Edward Said's Orientalism has been much praised for its account of Western perceptions of the Orient. But the English-speaking world has for too long been unaware of another classic in the same field which appeared in France only a year later. Alain Grosrichard's The Sultan's Court is a fascinating survey of Western accounts of "Oriental despotism" in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It focuses particularly on portrayals of the Ottoman Empire and the supposedly enigmatic structure of the despot's court - the seraglio - with its viziers, janissaries, mutes, dwarfs, eunuchs and countless wives. Drawing on the writings of travellers and philosophers such as Montesquieu, Rousseau and Voltaire, Grosrichard goes further than merely cataloguing their intense fascination with the vortex of capriciousness, violence, cruelty, lust, sexual perversion and slavery which they perceived in the seraglio. Deftly and subtly using a Lacanian psychoanalytical framework, he describes the process as one in which these leading Enlightenment figures were constructing a fantastic Other to counterpose their project of a rationally based society.
The Sultan's Court seeks not to refute the misconceptions but rather explore the nature of the fantasy and what it can reveal about modern political thought and power relations more generally."
Publisher: Verso Books ISBN: 9781859841228 Number of pages: 256 Weight: 578 g Dimensions: 230 x 136 x 22 mm
Simply reserve online and pay at the counter when you collect.
Available in shop from just two hours, subject to availability.
Thank you for your reservation
Your order is now being processed and we have sent a confirmation email to you at
This item can be requested from the shops shown below. If this item isn't available to be reserved nearby, add the item to your basket instead and select 'Deliver to my local shop' at the checkout, to be able to collect it from there at a later date.
When will my order be ready to collect?
Following the initial email, you will be contacted by the shop to confirm that your item is available for collection.
Call us on or send us an email at
Unfortunately there has been a problem with your order
Please try again or alternatively you can contact your chosen shop on or send us an email at