silent as a Turk

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NOTES

silent as a Turk

In the early nineteenth century Turkey was the center of the far-flung Ottoman Empire, which was to an English readership noteworthy for its autocracy and corruption. Perhaps more to the point in 1831, that Empire abutted the growing British presence in India and Afghanistan, making it a natural object of suspicion and prejudice. Whether Mary Shelley thought twice about the terms of her analogy here one cannot know, but it is a fact that Turks do not fare well in this novel. In its second volume (II:6:12) Safie's father acts an ungenerous and even treacherous role.