Britain and Barbary

By Parker, Richard B. | The International Journal of African Historical Studies, January 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Britain and Barbary


Parker, Richard B., The International Journal of African Historical Studies


Britain and Barbary. By Nabil Matar. Gainesville, Fla.: University Press of Florida, 2005. Pp. 172; appendices, notes, bibliography, index. $59.85.

Nabil Matar is professor of English and chair of the Department of Humanities and Communication at the Florida Institute of Technology. This book is the third and final essay in his study of Britain and the Islamic world. In it he turns to the impact of Barbary on the culture and history of Britain-to its role in the "nation formation" of that country. He focuses largely on the impact of North Africa on English drama and literature, on the social consequences of the large numbers of Britons held captive in Barbary, and on the change of Britons' attitudes toward the region and themselves with the growth of the Royal Navy. He is concerned primarily with Morocco. Algeria is mentioned briefly and Tunis and Tripoli in passing. The book is full of details reflecting extensive research in the archives and in the surprisingly rich literature.

The dates 1589 and 1689 are those of the first and last of the "Moor plays" to be performed on the London stage, starting with George Peele's "The Battle of Alcazar," (Wadi al-Makhazin, 1578), which Matar describes as "the only play in the whole Elizabethan repertoire to portray the Christian-Islamic conflict in North Africa with historical accuracy." The battle, in which the Portuguese king, Sebastian, and two contenders for the Moroccan throne were killed, settled a dynastic conflict and left the last of the Saadians, Ahmad al-Mansour, securely on the Moroccan throne. The play presents the Moroccans as evil, anti-Christian, and ruthless-this at a time when Ahmad and Elizabeth are warily talking about joining forces against Philip of Spain. The play could be taken as a warning to Elizabeth against trusting Ahmad, who, it turns out, while stringing Elizabeth along, made a deal with Philip to withhold cooperation with England and the Portuguese in return for the surrender of Asila, a port on the Atlantic coast that the Spanish occupied.

The last of the moor plays was "Don Sebastian," by John Dryden, first performed in 1689. It rewrote the battle of Wadi al Makhazin to make Sebastian the victor because in Dryden's words, the English audience would not "bear a thorough tragedy." Much had happened in the interval. Britain's response to the problem of North African piracy had transformed it from a trading nation to an imperial power. It had occupied Tangier, its first possession in Muslim Africa, for 22 years, its navy now ruled the seas, and it could afford to condescend.

Matar devotes a good deal of space to the issue of captivity, first of Britons in North Africa, and then of North Africans in Britain and elsewhere in Europe. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Britain and Barbary
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.