Though it would be ideal to do a reflection in this section on the topic of Literature, Art and Culture in Istanbul with subjects including all periods and variety chronologically and thematically, it is evident that doing so is very difficult and perhaps even impossible. Let us zero in on the claim that this is an impossible task. Primarily, in order to write such a comprehensive and holistic work, what is needed is a literature study discussing in detail various aspects as well as an introduction for every subject. Bibliographies of Istanbul that we have in hand right now do not indicate the existence of such literature. The subjects discussed in some current holistic studies may only be limited to a certain time period depending on the viewpoint of the author or an important portion of the study may have been ignored. Furthermore, the absence of experts in respective subjects may pose an important obstacle for the research or because there is only one expert available on the subject, other problems may arise, such as time lag or that the expert may not have anything new to say on the topic.
In the preparation phase of this section, it was hoped that this section would be rich in various viewpoints as well as including authors with new approaches and innovative notions about the subjects that would be discussed. This aspiration has been fulfilled, within the bound of possibilities, due to various reasons. Hence, we have preferred to present the information in the current literature on subjects that people feel have until now been insufficiently covered.
The following can be said of the scope and method of the articles forming this section. The authors were given the suggestion that Byzantine, Ottoman and Republic Istanbul should be in the center of the subjects that they will discuss and that this relationship could be established as follows: 1) The works of art or the people who created them may have been inspired by Istanbul; 2) The works of art may have been produced in Istanbul; 3) The subject of these works of art may be the city of Istanbul; 4) The works of art that may have been commonly read/used in Istanbul at a certain period of time; 5) Works of art which may have affected the culture of Istanbul; and 6) Being from the city of Istanbul may have been, in some ways, influential in the life of the producers/performers. Moreover, it was suggested 1) to present the current information as an introduction to the subject by focusing on the latest approaches and assessments instead of discussing the whole information especially if there is an abundance of information about the subject in question; 2) to give priority to examples that were preliminary and made a breakthrough rather than giving all the examples in a case where there is an abundance of examples representing the subject in hand. In addition, as will be clear when the articles are read, it is necessary to state that the authors have tried to stress the intertwining, continuity and variety rather than disengagement between the Byzantine-Ottoman period and the Republic period.
Articles are ordered in the most chronological way possible under four main topics which are “Culture of Music”, “Literature”, “Visual Arts”. Istanbul’s music and music culture were discussed in a total of 12 articles under the main topic of “Music and Its Culture”; 6 of them are main articles and 6 of them are outlines. There are 20 articles, 16 main articles and 4 outlines, in “Istanbul’s Languages” (3 articles), “Literature in Istanbul” (7 main articles, 2 outlines), “Folkloric Literature of Istanbul” (3 main articles) and “Istanbul in Other Languages” (3 main articles, 2 outlines) as subheadings under the main topic of “Literature”. Through 16 main articles and 5 outlines, calligraphy, marbling, miniature, painting, photography, sculpture, cinema and museums were focused on under the title of “Visual Arts” and the adventures of dramatic performances in festivals, karagöz, light comedy and theatre in Istanbul were explored and explained under the subheading of “Performance Arts”. It would be appropriate to state that these articles are a valuable step for the Literature, Art and Education in Istanbul studies and a stepping stone for further future studies.