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Invitation to World Literature



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The Hagia Sophia, portrayed in a lithograph from 1852. First built as a Byzantine orthodox basilica in sixth-century Constantinople, it was converted into a mosque after the conquering of the city by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in 1453. A madrassa, a Koranic school, was added in the 1740s, and the courtyard of the school is featured in this lithograph. The Hagia Sophia is now a museum with no formal public worship by Christians or Muslims allowed.
Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division
David Damrosch talks about this image
This miniature from the collections of the Museum of Turkish Islamic Art in Istanbul shows "Elders of Israel in Audience with an Official." The relation between the Ottoman Empire and other peoples, regions, and religions varied greatly over the centuries and was far from monolithic opposition. The Ottoman rulers allowed considerable cultural and religious variety within their territories. Jews and Christians lived in Ottoman Constantinople, and communication with the West was frequent.
© 2010 JupiterImages Corporation
David Damrosch talks about this image
Suleiman I in a portrait attributed to Titian. Suleiman 1494-1566 led the Empire to its greatest victories, also inspiring a period of great artistic achievement, and improvement of the Ottoman administrative structure.
An illustration from a 1576 edition of Shahnameh, The Book of Kings, the great Persian epic compiled and written by Firdausi.
© syagci / istockphoto
Titian's painting Portrait of a Lady (also known as "La Schiavona, woman from Dalmatia") is representative of the sense of perspective and individuality of Italian portraiture. The European, or Frankish, style it shows is a source of fascination and resistance to the miniaturists in the novel.
© JupiterImages Corporation
This painting represents an episode drawn from the poet Nizami's "Haft Paykar," one of the sections of his work Panj Ganj (The Five Jewels). This miniature depicts the Persian emperor Bahram Gur hunting on horseback. In My Name Is Red, the manner in which a horse is drawn in a miniature―the ability to identify an artist from the distinct way in which he draws―is a lens to both questions about the meaning and purpose of art, and the identity of a murderer.
Library of Congress
This is a nineteenth century photograph of the interior of the Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, built in the early seventeenth century. It faces the Hagia Sophia, and is one of the great architectural achievements of the world, synthesizing engineering and design elements from Byzantine and Islamic structures, among others.
Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division
Modern-day Istanbul, a city of twelve million, and the cultural and historical locus of Turkey.
© JupiterImages Corporation
Writer Orhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.