Crossing Interpretive Boundaries in Sixteenth-Century Istanbul: Aḥmed Sūdī on the Dīvān of Ḥāfiẓ of Shiraz

In: Philological Encounters
Murat Umut Inan Social Sciences University of Ankara

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This article discusses an Ottoman commentary by Aḥmed Sūdī (d. ca. 1600) on the Dīvān (poetry collection) of Ḥāfiẓ of Shiraz (d. ca. 1390), a Persian literary masterpiece that enjoyed wide readership in the Ottoman world for centuries. In the first part of the article, I introduce Sūdī’s life and works and delineate the structure of his commentary, noting how that structure is underpinned by his philological approach to commentary writing. In the second part, I focus on Sūdī’s interpretation of the opening verse of the Dīvān and compare it with that of his predecessors to highlight and contextualize Sūdī’s commentarial approach. I conclude by illustrating how his grammatical-lexicographical analysis aimed to liberate the celebrated Dīvān from the dominant tradition of allegorical interpretation.

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