The Turkish Embassy Letters
From Shelf: Favourite Books I read in 2022
Letters written from 1716-1718 from the Ottoman Empire by Mary Wortley Montagu, one of the first modern travel writers. A revelation in their day.
Mary Montagu was one of the most extraordinary characters in the world. She was a self-educated intellectual, a free spirit, a radical, a feminist but also an entitled aristocrat and a society wit with powerful friends at court. In 1716 she travelled across Europe to take up residence in Istanbul as the wife of the British ambassador. Her letters remain as fresh as the day they were penned: enchanted by her discoveries of the life of Turkish women behind the veil, by Arabic poetry and by contemporary medical practices - including inoculation. For two years she lovingly observed Ottoman society as a participant, with affection, intelligence and an astonishing lack of prejudice.
Format: Paperback / softback