The Byron Journal

‘Byron Pasha’ in Istanbul with Mozart and Rossini: The Seductions of Ottoman Sovereignty

The Byron Journal (2020), 48, (1), 1–15.

Abstract

While much critical attention has focused on Byron’s involvement with Greece, less work has been done on his response to Istanbul and the Ottoman Empire. In Britain and Europe, Byron’s literary representations of Ottoman power were preceded and paralleled by a rich tradition of the heroic, and often tragic, role of the Ottoman sultan on the operatic stage. This article explores Byron’s shifting engagement with Istanbul and Ottoman sovereignty in The Bride of Abydos and the Istanbul cantos of Don Juan alongside Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Rossini’s Maometto II. It departs from most studies of Byron’s orientalism by commenting on how the figure of the Ottoman sultan in his work complicates his response to both imperial cosmopolitanism and the emerging discourse of nationalism.

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Author details

Pal-Lapinski, Piya