Throughout the eighteenth century, diplomatic relations were frequently supplemented by the deployment of entertainment, specifically the theatre, as a potential site where negotiation could be furthered, altered, or impeded. Both the British embassy to Tehran in 1809 and the Persian embassy to London in 1809-10 involved acts of shared theatrical consumption. James Morier, the secretary to Harford Jones, published detailed descriptions of Ta'ziyeh performances in Tehran in A Journey through Persia, Armenia, and Asia Minor (1812). And the journal of his counterpart, Mirza Abul Hassan Khan, engages with the many operas and plays he attended during his sojourn in London. Both envoys recognize and contain the allegorical scenarios being staged in the scene of diplomacy. In each case, Morier and Abul Hassan are troubled by the reception of these affect-laden performances, and the ways in which they distinguish themselves from the audience around them reveal the limits of intercultural exchange at this moment in the Napoleonic wars.
"Tears in Tehran/Laughter in London: James Morier, Mirza Abul Hassan Khan, and the Geopolitics of Emotion,"
1, Article 5.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/ecf/vol25/iss1/5
Daniel O'Quinn is a professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph. He is the author of Entertaining Crisis in the Atlantic Imperium, 1770-1790 (2011) and Staging Governance: Theatrical Imperialism in London, 1770-1800 (2005). He co-edited, with Jane Moody, the Cambridge Companion to British Theatre, 1730-1830 (2007), edited the Travels of Mirza Abu Taleb Khan (2008), and co-edited, with Teresa Heffernan, Mary Wortley Montagu's The Turkish Embassy Letters (2012).