The architecture of bibliophilia : eighteenth-century Ottoman libraries
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
MetadataShow full item record
Libraries were a new building type of Ottoman architecture by the beginning of the eighteenth century. However, they quickly gained a considerable place among the endowments of Ottoman elites and remained one of the most carefully approached architectural questions throughout the century. More than twenty purpose-designed libraries were built in Istanbul until the early nineteenth century. This dissertation investigates the social and cultural conditions that paved the way for this library movement, the dynamics that affected the variety of architectural formulas developed for these buildings, and the receptions of the trend in the elite circles. The Ottomans designed some of the libraries with allusions to the image of mosques and to that of the pilgrimage shrine, and thus created symbols of the highly venerable status they gave to the effort of learning, especially to religious studies. In several library buildings, they made identifiable quotations from other monuments. This variety in library architecture is interpreted here as a reflection of the rise of knowledge of architectural past as a subject of gentlemen's curiosity, akin to interests in history, geography and literature. The latter genres had remarkably large places in library collections compared to the public collections of earlier centuries that lacked their own buildings. The broad demand for the accessibility of books in a wide range of fields certainly formed a pillar of the library movement, but the rivalry emerged between the dignitaries to donate rich libraries as urban landmarks demonstrates the power of this investment as a social asset and a political gesture in the eighteenth century. These were predominantly manuscript libraries; manual reproduction of books and accessibility of rare items were quite important in this library regime.
Thesis: Ph. D. in Architecture: History and Theory of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, September 2016.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis. "September 2016."Includes bibliographical references (pages 268-300).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology