Saturday, June 19, 2021

Book cover: "Everyday Life in Ottoman Turkey"

  • Title: Everyday Life in Ottoman Turkey
  • Author: Raphaela Lewis (1920-2004) 
  • About the cover: The dust jacket states: "The illustration on the jacket shows a hunting scene from the sixteenth century Hunername (The Book of Exploits) and is reproduced by kind permission of the Topkapi Sarayi Museum, Istanbul."
  • Publisher: Dorset Press
  • Other books in the "Everyday Life" series: Per the back cover, other titles cover Ancient Egypt, the Aztecs, Babylonia and Assyria, Barbarians, Byzantium, Early Imperial China, the Etruscans, Imperial Japan, the Incas, the Maya, Medieval Times, Medieval Travellers, the North American Indians, Roman and Anglo-Saxon Times, and the Viking Age.
  • Year: 1971
  • Pages: 206
  • Format: Hardcover 
  • Price: None printed on dust jacket
  • Provenance: There's a circular embossed stamp on the title page stating "Library of R. Lowell Wine." Wine, who graduated from Virginia Tech in 1955, was (is?) also an author, with books about statistics and engineering to their credit.
  • From the dust jacket: Although the Ottoman Empire lasted for over six hundred years, from 1281 to 1924, the deliberate and unhurried pace of life of most of its subjects was protected against radical change by social institutions of remarkable stability. With access to little-used Turkish sources, and with the aid of numerous illustrations, the author, Raphaela Lewis, has succeeded in skilfully recreating that way of life.
  • First sentence: In the sixth century, from their homeland somewhere west of the Great Wall of China, the Turks rode out to begin the conquests that were to give their descendants mastery of one of the greatest empires the world has ever seen.
  • Sentence from the middle #1: As there was no control or supervision of the teaching it was not surprising that the standard of these Koran schools was undistinguished.
  • Sentence from the middle #2: There were also countless coffee-houses and taverns of evil reputation.
  • Rating on Goodreads: 3.73 stars (out of 5)
  • Goodreads review excerpt: In 2020, Lupa wrote: "As it can be seen that there was a lot of collaboration from Turkish institutions in the preparation of the book, almost no controversy was raised which would have been an important counterpoint for a more accurate view of the Ottoman regime."
  • Rating on Amazon: 4.9 stars (out of 5)
  • Amazon review excerpt #1: In 2020, an anonymous reviewer wrote: "Lewis' book is like one of Brugel's paintings of large crowd scenes where each person is painted as an individual portrait, and every square inch teems with detail. In between the broad descriptive brush strokes, she interweaves telling and charming details."
  • Amazon review #2: In 2014, Giulia wrote: "One of the best accounts of life in the Ottoman heartland, Constantinople, I have ever read. Full of interesting detail. I found it really valuable for a Sherlock Holmes novel I'm writing concerning the theft of the Sword of Osman."
  • More about author Raphaela Lewis: I found a version of eulogy that was delivered for Lewis (who was known by the nickname Raff), by son-in-law Mark Freedland, on the website of St. Antony's College at the University of Oxford. Here's an excerpt: 
"She was a Cockney, born on 5 November 1920 within the sound of Bow Bells. ... For over thirty years after the war she taught French to the young diplomats on the University’s Foreign Service Programme (and exceeded her duty by taking on their pastoral care), except for 18 months which the family spent in Istanbul and during which she collected material for her Everyday Life in Ottoman Turkey. ... She was a brilliant lecturer, her favourite topics being Turkish sociology and Turkish cuisine. Last September she lectured at Uppsala University on Turkish superstitions. After speaking for 50 minutes she invited questions, but the audience in the Royal Library protested indignantly and did not let her stop until she had spoken for an hour and a half."

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