The Age of Beloveds:

Love and the Beloved in Early Modern Ottoman and European Culture and Society

Coming in February, 2005 from Duke University Press

a New Book by Walter G. Andrews and Mehmet Kalpaklı

 

The Age of Beloveds is an innovative, sweeping study  that ignores traditional boundaries between East and West and promises as much excitement to readers interested in early modern Europe as it does to Ottomanists and Middle East specialists.  Literary, cultural, and social phenomena familiar to students of English and European culture are reconsidered in the light of lively new translations and discussions of fascinating primary texts and documents from the Ottoman Empire.   An insightful and candid look at the beloved boys and women of Ottoman elite culture during the "Turkish Renaissance" of the long sixteenth century [ca. 1453-1622] evolves into an intriguing glimpse at cross-cultural parallels in the sexuality, sociology, and spirituality of love  in a "greater" Europe extending from Istanbul to London.

          By relating the production of literature and culture to global phenomena such as forms of political organization, demographics, and economics, the authors develop an argument that similar conditions produce similar responses even across seemingly impenetrable cultural divides.  They contend that, in an age dominated by immensely powerful absolute rulers and troubled by war, cultural change, and apocalyptic speculation,   the attachments of dependent courtiers and the longings of anxious commoners aroused an intense and peculiar interest in love and the beloved. 

          There is no book like this in either Ottoman or European studies.  It will undoubtedly be a controversial book but will also be a book suitable not only for specialists but for general readers and  readers interested in literature, women's issues, issues of gender and sexuality, entertainment culture, and culture production.