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The 18th century is still the least popular among Ottoman historians. Recently, with the influential counter-narrative of Ottoman decline and the coining of a new term—the 'Second Ottoman Empire'—by Baki Tezcan, our understanding of periodization in Ottoman history has changed. It is now recognized that there was no golden age followed by centuries of decline.
The Festschrift, usually a gathering of articles composed to honour a scholar on his or her retirement, or to mark a significant anniversary, originated around the beginning of the 20th century, and has become an acknowledged feature of the academic landscape, albeit one rather irregular in its occurrence. Continental Festschriften have sometimes run to several volumes.
As Professor Gunn observes in his foreword, this book has been a long time coming: first mooted in fact in 1985 (a very suitable date). This has had two significant consequences which I shall discuss sequentially.