Silent Teachers: Turkish Books and Oriental Learning in Early Modern Europe, 1544–1669

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Date / time: 26 April, 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm

The Warburg Institute

This event is generously supported by the School of English and Drama, Queen Mary University of London.

Panel: Nil Ö. Palabıyık (QMUL), Philip Alexander (Manchester), Simon Mills (Newcastle), Warren Boutcher (QMUL).

In a roundtable event with leading scholars, Dr Nil Ö. Palabıyık will discuss her book Silent Teachers: Turkish Books and Oriental Learning in Early Modern Europe, 1544–1669 (Opens in new window) (Routledge, 2023). This book considers for the first time the influence of Ottoman scholarly practices and reference tools on oriental learning in early modern Europe. Telling the story of oriental studies through the annotations, study notes, and correspondence of European scholars, it demonstrates the central but often overlooked role that Turkish-language manuscripts played in the achievements of early orientalists. Dispersing the myths and misunderstandings found in previous scholarship, this book offers a fresh history of Turkish studies in Europe and new insights into how Renaissance intellectuals studied Arabic and Persian through contemporaneous Turkish sources.

Nil Ö. Palabıyık, Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Queen Mary, University of London, conducts research at the crossroads of intellectual history, manuscript culture, and history of the book. As a postdoctoral fellow funded by the British Academy and the Humboldt Foundation, she worked at the Rylands Library and Institute, Manchester, and the Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität, Munich. Her love of archives took her to the finest libraries in Europe, and led to visiting fellowships at the Scaliger Institute, Leiden, and Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel. She published on humanist scholarship, early modern orientalism, and Greek printing in Europe and the Ottoman Empire.

Attendance is free online or in-person with advance booking:

Organised in collaboration with the Society for Renaissance Studies.

Image: Melchior Lorck’s Prospect of Constantinople, Leiden University Library, shelfmark BPL 1758.