College of Arts and Sciences


English Literature major and Communication and Media minor, University Honors Program (Intellectual Traditions Track)

Faculty Mentor

Allison Meyer

Faculty Editor

Allison Meyer

Student Editor

Olivia Merrick


The main genre in the Ottoman literary tradition was lyric poetry, and the gazel was the most popular form (Andrews et al. 8). The gazel, like other traditions of lyric poetry, is a brief form of poetry (usually five to seven lines) that usually focuses on the speaker’s personal emotions that are directed towards a beloved (Andrews et al., 8). By comparing two gazels written by the poets Nejâtî and Bâkî, this paper examines the poetic parallel (nazîre) as a literary form that is crucial to understanding the intertextual meaning embedded in the Ottoman literary tradition. This paper demonstrates how the transmitted tropes that characterize the Ottoman literary tradition as reactionary are best understood by analyzing the poems as connected pieces rather than separate entities. The poets who participated in this tradition utilized or alluded to the motifs and images present in the works of other writers to highlight the complexity of the lover’s experience in a new way through the nazîre. This phenomenon established a unique characteristic in the Ottoman literary tradition: the simultaneous presence of admiration and competition. In his poem, Nejâtî often uses spinning or circular language in order to exemplify the confusion that the speaker experiences. Similarly, Bâkî parallels Nejâtî’s early poem in a nazîre that uses tangible, circular imagery, such as a Ferris wheel, in order to display the lover’s inner conflict in a new way. Both Nejâtî and Bâkî present dichotomous sensations that compliment each other in their poems in order to display a complex conception of love in each poem where passion and pain can be simultaneously experienced.