Sheik, baby, sheik

The abiding romanticisation of the Orient

I once fell out with an intelligent, well-read woman who refused to believe me when I said I had never read a Mills & Boon book. I should perhaps have admitted that the job I had as a student, proofreading stacks of popular novels for an Adelaide publisher, put me off them for life. Now I am grateful to Hsu-Ming Teo for educating me so thoroughly on romantic fiction by women in English about the Middle East, which, as she shows, has many fans. Her comprehensive research relieves me of any need or desire to join them.

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Published in May 2013 no. 351

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