"This is a path-breaking book. Its value lies not in ‘completeness’ but in showing the way toward more complete and nuanced studies of early modern women’s poetry in the Ottoman Empire.”"—Walter G. Andrews, research professor, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, University of Washington
"As Havlioglu shows in this timely study, Mihrî Hatun was a talented and prolific poet, a woman in a male-dominated occupation who nevertheless managed to find her own unique voice through humor, satire, and gender-bending. A fascinating account not only for Ottomanists but also for anyone interested in the history of women, gender, and sexuality."—Irvin Schick, coeditor of Calligraphy and Architecture in the Muslim World
"By revisiting Mihrî’s voice and vividly presenting her and her world on the page, Havlioglu’s book proves an extremely welcome and productively provocative addition to our understanding of women’s literature and literary strategies in the early modern period."—Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature
"Havlioglu’s timely study provokes significant questions about gender and sexuality for future studies in early modern Ottoman literary and cultural studies...What appears most striking in Havlioglu’s study is that this fascinating figure was not an exception by any means, although the male literary historiography has made her appear so."—Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal
The early modern Ottoman poet Mihrî Hatun (1460–1515) succeeded in drawing an admiring audience and considerable renown during a time when few women were accepted into the male-dominated intellectual circles. Her poetry collection is among the earliest bodies of women’s writing in the Middle East and Islamicate literature, providing an exceptional vantage point on intellectual history. With this volume, Havlioglu not only gives readers access to this rare text but also investigates the factors that allowed Mihri to survive and thrive despite her clear departure from the cultural norms of the time. Placing the poet in the context of her era and environment, Havlioglu finds that the poet’s dramatic, masterful performance and subversiveness are the very reasons for her endurance and acclaim in intellectual history. Mihri Hatun performed in a way that embraced her marginal position as a woman and leveraged it to her advantage. Havlioglu’s astute and nuanced portrait gives readers a fascinating glimpse into the life of a woman poet in a highly gendered society and suggests that women have been part of intellectual history long before the modern period.
Didem Havlioglu is a lecturing fellow in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University. She has published numerous articles in such journals as the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, the Journal of Turkish Studies, and the Turkish Historical Review.
5.5 x 8.25, 256 pages, 5 color illustrations