The paper will dwell on the development of the layout concept that Ibrahim Müteferrika adopted and followed in the Ottoman-Turkish books he printed between 1729 and 1742. The transition from scribal to print culture in 15th-century Europe saw the incorporation of the typical manuscript illumination into the printed books. However, one may observe in Müteferrika’s case a curious deviation from this rule. Since his printing enterprise took place only in the early 18th century when the European print layout were already too distinct from the scribal tradition Müteferrika started printing his books without illumination. However, after having seen that his costumers prefer to have the prints illuminated by hand with an ornamention (unvan or serlevha) on their first pages, Müteferrika himself decided to put in his latest prints a printed ornamention. These ad hoc layout changes are a good illustration of the specific way of the Ottoman transition from scribal to print culture.
Orlin Sabev is a Professor of History at the Institute for Balkan Studies and Centre of Thrachology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He is author of the several books, including İbrahim Müteferrika ya da Şlk Osmanı Matbaa Serüveni (1726-1746), Istanbul, 2006; Spiritus Roberti: Shaping New Minds and Robert College in Late Ottoman Society (1863-1923), Istanbul, 2014; Waiting for Müteferrika: Glimpses of Ottoman Print Culture, Boston, 2018. Besides, he has published articles on topics related to Ottoman cultural and social history (Ottoman education and librarianship, prostitution, Islamic mysticism, Turkish minority in Bulgaria) and Ottoman diplomatic and palaeography.