Article

The Orient in North Africa: Ernst von Hesse-Wartegg's Tunis: Land und Leute

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Abstract

The article explores Ernst von Hesse-Wartegg's 1882 travelogue, Tunis: Land und Leute from a post-colonialist perspective. The analysis attends to a neglected area of Austrian literature, namely, colonialist texts that deal with spaces outside of the Empire. By setting Hesse-Wartegg's text in dialogue with post-colonial theory from Homi Bhabha, Edward Said, and Johannes Fabian, the article points to a performative construction of Tunisia as 'Oriental.' At the same time, this reading highlights inherent ambivalences in the text, particularly in regards to 'in-between' spaces and figures. As a result, Hesse-Wartegg's writing should be understood as an example of an Austrian engagement with colonialism wherein the author may take on the role of an ambivalent narrator who mediates between the colonizer (France) and the colonized (Tunisia) but instead positions himself more closely to French colonialism.

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