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Turkish Spy

volumes, letters and english

TURKISH SPY, The. Giovanni Paolo Marana (1642-93) was a Genoese political refu gee gifted with a keen mind, cosmopolitan politi cal interests and a facile pen. Finding himself in financial straits, he began in Paris in 1684 the publication of 'L'espion du Grand Seigneur dans les cours des princes chritiens,) a series of little volumes of letters addressed by aMahmut the Arabian" to officials and friends in Turkey. This scheme, then novel, gave opportunity for relatively free comment on Continental politics in the days of Cardinal Mazarin and the young Louis XIV and of French society and manners in the hey-day of Versailles. The idea was keenly relished. Three other volumes had followed by 1688, afterward increased by other hands to nine in the edition of 1756. The substance of these four volumes forms the first volume (1687) of an English version afterward extended to eight with this descriptive title page: eight volumes of Letters writ by a Turkish Spy who lived 45 years undiscovered at Paris giv ing an impartial account to the divan at Con stantinople of the must remarkable transactions of Europe and discovering several intrigues and secrets of the Christian courts, especially that of France, from the year 1637 to the year 1682, written originally in Arabic, translated into Italian and from thence into English and now published with a large historical preface and index to illustrate the whole." The translation

was apparently by William Bradshaw, revised by Robert Midgley. It passed through at least 25 editions. The volumes from the second on ward appeared first in English. Whether they were translated from a French manuscript, pos sibly Marana's, is uncertain. The opportunity for political satire contained in Marana's idea delighted Swift, who commends it in the 'Journal to Stella.' It was often imitated in England and notably in France in the