Geographies of Fantasy: Exploring the Romance East

  • Amy Burge
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


The romance East is a fantasy. It works as exotic synesthesia, blending sensations of sound, sight, and smell and persistently deploying stock Orientalist motifs. Consider, for example, the following passage from The Sultan’s Bought Bride:

With the stringed instruments plucking, drums and tambourines beating, Nic stepped onto the gangway and halfway across, colourful confetti streamed down. It wasn’t paper confetti, the bits of orange and red and pink were flower petals and the sweet scented petals drifted onto her covered head and shoulders.

It was like entering a dream world—the music, the colours, the hint of spice in the air. Nic had the strongest sensation that this new world would soon dazzle her with its exotic secrets.1


Romantic Relationship Middle East Thirteenth Century Fourteenth Century Trade Route 
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