The Turkish Café As a Place of Conspiracy and Entertainment in the novel “Janissaries” (1849)  Cover Image
  • Price 4.90 €

Турското кафене като място на заговори и забавления в романа „Еничерeте“ (1849)
The Turkish Café As a Place of Conspiracy and Entertainment in the novel “Janissaries” (1849)

Author(s): Nadezhda Aleksandrova
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Софийски университет »Св. Климент Охридски«

Summary/Abstract: The text presents the history of the Turkish coffee house and the history of the Janissaries in the Ottoman Empire through the lenses one novel – “The Janissairies”. From the middle of the 19th c. until the present day the ac- counts about the Bulgarian literature contained the name of the translator of this foreign novel – ivAn Bogorov but there was a lack of clarity who was the original author. The present text’s main finding is the answer to this long-lasting uncertainty. The French intellectual and writer Alfonse Royer is the original author of the novel “Les Janissaires” that served as a source for the Bulgarian translation. The French text was first published in 1842 in Brussels, and then in 1844 in Paris in two volumes. I undertook a comparative analysis of the reception of this novel in the Ottoman context of the 1840s–1870s, that showed a huge proliferation of translations of “Les Janissaires” to several languages of the millers – Greek, Karamanli, Armenian and Bulgarian and in several cities – Smyrna, Athens, Istanbul. This wide reception proves that Ivan Bogorov’s translation project from 1849-1850 was not a separate and occasional whim but a desire to present to the Bulgarian audience a very widespread and influential popular novel about the last days of the Janissaries. The multiple receptions among the audiences of different communities within the Ottoman cultural context display the common trends in appropriating plots, characters and motives from the Western popular literature to that of the local literary scene. Moreover, it is the abundant “Western” imagination of the Orient that reaches the chores of the “East” in a succulent exhibition of the topoi of the oriental exotism – the harem, the bath, the bazaar, the serail, and last but not least the Turkish coffee house. After pointing out the main traditions in serving and drinking coffee among the Ottomans, the text points out the functions of the coffee house with an emphasis on the Janissary coffee houses. The lenses zoom in to a concrete scene from the novel “The Janissaries” where coffee is served and a conspiracy plot for the murder of the sultan Selim III is initiated. Then in a more general description of the Janissary coffee house the text describes its religious, communal and economic functions. Among the latter it mentions the coffee house as a topos of entertainment, of love and affection. Because after all the “The Janissaries” as a popular novel is more about love than about factual historical events.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 14
  • Page Range: 236-258
  • Page Count: 23
  • Language: Bulgarian