Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu, "Nur Baba: A Sufi Novel of Late Ottoman Istanbul" (Routledge, 2023)
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This conversation is with Brett Wilson, who has composed the first English translation of the classic and controversial novel from late Ottoman Turkey Nur Baba--a classic of modern Turkish literature written by Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu--offers a unique window into Sufi lodges, social dilemmas, and intellectual life in early twentieth-century Istanbul. Wilson’s tranlsation is both lyrical and captivating, and will make for an excellent resource for courses on Sufism and Islam more broadly Inspired by Karaosmanoğlu's personal experiences with Islamic mystical orders, it is a story of illicit romance and spiritual inquiry, depicting a colourful lodge of Sufi dervishes led by a charismatic, yet morally suspect, spiritual master named Nur Baba. The plot follows his attempts to seduce an attractive married woman from an elite family and recounts her dramatic experiences in the life of a Sufi community. The setting shuttles between the grand mansions of Istanbul's elite families and a Sufi lodge where rich and poor intermingle. Exploring questions of gender, morality, and religious bias throughout, it captures the zeitgeist of early twentieth-century modernist thinkers who criticised Sufism for impeding social progress and debated the public roles of women in a rapidly modernising society. Alongside the editor's meticulous translation, Nur Baba: A Sufi Novel of Late Ottoman Istanbul (Routledge, 2023) includes a scholarly introduction, maps, and images, as well as explanatory footnotes that will aid both students and scholars alike. The novel will be of particular interest to those studying world literature, Sufi studies, and Ottoman-Turkish history. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His second book is called Perilous Intimacies: Debating Hindu-Muslim Friendship after Empire (Columbia University Press, 2023). His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies
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