Evelyn’s administration for the richness of the visitor’s dress betrays a well-established fascination with the exoticism of the East, presenting an opportunity for spectacle and display that was quickly seized upon by Restoration dramatist. Evelyn carefully distinguishes the Moroccan from the Turkish mode of dress but, most significantly, speculates upon its resemblance to ‘the old Roman habite’ investing its wearers with an implied lineage and a classical decorum that underpins many characterizations of noble ‘Moors’ on stage. Equally telling is the anxiety engendered by the ‘Timult o the People’ a portrait of domestic and civic unruliness invoked in direct contrast to the enviable regulations exercised ‘over all the Turkish dominions’ by what was commonly supposed to be a strong centralized authority. Her too is that ever present reminder o the threat of apostasy embodied in the figure of the ‘Renegado English man’, although now rehabilitated from degenerate backslider to an authorized go-between for the two cultivated parties. The same tendacey to construct a version of Islamic culture through a series of parallels ad contrast with its English equivalent is even more evident in Evelyn’s subsequent description of the Entertainment of the Morocco…..


See Staging Islam in England: Drama and Culture, 1640-1685 By Matthew B…

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