Good Poets & Bad Poetry at the Ottoman Court

Episode 416

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What made for a good poet in the Ottoman Empire? It is a question that far too few historians tackle because Ottoman poetry, especially that of the court, is often regarded as inaccessible. In this podcast, Sooyong Kim brings to life the social world of Ottoman poets, focusing in particular on Zati, a poet plying his trade in the imperial court in the first half of the sixteenth century. We speak about how poets succeeded and failed and why Zati's successors erased him from the canon of good poetry.

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Contributor Bios
Sooyong Kim is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Comparative Literature at Koç University. He is a scholar of early modern Ottoman literature and culture.
Nir Shafir researches the intellectual and religious history of the Middle East, from roughly 1400-1800, focusing on material culture and the history of science and technology. He is an assistant professor of history at UCSD and one of the editors of the Ottoman History Podcast.
Elisabetta Benigni is an assistant professor of Arabic language and literature at the University of Turin. Her research focuses on comparative literature in the Mediterranean context (transmission of texts, translations and cross-influence), prison and resistance literature, literary translations and translation studies, and early Modern and modern contacts between Italian and Arabic.


Episode No. 416
Release Date: 28 June 2019
Recording Location: Istanbul
Audio editing by Sam Dolbee
Music: "Chiaroscuro" by Zé Trigueiros.
Bibliography courtesy of  Sooyong Kim

Select Bibliography

Andrews, Walter G. and Mehmet Kalpaklı. The Age of the Beloveds: Love and the Beloved in Early-Modern Ottoman and European Culture and Society. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005.

Çelebioğlu, Âmil. Kanûnî Sultan Süleyman Devri Türk Edebiyatı. Istanbul: Millî Eğitim Basımevi, 1994.

———. “Turkish Literature of the Period of Süleyman the Magnificent. In The Ottoman Empire in the Reign of Süleyman the Magnificent, vol. 2, 61-166. Ankara: Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 1988.

Erünsal, İsmail E. Türk Edebiyatı Tarihinin Arşiv Kaynakları/The Archival Sources of Turkish Literary History. Cambridge, MA: Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University, 2008.

İpekten, Halûk. Divan Edebiyatında Edebî Muhitler. Istanbul: Millî Eğitim Basımevi, 1996.

Kuru, Selim S. “The Literature of Rum: The Making of a Literary Tradition (1450-1600).” In the Cambridge History of Turkey, vol. 2, edited by Suraiya Faroqhi and Kate Fleet, 548-92. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.


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