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Pierre Loti and the Theatricality of Desire offers an original analysis of patterns of unconscious desire observable in the life and work of the French orientalist writer Pierre Loti. It aims to reconcile attitudes and conduct that have been regarded as contradictory and not amenable to analysis by locating the unconscious urges that motivate them. It looks at the ambiguous feelings Loti expresses towards his mother, the conflicting desires inherent in his bisexuality, and his deeply ambiguous sense of a cultural identity as expressed through his cross-cultural transvestism. The political implications of this reappraisal are also considered, offering a potential reassessment of the apparently exploitative nature of much of Loti's writing. This new reading in terms of the unconscious not only serves as a way of understanding inconsistencies, but also suggests how such new interpretations can offer an alternative way of viewing the hierarchies of power his work portrays on both a sexual and political level. This volume is consequently of interest to those interested in gender studies and sexual politics, and offers a way of appreciating writing that might otherwise appear dated and embarrassingly sexist and colonialist in content to twenty-first century readers.