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This page is a result of the research-project

Early Modern Ottoman Culture of Learning: Popular Learning between Poetic Ambitions and Pragmatic Concerns

The project, which was realized between 2011 and 2015, was financed by the Austrian Science Foundation FWF. It was carried out – including this digital edition – in large parts by Gisela Procházka-Eisl and Hülya Çelik, Oriental Institute, University of Vienna. There are some contributions by Adnan Kadrić, Orientalni Institut, University of Sarajevo.

The intention of this project is to explore certain aspects of the Early Modern Ottoman culture of learning, in particular those areas of learning used and cultivated outside the official Ottoman institutions of learning, the medreses.

Our sources for this investigation were the encyclopaedia Netaic ül-fünun of the 16th century scholar and poet Nevi and a number of six multi textual manuscripts (mecmūʿas) preserved in the Austrian national Library and the Austrian State Archives, both in Vienna.

The project had two main aims, one basically related to cultural history, the other to pragmatic philological issues:

  1. As for cultural history we intended to explore the early modern culture of what can be called the “general” or “popular learning” of educated Ottomans with regard to its own historical context and cultural concepts. The Netaic and the mecmūʿas were investigated with regard to their sources, and the backgrounds of their authors and compilers, and of their readers and users. The question of the “popularization” of learning will be raised in particular with regard to the way in which the authors of these works made use of their sources, how the learning was presented, and how the works were used. Special attention is payed to the role of poetry in the Ottoman culture of learning and the way it was applied in the Netaic and the mecmūʿas.
  2. The philological objectives of the project include the compilation of a full critical edition and translation of the Netaic as well as an edition and translation of selected parts of the
    The results were published in 2015 in two volumes:
    Gisela Procházka-Eisl, Hülya Çelik: Texts on Popular Learning in Early Modern Ottoman Times. Part I: Hidden Treasures: Selected Texts from Ottoman Mecmūʿas (Miscellanies).
    Sources of Oriental Languages and Literatures 119. Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University, 2015.

    Gisela Procházka-Eisl, Hülya Çelik: Texts on Popular Learning in Early Modern Ottoman Times. Part II: “The Yield of the Disciplines and the Merits of the Texts”. Nevʿī Efendi’s Encyclopaedia Netāyic el-Fünūn. In collaboration with A. Kadrić.
    Sources of Oriental Languages and Literatures 120. Harvard University, 2015.
  3. We also created this open access digital edition which contains the complete edition of all the six miscellanies and the Netā'icü l-Fünūn. A word-by-word search of the complete material is possible at that website: there are annotated entries for personal names, place names, astronomical and astrological terms, text genres, folio numbers, and – because of the numerous medical/magical texts – for illnesses, plants, and the non-botanical substances used in remedies and recipes.

Furthermore, this digital edition functions as an index for the printed Volumes I and II, and – so we hope – additionally provides a solid tool for further scholarship not only in Ottoman cultural and literary history, but also in linguistics.

As this edition is a work still in progress, users who come across any new or alternative readings, or have any suggestions or comments, are kindly asked to contact Gisela Procházka-Eisl and Hülya Çelik at .