Abstract

In his seminal Orientalism, Edward Said describes the Orient as a cultural construction of the East, represented by Europeans as a point of contrast to the West. The Orient thus comes to be seen as an Other against the Western Self, conveying a set of characteristics that are typically considered to be feminine and encompass such features as sensuality, irrationality, and violence. These features are set against a masculine, strong, and rational West. Travel writing in particular has been concerned with the exercise of power and authority in the Orient. Using Said’s theory of Orientalism, this article looks at Edward Granville Browne’s A Year Amongst the Persians to examine Browne’s perception and understanding of Iran and Iranians. Browne began learning Persian in 1882 and subsequently became a Persophile and admirer of Persian language and culture. He spent 1887–8 in Iran and among Iranians and published his travelogue in 1893. For a better understanding of Browne’s position on imperialism and Orientalism, the article examines the writings of some British travelers and explores the cultural bias implicit in their works and their construction of the “imaginary” Orient and uses that as a point of comparison and contrast with Browne’s travelogue.

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