n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Ex Oriente Lux : Cosmopolitics of Orientalism in Ludwig Tieck's Play : Deutsche Ansichten von Afrika und Asien

Volume 32, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273



In the light of the Muslim separatist rebellion in the mainly Christian Philippines that has captured the attention of the western world in recent years, it is interesting that a play by Ludwig Tieck (1773-1853) concerns itself with a similar political situation on the Philippine Sulu Islands in the late eighteenth century. Inspired by a magazine article about the capture of a Muslim leader by the Spanish colonists, Tieck's play, published in 1797, uses this sensational story in order to expose and criticize both the idealistic clichés about life in the so called 'new world' prevalent in his time, as well as the popular sentimental literary portrayal of the exotic 'Orient'. Rather than imitating the eighteenth century conventional literary discourse on the exotic new worlds and thereby affirming dominant patterns of thought and expression, Tieck's use of irony in the play effectively calls the reader's attention to the mythical and ideological quality of the common attitude towards the foreign other, thereby exposing the play's language and images as fossilized clichés of Enlightened Sentimentalism. Tieck's play furthermore castigates abuses and injustices committed by any power, be it colonial, feudal or religious. The end of Tieck's play Alla-Moddin seems to suggest as a solution Kant's cosmopolitan worldview that eventually will lead to an ideal world in which all mankind can live in peace.

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