The Story of Joseph: A 14th Century Morality Play by Sheyyad Hamza

The Story of Joseph: A 14th Century Morality Play by Sheyyad Hamza

by Bill Hickman (Translator)


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At the heart of this volume is the translation of a fourteenth-century Turkish version of the Joseph story, better known to Western readers from the version in Genesis, first book of the Hebrew Bible. Hickman provides us with a new lens: we see the drama of the Old Testament prophet Joseph, son of Jacob, through Muslim eyes. The poem's author, Sheyyad Hamza, lived in Anatolia during the early days of the Ottoman Empire. Hamza's composition is rooted in the recondite and little-studied tradition of oral performance-a unique corner of Turkish verbal arts, situated between minstrelsy and the "divan" tradition-combining the roles of preacher and storyteller. A cultural document as well as a literary text that reflects the prevailing values of the time, Hamza's play reveals a picture of Ottoman sensibility, both aesthetic and religious, at the level of popular culture in premodern Turkey. To supplement and contextualize the story, Hickman includes an introduction, a historical-literary afterword, and notes to the translation, all ably assisting an unfamiliar reader's entry into this world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780815633570
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
Publication date: 03/15/2014
Pages: 148
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Bill Hickman is former associate professor of Turkish language and literature at the University of California, Berkeley, now retired.

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