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The object of study in this book is the Uppsala manuscript, O. nova 546, of Muhammed Heva'i Üskufi Bosnevi’s literary work Maḳbul-i 'arif from 1631. The manuscript, handwritten in Ottoman script, came from Cairo to the University Library in Uppsala in 1924. Maḳbul-i 'arif is frequently referred to as the first known Bosnian-Turkish dictionary, but this label is misleading. First, the work consists of three parts – a long and sophisticated foreword and an afterword in addition to the dictionary part. Second, the part of the work that is the cause of this label is not a ‘dictionary’ in the modern sense of the word: it is versified, dialogue-oriented, and split into chapters according to topic. The versified glossary is the only part where we find Bosnian words (approximately 650).
The main motivation behind this book is the fact that Maḳbul-i 'arif has received little attention from a turcological perspective. Despite the fact that Maḳbul-i 'arif is a Turkish, or Ottoman Turkish literary work of art, the vast majority of researchers examine it from a Bosnian cultural and/or linguistic perspective. It is time Maḳbul-i 'arif receives attention from a turcological point of view, too.
The contributions of this book are ordered as follows: a grapheme-by-grapheme transliteration of the entire Uppsala manuscript is followed by a transcription of the manuscript and an English translation of the entire Maḳbul-i 'arif. So far, none of these enterprises had been undertaken. The English translation may serve as a starting point to make Maḳbul-i 'arif available to a wider audience.
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Silje Susanne Alvestad is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages at the University of Oslo.