A characteristic of the Romantic period in English literature was the use of exotic material. All that James Justinian Morier (MOHR-ee-ay) wrote contained this characteristic. At least to a degree, his work was educational as well as entertaining, because it was about foreign people of the author’s own experiences. Morier was born on January 8, 1784, at Smyrna, Turkey, son of a British consul of Huguenot extraction. After education at Harrow in England, Morier himself served in the consular service in Persia.
Retiring in England on a pension in 1817, he wrote tales until 1824, when he was sent as a special commissioner to Mexico. He is best known for The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan. Although foreign in locale and picaresque in action, the material, based on fact, was treated realistically. In the sequel, The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan in England, the purpose of social criticism was no longer veiled. Morier’s later novels are sentimental and unreal, and at best they are but typical of the lighter reading of the day. Morier died in Brighton, England, March 19, 1849.
Dabundo, Laura. “James Justinian Morier.” In British Romantic Novelists, 1789-1832, edited by Bradford K. Mudge. Vol. 116 in Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale Group, 1992.
Grabar, Terry H. “Fact and Fiction: Morier’s Hajji Baba.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 11 (Fall, 1969): 1223-1236.
Johnston, Henry McKenzie. Ottoman and Persian Odysseys: James Morier, Creator of Hajji Baba of Isphahan, and His Brothers. New York: British Academic Press, 1998.
Krotkoff, George. “Hammer-Purgstall, Hajji Baba, and the Moriers.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 19 (February, 1987): 103-108.
Weitzman, Arthur J. “Who Was Hajji Baba?” Notes and Queries 217 (May, 1970): 177-179.