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[Book Review]: "The Last of an Age: The Making and Unmaking of a Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Poet"
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CitationBozovic, M. (2021). [Book Review]: "The Last of an Age: The Making and Unmaking of a Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Poet. By Sooyong Kim. Oxford, UK and New York: Routledge, 2018. xiv + 155 pp. Hardcover $155, ISBN 9780367879075". Comparative Literature Studies, 58(2), 22-25.
It is never easy to write a book. Even less so if you want to incorporate into one book diverse topics that range from language movements to poetic canon formation and reception of a poet among different social groups. Nevertheless, Sooyong Kim did so with his book in which he, curiously, [End Page e-22] focuses on relatively neglected sixteenth-century poet Zati. Following contemporary and some later poets' biographies called tezkire, Kim reconstructs Zati's life from the rocky way to success to equally rocky way back to disregard by court patrons. That this is not yet another compilation of biographical fragments from historical sources supported by analyses of couplets that should illustrate poet's contribution to the Ottoman poetry is seen in the introductory chapter of the book. Kim uses Zati's life and poetical output to answer a much more valuable question of the making and unmaking of the Ottoman canon. By introducing a novel approach of examining the interplay of court and patron influences, rivalry between the poets, poets' mentorship lineages, poets' linguistic preferences, and poets' education levels, the author leads us to disregard the previous observations that the palace was the only judge of the elite's taste, and distinguishes the burgeoning medrese-educated bureaucratic echelon of sultan Süleyman's period as the preeminent force in the selection of the "Ottoman way."...