between the viewer and the sultan. As in the first painting, the painting's manipulation of viewpoint undermines the theatrical elevation of the sultan's power and forcefully establishes Calkoen's agency. With all of the viewer's attention converging on Calkoen, the most salient detail becomes visible. Unlike the other seven Europeans in the picture who are conspicuously being held by two flanking guards, Calkoen's hands and arms are free. He is not in physical custody. Vanmour not only negates the ritual sign of physical subjection to the sultan but also relegates Ahmed III to the background. If Sutton rhetorically attempted to recast subjection as hospitality, Vanmour goes one step further by asserting autonomy and perhaps even precedence. Such a deviation from the audience protocols is a sign of precisely how uncomfortable Europeans were with this ritual: Vanmour would seem to be fully aware that his patron would prefer this version of the event and that the verisimilitude that defines his painting practice could itself obviate any lingering sense of humiliation. In short, it is Vanmour's pictorial rhetoric that allows Calkoen to retroactively reassert his subjective agency.
We will be seeing these diplomats and artists again, but I have presented these two examples in order to foreground key topoi and fundamental methodological concerns. In both Sutton's account and Vanmour's painting discomfort in the way that intercultural engagement is being framed by the Ottoman state generates productive distortions at the level of representation. Both the account and the painting claim a certain level of descriptive verisimilitude, but close observation reveals subtle ruptures that allow for a retroactive reassertion of European autonomy—even when that autonomy is physically traduced by Ottoman state ritual. These ruptures often arise on discernable representational frontiers. In the Sutton text, the space where description meets narration allows for the careful reinscription of authority. The first and third Vanmour paintings establish thresholds of visual exchange and use conflicting visual axes to diminish the theatricality of the sultan's power and elevate the absorptive subjectivity of the ambassador. Significantly, Vanmour's paintings effectively teach the viewer not to be drawn to that which is most pictorially spectacular and instead direct the viewer's attention to the smallest, yet most salient detail, namely Calkoen's free hands. In short, the historical/sociopolitical defensiveness of these textual and visual representations can be traced in the most local aesthetic and formal decisions, and thus they require a combination of close analysis and deep historical contextualization.
After Peace and Beside War
This book is divided into two parts. The first, entitled "After Peace," focuses on the period from the late 1690s to the 1730s in the Ottoman Empire—from the epochal Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699 to the period just after the Patrona Halil rebellion. The first part of this period was marked by recurrent conflict with Habsburg Austria and its allies in the Holy Roman League dating back to the mid-seventeenth century. As recently as 1683 the Ottomans had been on the verge of conquering Vienna itself. Conflict between the Habsburgs and the Ottomans had been a fact of life for almost two hundred years—the first Ottoman siege of Vienna took place in 1529—but 1683 was a particularly perilous moment for the Habsburgs. Vienna was seriously weakened by the plague, and the Austrians were besieged by a large force of Ottoman janissaries, spahis (cavalry corps), and infantry. Strategic errors by the Ottoman commander, the grand vizier Kara Mustapha Pasha, allowed the Habsburg capital to be relieved by the Polish forces of Jan Sobieski. The alliance between the Holy Roman Empire and the Poles marked a turning point in the history of conflict between the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires. War continued for sixteen years after the Battle of Vienna and would flare up again in the second decade of the eighteenth century, but never again would Ottoman military forces progress this far westward.
The Treaty of Karlowitz (1699) and the Treaty of Passarowitz (1718) are crucial events for understanding the limitations on the westward expansion of the Ottoman Empire. These two moments of peace, arising from significant losses in the field, saw the Ottomans losing key territories and strategic positions in eastern Europe, while temporarily strengthening their grip on the Peloponnesian peninsula. The ensuing recalibration of Ottoman statecraft generated a period of great cultural efflorescence and a period of increasing social resentment between elite constituencies and more common people. As the Ottoman Empire turned its military attention to the dissolving Safavid Empire on its eastern borders in the 1720s, significant lines of fracture emerged in Ottoman society, and European observers found themselves witness to unparalleled modes of conspicuous consumption and social turmoil. Thus the narrative arc from the 1690s to the 1730s travels from constitutive scenes of war on the western borders of the empire to the most revolutionary scene of internal unrest in the history of the Ottoman capital.
The first chapter of the book serves as an introduction not only to the problem of intercultural sociability but also to the questions posed by peace. Chapter 1 examines the mediation of the Treaty of Karlowitz in two senses of that term. First, I offer an analysis of the mediation conducted by the British and Dutch ambassadors to the Ottoman Empire, Lord Paget and Jacobus Colyer. The chapter takes the reader from the horrific Battle of Zenta through the treaty conference to the celebrations that accompanied the ratification of the peace by attending to the mediation of these events in the scene of negotiation and in the capitals of Europe. Second, I analyze the mediation of the treaty negotiations in the European mediascape. This latter component involves readings of the newspapers, broadsides, engravings, and printed books that mediated these events for European audiences. Aside from establishing how information flows at this stage of engagement, I work this archive to show how mediation became a spectacle in itself. In doing so I introduce a number of shared strategies used by European and Ottoman states to make themselves visible both to each other and to their subjects. We will be looking at how processions, ritual gift exchange, and actual diplomatic performance were deployed and represented to figure forth the theater of peace.
My survey of the mediation of the Karlowitz negotiations demonstrates that the peace was achieved by establishing the social parameters whereby parties with different worldviews could communicate errantly to achieve incompatible goals. In fact, the differential qualities of translation allowed the Ottoman and Habsburg delegations to interpret the terms, derived from Roman law, in a fashion that maintained the integrity of both empires. Throughout my analysis it is evident that the very act of rendering what happened during the negotiations and what would happen in the post-treaty world was vexed. This sense of vexation will become a recurrent theme.
My second and third chapters focus explicitly on the crises in description that riddle the work of a longtime resident of Galata, the painter Jean-Baptiste Vanmour. Vanmour is, in my opinion, an extremely important figure not only because his work raises so many important issues for intercultural representation, but also because he lived in the Ottoman Empire for the entire thirty-seven-year period covered in the first section of this book. Because so little has been written on Vanmour, I undertake a full survey of the extant work produced during his career in the Ottoman capital. As I work through the widely circulated engravings of his costume images in Chapter 2 and his genre paintings in Chapter 3, I show that a sea change occurs in his work at roughly the time that he was commissioned to paint a portrait of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. I will be discussing her Embassy Letters in depth in Chapter 4, but Montagu's text will prove to be useful in Chapter 2, in part because she is a likely source of information regarding the sequestered world of Ottoman women, and in part because her text engages with many of the descriptive problematics established by Vanmour in his costume engravings. Much of Chapter 2 builds on the discussion of processions in Chapter 1 to look not only at how Vanmour contains Ottoman state ritual but also at Montagu's subtle critique of these containment strategies. By comparing the work produced prior to and after Montagu's sitting for Vanmour, and by analyzing that portrait in some detail, I argue that we can discern significant disturbances in the descriptive aspect of Vanmour's art. His commitment to descriptive verisimilitude, inherited from the legacy of Dutch and French genre painting, is put into crisis by his desire to render that which he cannot see—specifically women and the revolutionary events of the Patrona Halil rebellion. Chapter 3 examines how he deals with this crisis in representation by pitting verisimilitude against itself and adopting a singular set of allegorical strategies to capture the social and historical transformations around him. If I am right about these strategies, then Vanmour's art offers a resonant archive not only for comprehending changes within the Ottoman culture he was observing but also for considering the political and historical import of description itself.
The fourth chapter extends this analysis of the politics of description by showing how the dynamics of translation, allusion, and allegory allow for even more complex representational interventions. I zero in on the volatile period immediately prior to and immediately following the Treaty of Passarowitz by closely engaging with Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's Embassy Letters. Montagu's Letter-book is arguably the most canonical source in this study and has certainly been the object of the most sustained critical scrutiny. One of the great virtues of Montagu's Letter-book is its self-conscious understanding of the problems posed by description and translation in an intercultural context. Her thoughts on translation are themselves revealing, and I deal with them at the outset of the third chapter in order to link back to similar problems that arose during Lord Paget's mediation of the Treaty of Karlowitz. But I have consciously placed this chapter after my consideration of Vanmour because I want the reader to have a full sense of Ottoman sociability in this period, before turning to Montagu's harrowing account of its desecration. She famously offers some of the most compelling textual representations of intercultural sociability, but it is my contention that these moments are haunted by heretofore unrecognized formal and rhetorical qualifications—qualifications that seriously impinge on eighteenth-century European understandings of empire. By focusing on her complex analysis of war and peace in the region, I significantly shift the frame of analysis from prior studies of her text. I argue that to understand the full affective importance of her text and its remarkable generic innovations we need to follow closely the mediating function of classical literature and actual artifacts of ancient Greece in her text. Repeatedly Montagu uses scenes from Virgil and Homer to figure the ongoing conflict between the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires. In this regard, her text has much more to do with her husband's ambassadorial mission than we tend to acknowledge, and it has a great deal to say about the place of translation, mediation, and representation in a world at war. Dealing with this aspect of her Letter-book will necessarily open onto intense affective problematics, and I will argue that the Letter-book constitutes one of the most profound attempts to register, however indirectly, the visceral sense of historical crisis. Understanding this will require us to attend to the issue of hospitality, something that Montagu herself continually returns to as she brushes up against the tangible effects of war. To modify a phrase from Lauren Berlant, I argue that the Letter-book aesthetically mediates affective responses to exemplify a shared historical sense, but it does so in a way that questions the very notion of a "shared" history in a divided world.
If we return momentarily to Vanmour's View of Istanbul from the Dutch Embassy at Pera (ca. 1720-37), we can postulate a comfort in distance and a disease with proximity. The closer one gets to intercultural exchange, the more one can discern the struggle to represent, describe, and narrate. At the risk of being reductive, the Vanmour picture can stand heuristically for this combination of representational equanimity and distortion. The archives from which the four chapters of "After Peace" exhibit many of these same problems, but in one remarkable way they move in an entirely different direction. As we will see, in contrast to Vanmour's outward-looking view of Constantinople, the accounts of the Treaty of Karlowitz, Vanmour's costume and genre paintings, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's Letter-book all exhibit a drive to get indoors. That is where the people are and that is where sociability, hospitality, negotiation, and exchange take place. These are the zones where representation is most vulnerable and precarious because there are either no common linguistic or social norms for interaction or too many. Crossing the threshold into these interior spaces, with the concomitant implication of gaining some sense of the interiority of Ottoman subjects, is no small task. I use the term "task" advisedly, because, as Walter Benjamin used the term in "The Task of the Translator," it emphasizes the ongoing errant process of exchange over any kind of transparent, closed meaning. Benjamin's thoughts on translation are helpful because the desired sociability implied by the drive to "get indoors," if you will, always already involves the revelations and frustrations of translation. Translation is endemic to the preferred methodological terms of this book—sociability and mediation—and, as the epigraph from Adorno indicates, the strange combination of successful and failed communication is our topic.
"After Peace" excavates fundamental questions about war, peace, and sociability from instances in which representation is tangibly deformed or distorted by the challenges posed by intercultural exchange. By showing how eras of supposed "peace" are repeatedly punctured by complexly imagined fantasies of violence that draw their affective pull from wartimes of the deeply distant yet seemingly always present classical past, "After Peace" asks if there is ever any alternative to "wartime" affect. Peace, as it is encountered here, seems to happen nowhere and in no time, which is not to say that it doesn't happen. As we will see, spatial voids and temporal lacunae are imagined, constituted, and maintained for peace to occur. But these respective acts of imagination, constitution, and maintenance do not operate outside war's jurisdication: they happen within wartime, and that is why peace can never be separated from war. Even when hostilities and violence are not actively traducing the body, they inhabit memory as that which pertains to the past but that happens now. This is a strange statement because life requires that we recurrently forget this: that we imagine discrete moments of conflict that open onto death and moments of phantasmatic calm wherein we, as subjects, thrive. In its most provocative formulation, wartime is time itself and peace is what happens in its interruption—an interruption that is as much aesthetic as temporal.
Hospitality and intimacy seem to be what comes to stand in place of the "void" of peace in this book. Paget and Colyer choreograph the negotiations at Karlowitz such that representatives from the warring parties can cross a threshold and perform a historically vital experiment in intercultural sociability. Vanmour's descriptive art progresses when he devises a way of deploying the picture plane as an intercultural threshold: we will see what it means to be kept outside and what it means to enter the world he describes. And Lady Mary Wortley Montagu brings both the necessity and the violence of hospitality into the open in her Letter-book. For her unwavering act of witnessing the conditions of possibility for hospitality, intimacy, and sociability, I hope the reader will be grateful. It is chiefly in my reading of her Letter-book, and by extension its deployment of the Aeneid, that I have come to appreciate the precarious value of these terms.
As the preceding paragraph suggests, all four chapters of Part I demonstrate that the local pressures of intercultural communication and sociability and the global pressures of war converge in the materials I am discussing, thus my analysis has implications beyond the specific social and cultural milieu at hand. That said, one of the peculiar aspects of this archive is that all of the major figures I discuss knew one another: Paget was Lady Mary's relative; Lady Mary sat for Vanmour and may have been an important informant for his studio practice. What this means is that the large geopolitical narrative that holds these four chapters together is shadowed by an intimate network of social exchange. Paget, Colyer, Montagu, her husband and her various Ottoman acquaintances, Vanmour and his patrons Charles de Ferriol and Calkoen all lived in the same neighborhood, and although not necessarily directly acquainted with one another they would have relied on many of the same individuals to mediate their everyday relations with both the Ottoman state and the commercial world around them. If anything this is more intensely the case in the second part of this book. With the exception of Lord Byron, the primary figures I discuss all knew one another as friends, associates, enemies, rivals, or competitors in the cultural marketplace. And thus I pursue two levels of narrative engagement: one suited to capturing the large-scale conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and Russia in the late eighteenth century and one suited to rendering the interpersonal relationships between the classically inclined artists and diplomats stationed in Galata. As we will see, my readings of their cultural productions and their political acts serve to link these micrological and macrological concerns in a fashion that argues for the necessity of keeping both levels of analysis in play.
Part II of the book is entitled "Beside War," and it too follows upon another world historical peace, but this time a peace in which the Ottomans played no part. The Treaty of Paris of 1763 that concluded the Seven Years' War quite literally altered the shape and flows of global power, but the Ottoman Empire avoided what was otherwise a global conflict. The long peace from 1740 to 1764 was an era of prosperity for the Ottoman Empire, but it may have done more damage to the empire's future than any of its past military reverses. During the Seven Years' War, most of the surrounding powers, specifically Austria and Russia, radically modernized their logistical and military capabilities. With the onset of war with Russia in 1764, the Ottomans found themselves technologically and strategically out of step with political entities threatening the northern and western borders of the empire. The second half of the book looks at this period when Russia decisively defeated the Ottomans in two successive wars, thus precipitating an important era of governmental and military reform. It is during this period that Europeans start actively imagining a post-Ottoman world, and I carefully look at these genocidal imperatives and the complex acts of aesthetic resistance staged by some Europeans with long histories of living in Ottoman territory. In this period, Europeans keep looking toward Asia Minor—maybe even looking more than they did before in terms of the upswing of archaeological interest—but they stop seeing Ottomans. The second half of the book comes "after peace" in more than one sense: first, it takes place during the renewal of hostilities between the Ottomans and various other powers, and, second, it witnesses (at least in the archives I've assembled here) the cessation of a certain kind of sociable hospitality that animates Part I.
Crucial to Part II is the reconstitution of fantasies of ancient Greece from the rubble on the ground of Asia Minor. At one level, the first three chapters in this part offer a history of philhellenism as practiced and fostered by the diplomats stationed in Galata, but significantly there is an underappreciated connection to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's writings. Chapter 5 focuses on the Ionian expedition sponsored by the Society of Dilettanti and the mediation of their findings in London. Montagu's Letters of the Right Honourable Lady M—y W—y M—e: Written during her travels in Europe, Asia and Africa, to persons of distinction, men of letters, &c. in different parts of Europe; Which contain, among other curious relations, accounts of the policy and manners of the Turks was published in 1763 and avidly read by the members of the expedition. In fact, their first act was to explicitly rehearse her exploration of Alexandria Troas, which I discuss at length in Chapter 5; thus one can argue that the expedition was continuing work first initiated by Montagu. The three primary figures in the expedition, William Pars, Nicholas Revett, and Richard Chandler, not only collaborated on extremely influential publications of the Society of Dilettanti but also chose to exhibit, design, and write supplemental materials that significantly complicate the mission's empirical objectives. As we will see, the recent history of the Seven Years' War prior to the expedition and the outbreak of war between the Ottoman Empire and Russia shortly after the trio's return significantly inflected their accounts of what they observed. By bringing the trio's enlightenment project into close contact with their complex engagement with war, I argue that all three members of the Ionian expedition develop distinctly counter-enlightenment fantasies that ultimately postulate a nostalgic escape from the violent history that was reshaping the world around them.
If Chapter 5 is about art's auratic power to instantiate a retreat from history and violence, then Chapter 6 is about the incitement of violence in the name of art and culture. This chapter focuses on the activities of the Comte de Choiseul-Gouffier both prior to and after his appointment as the French ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in 1784. The first half of the chapter offers a detailed analysis of the genocidal imperative encoded into both the text and the engravings of his deeply influential Voyage pittoresque de la Grèce (1782). Choiseul-Gouffier's project was based explicitly on the example of the Society of Dilettanti publications, but he developed a number of key narrative strategies that significantly tilted his project away from ostensible empirical observation toward a highly ideological appropriation of Greek culture for the French Enlightenment. This appropriation came not only with a symptomatic derogation of Ottoman society and culture, but also with direct calls for the extirpation of Ottoman rule. The linked deployment of reproductive sexuality as a sign for the potential to reinvigorate Greece and of the sodomitical Turk as a sign of the barrenness of Ottoman culture is crucial to the Choiseul-Gouffier's rhetorical strategy in the Voyage pittoresque, and it remained a crucial issue for both his followers and those who chose to resist his example.
Once he became ambassador, his interventions were the focus of much concern, especially for Great Britain, because he felt that his political and aesthetic desires could be fulfilled by abetting Russian aggression in the region. The second half of Chapter 6 looks at Lady Elizabeth Craven's A Journey Through the Crimea to Constantinople. Craven was an interesting figure in her own right, and her fascination with the classical world drew her to the company of Choiseul-Gouffier once she arrived in Constantinople. Her travel memoir can be read as a sophisticated meditation on the function of ancient art and as a deeply disturbing rewriting of Montagu's Embassy Letters. What I show here is that her collaboration with Choiseul-Gouffier, her fetishization of ancient Greek art, and her anti-Ottoman resistance to Montagu's observations constitute a significant reworking not only of Choiseul-Gouffier's incitements to war but also of Montagu's melancholic contemplation of cosmopolitan peace. Craven translated Choiseul-Gouffier's opposition between reproduction and sodomy into an economy of female beauty with desirable Greek women at one extreme and repulsive Turkish women at the other. Thus the deployment of sexuality in the Voyage pittoresque was differentially written onto the bodies of women under Ottoman rule, "Greek" and "Turkish" alike.
Chapter 7 examines the political and aesthetic resistance to Choiseul-Gouffier's attempt to turn his fantasy of liberating Greece into policy. Britain's ambassador Sir Robert Ainslie was Choiseul-Gouffier's chief diplomatic rival at the Sublime Porte and a notable classicist in his own right. Under his aegis, the artist Luigi Mayer produced a series of extraordinary watercolors that engage not only with the history of the Russo-Turkish wars but also with Choiseul-Gouffier's representation of Greek subjugation. In his dispatches and in the paintings he commissioned, Ainslie actively countered Choiseul-Gouffier's political and aesthetic designs and presented a remarkable view of collaboration between European and Ottoman subjects. After introducing the question of collaboration and remediation via a brief consideration of Ignatius Mouradgea d'Ohsson's Tableau général de l'Empire othoman (1787-1820), another cultural artifact that uses Choiseul-Gouffier's formal innovations to repudiate the political argument of the Voyage pittoresque, I demonstrate how Ainslie and Mayer's interest in cultural collaboration opens onto a very different understanding of the relationship between ancient and modern history. My argument here delves into one watercolor that not only counters Choiseul-Gouffier's genocidal imperatives but also activates the very homoerotic desires he so insistently abjures. Because Mayer's drawing of the Achilles sarcophagus at Ephesus is itself a remediation of two crucial engravings from Voyage pittoresque de la Grèce, it is as much an engagement with ancient Greek sexuality as it is with Choiseul-Gouffier's occlusion of it. With great subtlety and seriousness I believe that Ainslie and Mayer disclose their own intimacy as a bulwark against a world at war.
Chapter 8 builds on this reading of Mayer's meditation on the relationship of war, love, and empire to look at two masterworks of French and British Romanticism—Antoine-Ignace Melling's Voyage pittoresque de Constantinople et des rives du Bosphore (1807-24) and Lord Byron's The Giaour (1813). Both Melling and Byron pose significant questions regarding the relationship between emerging notions of normative sexuality and racial identity on the one hand and the practice of empire on the other. Melling's elephant folio and Byron's fractured poem both bear the imprint of Napoleon's military incursion into the Levant, and both use formal disjunction to engage with imperial nostalgia. Working in Constantinople first for the French and then for other embassies, Melling was commissioned by Sultan Selim III to execute a number of architectural projects for the sultan and for his sister Hatice Sultan. These projects were incorporated into one of the most important European renderings of the Ottoman capital, Melling's magisterial Voyage pittoresque de Constantinople. Like Vanmour's work in the 1720s and 1730s, Melling's work in the first decade of the nineteenth century offers a view of the Ottoman Empire in a state of internal transition. Again, close analysis of his drawings and engravings and their divergence from the accompanying texts written by his editor Jean-Charles-Dominique de Lacretelle opens onto a more extensive discussion of European-Ottoman relations during a period of wide-ranging governmental and military reform in the Ottoman Empire known as Nizâm-i Cedid. Because these reforms were initiated in the wake of humiliating losses to the Russians in the late eighteenth century and explicitly set about to modernize the Ottoman state on European principles, this material allows us to conclude our discussion of visual representations of the Ottoman Empire with a sustained meditation on a series of problematics that run through the entire book—the relationship between war and cultural change, the function of art in fantasies of intercultural détente and/or cultural supremacy, the problem of modernity as experienced in this zone of varying rates of modernization, and the very problem posed by observation, representation, and desire between cultures.
Desire will prove to be a crucial bridge to my concluding analysis of the intersection of form, affect, and history in The Giaour. There is a palpable disjunction between the deployment of gender and sexuality in Lacretelle's Orientalist explications of Melling's engravings and the sociability implied by the images themselves. I argue that the tension between Lacretelle's ascription of desire and Melling's interest in intimate exchange with his patrons opens a gap in the text that allows us to crystallize a particular moment of imperial nostalgia. In The Giaour there is a similar tension between the notes and the poem, and between various fragments of the verse proper, and my objective is to show how Byron mobilizes these formal disjunctions in a critique of emerging British imperial policy in the nineteenth century and its reliance on heteronormative tropes and narratives to derogate both nonreproductive sexualities and the kind of intercultural exchange so vividly presented in the letters arising from his tour of the Levant in 1809 and 1810. As is well known, Byron's letters register his impatience with antiquarianism, his fascination with the people he meets in the Morea and in Constantinople, and his pursuit of queer desire in a space of relative sexual freedom. By attending to these three topoi, the full implications of my reading of the function of gendered figures in Choiseul-Gouffier and Craven's texts and Mayer's resistant homophilia fully unfold because Byron insistently destabilizes the sexualized norms that were so crucial to Britain's fantasy of a civilizing mission. Marilyn Butler's famous reading of The Giaour recognized Byron's critique many years ago, but I expand the purview of her analysis in a manner that draws up all of the chapters in "Beside War." I contend that The Giaour returns to the moment of American decolonization to think through the local and global implications of imperial history—both British and Ottoman—in the wake of the Seven Years' War, and thus Byron's remarkable poem can be read in dialogue with Pars's anxious sense of entropy, Choiseul-Gouffier's will to power, and Ainslie and Mayer's attempt to think about other forms of desire and history. Thus my concluding remarks on The Giaour emphasize both the intimate and extimate negotiations with a new world order.
It is my hope that the struggle to give form to these desires—some of which are deeply disturbing and some of which seem to point to the possibility of liberation—that characterizes the chapters that make up "Beside War" will keep the reader in a continual state of uneasiness. Many of the same topoi explored in the opening four chapters recur—the fleeting condition of peace, the strange volatility of hospitality, the importance of intimacy and sexuality to this archive—but in this later historical moment everything seems to gravitate toward the selfsame. With the exception of the resistant strategies of collaboration discussed in Chapters 7 and 8, the phantasmatic subsumption of Greece in the imaginary of western Europe was facilitated by the Russian domination of the Ottomans in the final thirty years of eighteenth century. For British and French observers of this process, and of the weakened condition of the Ottoman Empire, this seemed to open a door for imaginatively acquiring the Ottomans' prize possessions.
Significantly this appropriation of the patrimony of ancient Greece did not happen through territorial acquisition. By operating "beside" war, the French and the British connoisseurs and antiquarians were able to obviate intercultural sociability altogether and thus substantively avoid many of the affective risks so dramatically on display in the chapters that make up "After Peace." "Beside" has the connotation both of adjacency and removal, proximity and distance. It is my sense that this spatial obfuscation in which violence is heralded and ignored is crucial to late eighteenth-century philhellenism and its corollary anti-Ottoman proclivities. Thus one could propose that the temporal loophole that made peace and intercultural sociability imaginable in the first part of this book has been transformed into a spatial loophole—a space adjacent to but affectively disconnected from the space of war. In the former case, the temporal loophole, because it became coextensive with time itself, allowed for an assessment of life. In the latter case, the spatial loophole becomes privative in order to allow for appropriation: relations among people become relations between people and things. In the most disturbing versions of this latter substitution, time itself collapses and, as we will see in the work of Choiseul-Gouffier, genocidal fantasies driven by the auratic power of art billow forth. And yet, it is the very force of these phantasmatic investments that generates the divergent acts of aesthetic resistance mobilized by Ainslie, Mayer, Melling, and Byron. Intercultural sociability reemerges as a crucial element of their resistant practices and artifacts.
All this is to say that this study's consideration of the European engagement with the Ottoman world finds that the pressure of finding forms for intercultural sociability generates complex meditations on the nature of representation and history. In this regard, I hope that the book provides a useful counterpart to the current turn within Ottoman studies toward cultural history. In a sense this book may well operate like a photographic negative of the scholarship on Ottoman social, political, and cultural history by figures like Rifa'at Ali Abou el-Haj, Halil Inalcik, Mehmet Sinan Birdal, Suraiya Faroqhi, Palmira Brummett, John-Paul Ghobrial, Virginia Aksan, Michael Talbot, and others that will surface throughout the ensuing chapters. I have neither the expertise nor the linguistic skills to engage with Ottoman materials directly, thus I find myself in a position not unlike many of the figures I discuss in this book. Thus translation, mediation, and, at times, speculation are vital methodological tools for engaging with this archive. In a very real sense, I am arguing that this quite literally comes with the territory and that, like the cultural practitioners I discuss, my own awareness of the complexity of intercultural exchange can be productive above and beyond any notion of transparent comprehension. It is my hope that I can translate the palpable weakness of my engagement into a strength—something that I think is exemplified by moments in Paget and Colyer's mediation, Vanmour's vexed descriptions, Montagu's errant translations and her vulnerable allegories, William Pars's entropic designs, Ainslie and Mayer's affective refigurations, Melling's hybrid inventions, and Byron's formal interventions.