A Mirror for Princes, A Fiction for Readers: The Habnâme of Veysî and Dream Narratives in Ottoman Turkish Literature

Şen, A. Tunç

This study aims to reconstruct the ways in which an early seventeenth-century text composed by one of the prominent literary figures of his age, Veysî Efendi (d. 1628), was constructed and consumed. Throughout this study, I will discuss the historical and personal contexts under which this text was penned and the ways in which it was received by its readers. In this respect, this article aims at combining two different strands of analysis. On the one hand, I will examine the content of the text, its distinctive stylistic features, the immediate historical circumstances in which it was produced, and the authorial intentions shaped by Veysî's career expectations. On the other hand, in light of reader responses to the narratives we have available, the work's textual adventure in manuscript culture, and the relative success it achieved throughout the nineteenth-century print world, where a new dream-utopia literature pioneered by the works of Ziya Pasha and Namik Kemal was gaining ground, I will argue that, unlike current scholarly tradition, which tends to see the Habnâme as a mere example of Ottoman advice literature, it is indeed an unequivocally imaginative and inspiring "story".


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Journal of Turkish Literature

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December 7, 2017