Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel

Srinivas Aravamudan

In his book, Srinivas Aravamudan reveals how Eastern-themed tales, pseudo-ethnographies, sexual fantasies, and political satires took Europe by storm in the 18th century. More than mere exoticism, tales of the Orient fascinated ordinary readers as well as intellectuals, taking the fancy of philosophers such as Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Diderot in France, and writers such as Defoe, Swift, and Goldsmith in Britain.

In Enlightenment Orientalism, he poses a range of questions uncovering the interdependence of Oriental tales and domestic fiction, thereby challenging standard scholarly narratives about the rise of the novel.