Description of the visual art objects in Evliyâ Çelebi‘s book of travels: an ekphrastic approach

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Bilkent University
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As a part of the ancient Greek and Roman rhetorical practices, ekphrasis basically means the verbalisation of a visual object, and it has become a literary tool in time. Since the description of Achilles‘ shield in Homer‘s İlliad, ekphrasis has been a frequently used literary practice which writers, historians, art critics apply. Ekphrasis can be applied as the description of visual art objects through the fictional forms such as poetry and novel as well as it occurs in the prose concerning history, art criticism and travelogues; it is studied in order to analyse writer's handling with the description of the object. Ekphrasis studies enable to capture the writer's relationship between objectivity and subjectivity, the elements of his/her expressed subjectivity, through literary tools. This study will examine Evliyâ Çelebi's "ekphrastic" approach in describing mosques, churches and monasteries, paintings and sculptures in Seyahatnâme (The Book of Travels), especially focusing on how the subjective factors determining the writer‘s aesthetic appreciation occur in his literary practice. What kind of a fictive language does ekphrasis, which is essentially the act of making the silent image talk, show in Evliyâ Çelebi's representation? What are the characters of the new images created by this language, which is independent from the original objects, in other sense the images which Evliyâ created on his own way? How does the reflection of personal taste and cultural positioning affect aesthetic view of Evliyâ Çelebi‘s "ekphrastic" narrative? This questioning aims to observe how the aesthetic view of Seyahatnâme's author takes shape and to be a model of an approach to put forth the new literary qualities of Seyahatnâme's in the light of ekphrasis study. The problem of "ekphrasis" enables Seyahatnâme which has been already a study topic for various social sciences, to be evaluated in the discipline of fiction more widely. As the issue concerns basically the relationship between visuality and writing, it would bring a new interdisciplinary approach to Seyahatnâme studies.

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Evliyâ Çelebi, Seyahatnâme (The Book of Travels), Ekphrasis, Aesthetic view, Visuality and literature
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