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Circles of correspondence : Ottoman letter-writing in the early seventeenth century.

Woodhead, Christine (2007) 'Circles of correspondence : Ottoman letter-writing in the early seventeenth century.', Journal of Turkish literature., 4 . pp. 53-68.


Ottoman libraries contain a large number of 17th- and 18th-century letter collections, either as the work of one author or as compilations from different writers. Their contents range from official documents through professional correspondence to friendly communication. Many include both genuine and form letters, and the majority were intended as exemplary texts in the inşa1 style of elite literary prose. Most of this material is overlooked by modern scholars despite its potential contribution to the study of literary taste, friendship and patronage relationships, and of the concerns of educated individuals within Ottoman society. This article assesses a group of leading letter-writers from ca.1600-30, a period of rapid and significant social and political change in the Ottoman Empire. Focusing on the münşeat2 of Azmizade (d.1631), it suggests how letters can provide evidence for the networks of social communication and professional patronage existing among members of the Ottoman ulema3, and with some members of the ümera.

Item Type:Article
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Date deposited:11 February 2015
Date of first online publication:2007
Date first made open access:No date available

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