Three Turk Plays from Early Modern England: Selimus, a Christian Turned Turk, and the Renegado


During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Ottoman empire posed a clear and present danger to Christian rule in Europe. While English commerce with the Mediterranean world expanded, Ottoman forces invaded Greece, Hungary, and Austria. At the same time, "Turkish" pirates and renegades from North Africa roamed the Atlantic and raided the coast of England. The threat was ideological as well: English sailors captured by Barbary pirates sometimes renounced their faith and converted to Islam. Here, three important early modern "Turk" plays -- Robert Greene's Selimus, Emperor of the Turks (1594); Robert Daborne's A Christian Turned Turk (1612); and Philip Massinger's The Renegado (1623) -- are available for the first time. These texts represent Islamic power and wealth in scenes of piracy on the high seas, on-stage execution by strangulation, and rites of religious conversion. The plays are set in historical and cultural context by Daniel J. Vitkus's clear and thoughtful introduction. These carefully edited, annotated, modern-spelling editions are particularly valuable for understanding the cultural production of English identity in relation to the Islamic Other.


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