Classical Ottoman Texts

Key information

Module not running
Module code
FHEQ Level

Module overview

A study of Ottoman prose and poetry of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. The module covers the development and function of Ottoman prose writing. Poetry, including divan poetry, is studied through selections from major authors.


Successful completion of Ottoman Turkish language or equivalent knowledge of Ottoman.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

An critical assessment of the history and development of classical Ottoman literature and a close reading from various genres.

Learning outcomes

  1. students will gain familiarity and critical understanding of a number of texts and genres of Ottoman literature
  2. students will develop critical skills in discussing and writing about the literary (language, style) and social dimensions of Ottoman writing.
  3. students will acquire an advanced understanding of the Ottoman literary language.


The module is taught two hours per week.

Scope and syllabus

The material is studied both in the Ottoman script and in transcription. The module includes background lectures and required reading in both English and modern Turkish on aspects of Ottoman literary history and poetry.

Method of assessment

  • 40% - Transcription and translation assignment (1,000 words total)
  • 60% - Essay (2,500 words)
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page

Suggested reading

Basic bibliography

  • Andrews, Walter G. and Irene Markoff, 1987.  "Poetry, the Arts and Group Ethos in the Ideology of the Ottoman Empire."  Edebiyat, I/1: 28-70.
  • Andrews, Walter G. and Mehmet Kalpaklı,  2005.  The Age of Beloveds: Love and the Beloved in Early-Modern Ottoman and European Culture and Society.  Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Andrews, Walter G., 1976. An Introduction to Ottoman Poetry. Bibliotheca Islamica: Studies in Middle Eastern Literatures 7. Minneapolis.
  • Andrews, Walter G., 1985.  Poetry's Voice, Society's Song.  Ottoman Lyric Poetry.  Seattle.
  • Aynur, Hatice, 2008.  “Cumhuriyet dönemi divan şiiri antolojileri” Eski Türk edebiyatına modern yaklaşımlar II. Istanbul: Turkuaz Yayınları, pp. 58-109.
  • Bombaci, A., 1968.  Histoire de la littérature turque.  Transl. by I. Mélikoff.  Paris.
  • Dankoff, Robert, 1991.  The Intimate Life of an Ottoman Statesman Melek Ahmed Pasha (1588-1662).   As Portrayed in Evliya Çelebi's Book of Travels (Seyahatname).  Translation and Commentary by Robert Dankoff.  With a Historical Introduction by Rhoads Murphey.  Albany, NY:  State University of New York Press.
  • Faroqhi, Suraiya, 2001.  Subjects of the Sultan : Culture and daily life in the Ottoman Empire.  London: IB Tauris.
  • Feldman, Walter, 1996. " The Celestial Sphere, The Wheel of Fortune and Fate in the Gazels of Naʿilî and Bâkî." International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 28: 193-215.
  • Fleischer, Cornell, 1986.  Bureaucrat and Intellectual in the Ottoman Empire: The Historian Mustafa Ali (1541-1600).  Princeton.
  • Gibb, E. J. W., 1900-1909. A History of Ottoman Poetry. 6 vols. Vols 2-6 ed. Edward G. Browne. London: Luzac.
  • Gökay, Orhan Şaik, 1993.  "Ideology and Literature During the Expansion of the Ottoman Empire."  In: İnalcık 1993: 381- 392.
  • Holbrook, V. R., 1994.  The Unreadable Shores of Love:  Turkish Modernity and Mystic Romance.  Austin.
  • Imber , Colin, 2003.  The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1650: The Structure of Power.  European History in Perspective Series.  London: Palgrave.
  • İnalcık, Halil and Cemal Kafadar, eds., 1993,  Süleymân the Second and his Time, Istanbul: İsis, pp. 381- 392.
  • İz, Fahir, 1966. Eski Türk Edebiyatında Nazım.  2 vols. Istanbul: İstanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Yayınları.
  • İz, Fahir, 1970.  "Turkish Literature."  In: Holt Peter, et al., eds, The Cambridge History of Islam, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Vol. 2: 682-694.  
  • Kocatürk, Vasfi Mahir, 1964.  Türk Edebiyatı Tarihi. Ankara: Edebiyat Yayınları.
  • Levend, Agâh Sırrı, 1980. Divan Edebiyatı. Istanbul: Enderûn Kitabevi.
  • Mitler, Louis, 1988. Ottoman Turkish Writers. A Bibliographical Dictionary of Significant Figures in pre-Republican Turkish Literature. American University Studies: Series XIX, General Literature, Vol. 15. New York: Peter Lang.
  • Necipoğlu Gürlu, 1989.  "Süleyman the Magnificent and the Representation of Power in a Context of Ottoman-Habsburg-Papal Rivalry."  Art Bulletin 71: 401-427.
  • Necipoğlu, Gürlu, 1991.  Architecture, Ceremonial and Power.  The Topkapı Palace in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries.  Cambridge, MA.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules