Images of sexuality in the 16th century Ottoman society:
Gürgan, Burcu (2005) Images of sexuality in the 16th century Ottoman society:. [Thesis]
This thesis presents an alternative analysis of a 16th century work of erotic prose. Dâfi 'ii'I-gumûm ve Râfi 'ii 'I-humûm. It was penned by Mehmed Gazâlî, better known by his nickname Deli Birader. He was bom in 1466 in Bursa and died in 1534/1535 in Mecca. He was a scholar and a poet. He became courtier of Piyâle Bey, and then was admitted to the close circle of Prince Korkud in Manisa palace. He stayed there in a brief period before accession of Selim I to the throne in 1513. He dedicated Dâfi 'ii l-gumwn to Piyâle. After death of his benefactor Korkud, he worked in medreses in various Anatolian cities. He abandoned his career as a scholar soon, and settled in Be?sikta?s, Istanbul. The contemporary Ottoman biographers tell that because of the rumours concerning his involvement in "immoral affairs", and the execution of his patron İskender ?Celebi. Gazâlî needed to take resignation in Mecca for the rest of his life. The following study aims to (1) re-asses the current biographical information about Mehmed Gazali (2) re-instate the broader cultural context within which he produced his humour and (3) construe the representative-discursive world he built in his Dafi 'û 'l Gumûm. It proposes that the notion meclis and its various social-cultural associations provide a proper context to examine the convivial environment that inspires the literary imagery, and the human networks through which such a work is produced, transmitted and consumed. In the broadest sense of the term, there was, in early modern times, a widely practiced general "party" or "gathering" based on "witty conversation" (sohbel) as a core and containing many other elements including alcohol, food, music, dancers, plays and recitations. Such gatherings displayed an intersection of "patronage", "entertainment" and "literary- artistic production". They seem to be as important and popular among the court-dependent elites in Europe and Middle East as it was in the Ottoman Empire. The convivial mecalis corresponding to Brother Madcap's subsequent life stages (in Korkud's court, among his friends and with his elite patrons in Istanbul, and in Mecca) is taken as a particular historical case, In this respect, the thesis may facilitate a preliminary research agenda to study the network of social and historical relations that develop within the circle of the Ottoman cultural production. It is assumed that Dafi'ü'l Gumûm was constructed as a humour to enjoy primarily in the meclis context. Two basic questions are directed to the text: (1) How did Gazâlî create a humorous world? (2) Why could the reader find the text "funny"? The claim is that his thematic bag and literary strategies touch on and exploit certain tangible social dynamics and hierarchies (slavery, patronage, patriarchy, class differences e.g.). He avers human interactions that may prevail in real contexts (meclis, medrese, bathhouse etc.) and creates phobias and fears rooted in collective anxieties. To sum up, GazâIî's world of representations is not a discrete phenomenon detached from sociological reality, but if exaggerates that reality and makes a parody of it.
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