Journal Article

‘One <i>Lot</i> in <i>Sodom</i>’: Masculinity and the Gendered Body in Early Modern Narratives of Converted Turks<sup>1</sup>

Jacqueline Pearson

in Literature and Theology

Volume 21, issue 1, pages 29-48
Published in print March 2007 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online February 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frl060
‘One Lot in Sodom’: Masculinity and the Gendered Body in Early Modern Narratives of Converted Turks1

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In 1658–59, two Islamic ‘Turks’, Rigep Dandulo and Isuf, baptised as Richard Christophilus, were converted in London to Protestantism, and the clergymen involved, Thomas Warmstry and Thomas White, published accounts of the process. These two texts, and an earlier conversion narrative of 1586, are all located at critical junctures of English self-definition—on the eve of the Spanish Armada, and around the death of Oliver Cromwell. These Turkish conversion narratives reveal western ignorance and ambiguity about Islam, and anxieties about the power of the Ottoman Empire, and are far from transparent and disinterested accounts. The three conversion texts are particularly striking in their appropriation of available discourses of Turkish masculine identity, which is depicted as simultaneously insufficient, excessive and monstrous. A normative role for English Protestant masculinity is implicitly proposed, and the process of conversion is represented as a change not only in religion but also in modes of masculinity.

Journal Article.  9025 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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