‘[T]hat unknown man’s singing has stirred you deeply’: E.M. Hull’s The Sheik – An Exploration of Orientalized Gender
Rider Haggard continued to write his romances into the 1920s very rarely deviating from the plot patterns and writing devices that he had pioneered nearly forty years earlier. This chapter investigates 'Oriental' music in a completely different type of romance, E. M. Hull's The Sheik. Through examination of The Sheik, it considers the means by which orientalist precepts concerning sexuality, gender and music continued to be employed to eroticize the 'Orient' at the close of the long nineteenth century. The Sheik follows the capture and sexual subjugation of the nineteen-year-old orphaned Englishwoman Lady Diana Mayo. Returning to the music, despite the fact that George Melford's 1921 film version of The Sheik seems to be only rather loosely based upon Hull's novel with many aspects straying from her original content and descriptions, the adaptors felt that both of Ahmed's moments of song were essential enough to be retained.