Hannah Cowley, "A Day In Turkey; Or, The Russian Slaves" (1791)

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Published In

The Routledge Anthology Of British Women Playwrights, 1777-1843


Perhaps one of the most intriguing documents of women’s place in the theatre in the 1790s, Hannah Cowley’s A Day in Turkey uses Eastern despotism to explore women’s relation to the French Revolution and to the public sphere. A complex blend of proto-feminist critique, orientalist voyeurism, and Francophobic homophobia, Cowley manipulates the stock material of the late eighteenth-century theatre to generate a fantasy of feminine directorial power. In the play’s most remarkable scene, Cowley’s alter ego manipulates the political and sexual plots of the comedy from the isolation of the seraglio, thereby providing a model not only for women’s political intervention in the private sphere, but also for Cowley’s nascent critique of the theatre’s patriarchal managerial power.

Published By



T. C. Crochunis and M. E. Sinatra

This document is currently not available here.

Find in Tripod