Digitization in the service of poetry: Ruler poems through the magnifying glass of the Tustep program

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Dr. Christiane Czygan / University of Hamburg, Germany
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Although Divan poetry was rooted in Persian lyrical tradition, in the 16th century Ottomans began to elaborate their own Turkish-Ottoman style. During Sultan Süleyman the Lawgiver`s reign which lasted over forty years (1520-1566), the production of art was greatly stimulated and with Sultan Süleyman`s generous support, splendid works were created. Court poetry was strongly favoured and the poet Baki (1526-1600) was able to excel, taking Ottoman poetry to new heights. However, like his father and forefathers, Sultan Süleyman the Lawgiver created thousands of Ghazels himself under the pseudonym Muhibbi. After his father Selim I he is perceived to have been the most gifted ruler-poet.

Digitization of the huge number of poems is a necessary step to extrapolate intra-divan correlations as well as inter-divan references. In this paper I would like to shed light on features of stanza recognition within one divan and between two sister manuscripts. Furthermore, I would like to indicate how digital quieries help to reveal features of ambiguity inherent in the Divan. This ambiguity can be traced to references to mystical God experience, physical love, or devotion to the ruler, which was in this specific case devotion to God himself.