• This working paper presents a 16th- or 17th-century Ottoman translation-cum-commentary of the preface and introduction of one of the classics of Islamicate rhetoric, al-Qazwīnī’s Talkhīṣ al-Miftāḥ (The Key’s Digest), a 14th-century work on rhetoric based on al-Sakkākī’s 13th-century seminal Miftāḥ al-ʿUlūm (The Key of Sciences). This particular work is translated not because of its exceptional quality, but—quite on the contrary—because of its emblematic nature, as it provides us with a glimpse of the kind of texts on rhetoric that madrasa students throughout the Ummah engaged with, and—perhaps even more importantly—with a glimpse of the way in which they did so: through interlinear translations and/or commentaries.
    Al-Qazwīnī as the author and Gürānī as the translator-cum-commentator walk the student through some highly condensed definitions of “eloquence” and “rhetoric”, each of which is defined first and foremost negatively and hardly ever positively (negatively as the absence of tanāfur al-ḥurūf, gharāba, mukhālafat al-qiyās al-lughawī, al-karāha fī l-samʿ, ḍaʿf al-taʾlīf, tanāfur al-kalimāt, taʿqīd, kathrat al-takrār, and tatābuʿ al-iḍāfāt; positively as muṭābaqa li muqtaḍā l-ḥāl). The text concludes with a rather confusing discussion of the branches of rhetoric and their nomenclature.