Michael Tomko, Villanova University
This article examines the use of ostensibly anti-Catholic rhetoric in The Mogul Tale (1784), a farce by the English Catholic writer Elizabeth Inchbald. By tracing the play’s composition history and Inchbald’s links to her contemporary Catholic community, the article argues that the rhetoric does not represent a renunciation of her religious background but rather addresses a concern for the type of religious discrimination and violence displayed during the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots of the 1780s in London and Scotland. The Mogul Tale lampoons extreme misrepresentations of English Catholics and thereby participates in an English Catholic satirical discourse that reaches back to John Gother and is continued by Inchbald, Alexander Geddes, and George Hay. The orientalist framework of the play allows Inchbald to extend the concern with misrepresentation beyond discrimination against English Catholics and into the emergent racial and religious categories of difference encountered globally by the British colonial project.