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Narrativity and Literariness in The Garden of Hüseyn. The Summary of the Tidings from the East and the West
Compiled and written by the bureaucrat and historian Mustafa Na'ima (1655-1716), the Ottoman court chronicle Tarih-i Na'ima belongs doubtlessly to the most prominent reference sources for historians of Ottoman studies. Covering the period from 1592 to 1659, this voluminous work provides valuable data especially for the political history of the seventeenth-century Ottoman State. As a general desideratum for well-known chronicles, Tarih-i Na'ima too, has attracted little scholarly attention regarding its literary value and characteristics despite its popularity and significance. However, I argue that literary criticism is crucial for understanding the premodern genres of Ottoman-Turkish historiography. The self-conscious literariness is already indicated by the original poetic title given by the author: The Garden of Hüseyn. The Summary of the Tidings from the East and the West. The paper aims to investigate the bulky chronicle from a literary and narratological perspective and to provide a new and innovative view of a well known source. By means of literary criticism and narratological tools, an approach borrowed from literary studies, I aim to delineate the elaborate literary and narrative structures of the text and point out its stylistic and literary characteristics. The findings will then be embedded into the literary genre of the court chronicle and premodern historiography. Thus we will be able to understand the ways and procedures of the historian to integrate records of historical facts within a literary narrative framework.
Geographic Area
Ottoman Empire
Sub Area
13th-18th Centuries