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A Mosaic of Misunderstanding: Occident, Orient, and Facets of Mutual Misconstrual


Julia Szołtysek

The book investigates relations between the ‘East’ and ‘West’ which have been forming and evolving from the Enlightenment until the present times. On the basis of material covering a selection of American, British and Turkish literature, as well as examples of Western Orientalist painting and musical (operatic) illustrations of analysed issues, the study aims to usher in a deeper and more nuanced understanding of post/colonial phenomena and their broader socio-cultural implications. The work attempts to accentuate the resonances and dissonances between various arts and disciplines, with the view to illuminating the organic nature of both inter- and intra-cultural relationships. The rationale behind such an orientation in research and methodology has not been to arrive at a final eclectic perspective, but rather, to promote a more comprehensive and diverse approach towards the ‘Other’.

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Chapter Three: Of Temptations Lady Mary Discovered, and Shared with Others



Much critical and scholarly attention has been devoted to a seemingly plain question which, however, continues to resist attempts at answering it – what makes a ‘good’ book? What is the key to the mystery of ‘quality’ novel writing? Or, more widely, what problematics, themes, times, situations, and characters might be deemed suitable for a ‘valuable’ work of fiction, and in fact any work of art, too? Immersing oneself in such musings quickly turns out to be like walking in a minefield, with dangers lurking for the (over-)zealous seeker each step of her/his way, including the risks of generalization, reductionism, and qualifying, to name but a few. One lasting formula for emerging victorious from this challenge was articulated by Edgar Allan Poe in his oft-quoted statement that

The death then of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world, and equally is it beyond doubt that the lips best suited for such topic are those of a bereaved lover.258

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