Beauty and Love
Translated from the Ottoman Turkish with an introduction and key by Victoria Rowe Holbrook, Ph.D. 1985
The girl Beauty and the boy Love are betrothed to each other as children. But Beauty violates the custom of the tribe by falling in love with him, and Love must undergo the trials of a journey to the Land of the Heart to prove himself worthy—a journey to realization of both his and Beauty’s true nature.
The Turkish verse romance Beauty and Love, written in 1783 by Şeyh Galip, head of an Istanbul center of Rumi’s order of the Whirling Dervishes, is an innovative interpretation of the Islamic love tale as a story of the action of God’s qualities in the world. With its stunning imagery, fast-moving plot, and nonchalant, erudite humor, it is widely known as the greatest work of Ottoman literature.
In her introduction Victoria Rowe Holbrook discusses the heritage of Ibn Arabi and Rumi in Ottoman thought, the traditions of verse romance and allegory, Indian style imagery, and Galip’s political loyalties.