There has been a growing interest in Ottoman-era Arabic literature, and while negative value judgments of the period cease to play a serious role (at least explicitly) in modern scholarship, a major issue facing this overlooked subject remains the lack of focused studies of particular litterateurs and their works. Broad overviews of post-classical Arabic literature tend to provide useful guides to particular genres or modes of writing, serving as fruitful starting points for further research and reading. These resources, however, often conflate several political, geographical, and temporal signifiers, inadvertently producing research asymmetries in the field. Moreover, despite their privileging of breadth over concentration, these essential preliminary scholarly efforts generally taper off when their chronologies reach the Ottoman period. What we are left with is a confused pause, pregnant with an excitement for the unexplored.In response to this pause, and in the midst of a global pandemic, a small group of scholars met at a virtual workshop in October 2020 to present papers on the topic of Ottoman Arabic literature. Hosted by Harvard University and co-organized by Ghayde Ghraowi and Hacı Osman Gündüz (the guest editors of this special issue), this workshop attempted to sidestep the straw-man arguments against the so-called ‘decline’ (inḥiṭāṭ) paradigm in favor of focused studies on key figures and texts from the Ottoman period. By insisting on more granular objects of study, these contributions maintained the “critical engagement” aims of this issue’s title, itself a nod to the “deep revision” post-classical Arabic literary history has been undergoing for some time now. This special issue collects focused studies on a variety of Ottoman Arabic literary texts.( - from the Introduction)
Ghayde Ghraowi and Hacı Osman Gündüz (Ozzy): The Ascendant Field: Critical Engagements with Ottoman Arabic Literature.
Theodore S. Beers: Paths Crossing in Damascus: Familiarity with Persian among Eleventh/Seventeenth-Century Arabic Literati.
Ghayde Ghraowi: Losing the Plot in Seventeenth-Century Istanbul: Satire and Sociability in the Maqāma Rūmiyya.
Hacı Osman Gündüz (Ozzy): Between Lamenting Vicissitudes of Life and Celebrating Ottoman Authority in the Sixteenth Century: Māmayya al-Rūmī’s (d. 985–7/1577–9) Times and Poetry.
Basil Salem: Poetry as History: An Examination of the Role of Poetry in al-Murādī’s Biographical Dictionary of the Twelfth/Eighteenth Century.
Hilary Kilpatrick: Still on the Way Up: The Ascendant Field of Ottoman Arabic Literature.
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Redaktion: hsk.redaktion [at] geschichte.hu-berlin.de. ISSN: 2196-5307