Evliâ's voive the sultan's shadow: fiction in Evliâ Çelebi's Seyahatnâme
Bitik, Başak Öztürk
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Despite some views regarding the existence of “untruthful” and “fabricated” historical data in Evliyâ Çelebi’s Seyahatnâme, this study puts forward that fictitious tales in the Seyahatnâme are constructed deliberately with the use of certain techniques and methods. By using close reading, Evliyâ Çelebi’s stories on Ottoman sultans are reviewed with their historical background. Research carried on several references, including Peçevî’s History which is frequently cited in the Seyahatnâme, revealed that Evliyâ constructed certain historical events as the way he “wanted” them to happen. Throughout Evliyâ’s work, an “ideal” Ottoman sultan image is depicted regarding several issues; from relations between the Palace and the Bektaşî, Mevlevî, Gülşenî, Melamî leaders and other religious orders whom Evliyâ regard as miraculous, to the propriety of building a sultan mosque. Examples have been found in the Seyahatnâme, where contradicting acts and behaviours of the sultan’s with this image are “corrected” or criticized by fictitious stories. Although there is coherence and consistency in the sultans’s tales throughout the ten volumes of the Seyahatnâme, it has been identified that certain changes and additions were made to some stories depending on the context. Evliyâ Çelebi, like a shadow play puppeteer, with his choices such as adding details and highlighting when or who gets attention in his text, turns a one dimensional Karagöz stage into a multi-dimensional literary masterpiece that is the Seyahatnâme.
KeywordsEvliyâ Çelebi's Seyahatnâme