Desert Passions: Orientalism and Romance Novels by Hsu-Ming Teo

By Hsu-Ming Teo

The Sheik—E. M. Hull's best-selling novel that turned a wildly renowned movie starring Rudolph Valentino—kindled "sheik fever" around the Western global within the Twenties. A craze for all issues romantically "Oriental" swept via type, movie, and literature, spawning imitations and parodies with no quantity. whereas that fervor has mostly subsided, stories of ardour among Western girls and Arab males proceed to enthrall readers of modern mass-market romance novels. during this groundbreaking cultural heritage, Hsu-Ming Teo lines the literary lineage of those wilderness romances and old bodice rippers from the 12th to the twenty-first century and explores the gendered cultural and political reasons that they have got served at a variety of historic moments.

Drawing on "high" literature, erotica, and renowned romance fiction and movies, Teo examines the altering meanings of Orientalist tropes akin to crusades and conversion, abduction by means of Barbary pirates, sexual slavery, the terror of renegades, the Oriental despot and his harem, the determine of the strong Western concubine, and fantasies of get away from the harem. She analyzes the effect of imperialism, decolonization, sexual liberation, feminism, and American involvement within the heart East on women's Orientalist fiction. Teo means that the increase of female-authored romance novels dramatically reworked the character of Orientalism since it feminized the discourse; made white girls crucial as manufacturers, shoppers, and imagined actors; and revised, reversed, or collapsed the binaries inherent in conventional analyses of Orientalism.

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