Ekphrasis or rendering a visual object in writing, a form of ancient Greek and Roman rhetoric, has been recognized as a literary device since the description of Achilles’s shield in Homer’s Iliad. This article will examine Evliyâ Çelebi’s ekphrastic rendering of certain works of sculpture in Seyahatnâme (The Book of Travels) and demonstrate the working of culture, creed, and aesthetic taste in the ekphrastic narrativity of foreign works of art. As ekphrasis is affect par excellence, the argument of this paper rests on the possibility of normative and cultural control of affect, contrary to the concept of affect that exclusively refers to the neurosciences of subliminal response and emotion or to the idea that affect is simply the sum total of corporeal responses to physical stimuli. As I try to demonstrate through a close reading of Çelebi’s ekphrastic passages on sculpture in his Seyahatnâme, ekphrastic writing can rest on both aspects of affect: its subliminal as well as intentional states.

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