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The Age of Beloveds: Love and the Beloved in Early-Modern Ottoman and European Culture and Society [Paperback]

Walter G. Andrews , Mehmet Kalpakli , Walter G. Andrews

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Book Description

Jan. 13 2005
The Age of Beloveds offers a rich introduction to early modern Ottoman culture through a study of its beautiful lyric love poetry. At the same time, it suggests provocative cross-cultural parallels in the sociology and spirituality of love in Europe--from Istanbul to London--during the long sixteenth century. Walter G. Andrews and Mehmet Kalpakli provide a generous sampling of translations of Ottoman poems, many of which have never before appeared in English, along with informative and inspired close readings. The authors explain that the flourishing of Ottoman power and culture during the "Turkish Renaissance" manifests itself, to some degree, as an "age of beloveds," in which young men became the focal points for the desire and attention of powerful office-holders and artists as well as the inspiration for a rich literature of love. The authors show that the "age of beloveds" was not just an Ottoman, eastern European, or Islamic phenomenon; it extended into western Europe as well. They demonstrate this by examining the cultures of Venice, Florence, Rome, and London during the same period. Andrews and Kalpakli contend that in an age dominated by immensely powerful absolute rulers and troubled by war, cultural change, and religious upheaval, the attachments of dependent courtiers and the longings of anxious commoners aroused an intense and peculiar interest in love and the beloved. The Age of the Beloveds reveals a new commonality in the cultural history of two worlds long seen as radically different. Walter G. Andrews is Research Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the University of Washington. He is the author of Poetry's Voice, Society's Song: Ottoman Lyric Poetry and An Introduction to Ottoman Poetry. Mehmet Kalpakli is Chair and Assistant Professor of History and Director of the Center for Ottoman Studies at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. They are co-authors of Ottoman Lyric Poetry: An Anthology.

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"A wonderful and brave book that is so fun to read... An astonishing account of love and the beloved where they intersect with sex, spirituality, politics and power... Amazing!"--Orhan Pamuk, author of the novels Snow and My Name Is Red "The Age of Beloveds is a unique and powerful book. There is nothing remotely like this out there and yet as one reads it one is struck by the dire need for the sort of basic information and insights it provides about the other half of the Mediterranean during the early modern period."--Maria Rosa Menocal, author of Shards of Love: Exile and the Origins of the Lyric "The Age of Beloveds is a treasure and a masterpiece. With breathtakingly extensive original research, it is beautifully written, in a style both inviting and impressive. It is the fruit of a lifetime's project to add Ottoman literature to the canons of world literature."--Victoria Holbrook, author of The Unreadable Shores of Love: Turkish Modernity and Mystic Romance " ... a wealth of fascinating historical material to inform, poetry that will delight, and an invaluable bibliography of studies to pursue. Ottoman historians, too, are certain to find new literary material that will enrich their archival endeavours."--Times Literary Supplement, 27 January 2006

About the Author

Walter G. Andrews is Research Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the University of Washington. He is the author of Poetry's Voice, Society's Song: Ottoman Lyric Poetry and An Introduction to Ottoman Poetry. Mehmet Kalpakli is Chair and Assistant Professor of History and Director of the Center for Ottoman Studies at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. They are co-authors of Ottoman Lyric Poetry: An Anthology.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book of verses underneath the bough Nov. 22 2011
By othoniaboys - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The authors of this magnificent book deserve the greatest praise for daring -- and yes, "daring" is the correct word -- to write this book on a very controversial subject in the midst of an extended period of moral panic in the West. Since practically nobody in the West has even the slightest knowledge of, or curiosity about, Turkish love-poetry written prior to 1800, this book has probably gone largely unnoticed and unread, and has therefore gone uncondemned by moralistic pundits. It is true that the authors have played it a bit safe by giving a genuflection before the altar of right-mindedness, saying in so many words (I paraphrase), "Well, yes, this whole book is about the very abomination of desolation, and of course we don't approve of what these beastly poets were up to, but we took it into our heads to write at length about it anyway." And goody for them for doing so!

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