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Kindred VoicesA Literary History of Medieval Anatolia$
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Michael Pifer

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780300250398

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300250398.001.0001

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Languages of Affinity

Languages of Affinity

(p.74) Chapter Three Languages of Affinity
Kindred Voices

Michael Pifer

Yale University Press

There is a widespread assumption that Rumi’s son, Sultan Valad, faced an unbearable agony at the thought of succeeding his father. Whereas Rumi is seen as generative and productive, Sultan Valad’s poetry is viewed as less vital and reductive. In many ways, this assumption extends to the earliest literary works composed in Anatolian Turkish, since Sultan Valad helped to inaugurate Turkish as a literary language. He composed the Rabab-nama (Book of the Rebec) in Arabic, Persian, Greek, and Turkish, encoding these languages in the enticing meter of his father’s masterwork. Although the concept of imitation was multifaceted in pre-modern Anatolia, this chapter shows that Sultan Valad did not conceive of literary emulation as a reductive, anxiety riddled act. Instead, by ‘following’ in the style of his father, Sultan Valad constructed a new literary genealogy for his interpretive community—a genealogy that encompassed not only works of Persian poetry, but also Greek and Turkish, now seen as fit to make meaning Islamically.

Keywords:   Sultan Valad, Emulation, Imitation, Adaptation, Genealogy, Greek, Perso-Greek, Turkish, Islamization, Christianity

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