The dream of a 17th century Ottoman intellectual: Veysi and his habname
Şen, Tunç Ahmet (2008) The dream of a 17th century Ottoman intellectual: Veysi and his habname. [Thesis]
Official URL: http://192.168.1.20/record=b1266201 (Table of Contents)
This thesis endeavors to present a literary-historical analysis of a seventeenth century work of prose, Habnâme, which was written by one of the prominent literary figures of his time, Veysî. He was born in Alasehir in 1561/2, and died in 1628 in Skopje. Having been enrolled in medrese education, he worked as a kadı in various locations in both Anatolia and Rumeli including Alasehir, Tire, Serez and Skopje. He is, however, better known for his literary abilities, and respected by both contemporary biographers and modern scholars as one of the leading figures of Ottoman ornamental prose. In his Habnâme, Veysî constructs a dream setting, in which the Alexander the Two-Horned has a conversation with Ahmed I regarding Ahmed’s concerns of the abuses in state apparatus. It is, thus, considered as an example of the Ottoman mirror for princes genre. Yet the text has some considerable deviations from other treatises, for it a) unequivocally fictionalizes the content through ‘dream’ fashion, b) contravenes the “Golden Age” rhetoric by making Alexander the Great say that abuses were not peculiar to Ahmed’s reign, they have been always there from the beginning. With this regard, the text serves as a consolation rather than a counsel. Habnâme of Veysî is equally important for its special literary quality of using dream as a frame for the narrative. While attempting to understand his choice, various dimensions should be taken into consideration. Firstly, Veysî’s possible familiarity with Islamic dream paradigms needs to be explained. Furthermore, the layers of correspondences between Veysî’s Habnâme and alike pieces from subsequent periods such as the works of Hasmetî, Ziya Pasa, Namık Kemal or Rusenî should be emphasized. With all these regards, the following study aims to: 1) question the position of Habnâme of Veysî within the Ottoman mirror for princes literature through exploring the intertextuality between Habnâme and contemporary mirrors by taking into consideration the literary ecology (i.e. the audience, reception, authorial intentions) and/or political-cultural context in which the text was produced, 2) contextualize the text within a broader plane of Islamic dream lore in order to answer “Why might Veysî have created such a dream setting?” and/or “In what ways did this dream apparatus enable him in expressing his views?”, 3) through benefiting from the debates on the dream-vision genre of medieval European literature, to scrutinize the continuity within the tradition of composing dream-framed accounts in the Ottoman literature, and hereby question the validity of a new literary genre.
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