The Stage Historicizes the Turk: Convention and Contradiction in the Turkish History Play

  • Mark Hutchings
Part of the Early Modern Literature in History book series (EMLH)


In the summer of 1622 news of sensational events in Constantinople began to reach Western Europe. Christians divided by war rejoiced at reports that the Ottoman Empire was in chaos: defeat by the Poles at Hotin had led to disaffected Janissaries storming the Seraglio and overthrowing the sultan.1 Informed, well-connected observers such as England’s ambassador to Constantinople, Sir Thomas Roe, and pamphleteers anticipated there would be a lively appetite for this news; the title of one London pamphlet proclaims:

The Strangling and Death of the Great Turk, and his two Sons; with the strange Preservation and Deliverance of his Uncle Mustapha from Perishing in Prison, with Hunger and Thirst; the young Emperor, not three Days before, having so commanded. A wonderful Story, and the like never heard of in our modern Times; and yet, all to manifest the Glory and Providence of God, in the Preservation of Christendom in these troublesome Times. Printed this fifteenth July.2


Henry VIII Narrative Discourse Irene Convention Turkish Empire Narrative Cinema 
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© Mark Hutchings 2008

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  • Mark Hutchings

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