The Latifi Tezkere is a significant resource for Ottoman literary history, criticism and literature. Latifi’s Tezkere has two different recensions: the original version which appears in 1546 and a extensively revised and rewritten version represented by two manuscripts dated 1574 and 1575. Currently there is no edition of the 1546 version of the original tezkere and the development of style and content differences between the two versions has not been adequately studied. The only modern critical edition of the Tezkere, which combines the two recensions and nearly 30 years of development, is treated as if it were the original 1546 version by scholars and has taken its place as a primary source in the study of Ottoman literature. However, this is the source of significant misconceptions. As a result, research conducted based on this edition of the Latifi Tezkere, including articles and theses, has led to incorrect conclusions. The two different recensions, from two different eras are actually two key sources that represent changes in life style, entertainment, pleasures, aesthetics perception and human profiles of Ottomon social life within a 28 year period.. The goals of this project are to shed light on the development of prose style of the tezkere (poet biographies) genre by examining the history of the Latifi Tezkere and to provide researchers with a digital transcription of the 1546 recension that will serve as primary source for future work on 16th century Ottoman literature.
In the first phase of the project, the H.953/1546 dated Latifi Tezkere will be transcribed into a digital text that researchers can use as a reliable primary source. This transcription will be published digitally on-line in both the Arabic/Ottoman and Latin alphabets.
The second phase of the Latifi Project will be a computer-assisted stylistic analysis of the Ottoman prose tradition as exemplified by the two recensions of the Latifi tezkere. Although digital tools for stylistic analysis exist in several languages, especially English, no such tools have been developed for Turkish. This is a major shortcoming for Turkish and Ottoman literary studies. The Latifi Project will take a major step toward closing this gap.