Neither Shiraz nor Paris: Papers on Modern Turkish Literature 9781463225704

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Neither Shiraz nor Paris: Papers on Modern Turkish Literature
 9781463225704

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Neither Shiraz nor Paris

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Analecta Isisiana: Ottoman and Turkish Studies

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A co-publication with The Isis Press, Istanbul, the series consists of collections of thematic essays focused on specific themes of Ottoman and Turkish studies are brought together in Analecta Isisiana. These scholarly volumes address important issues throughout Turkish history, offering in a single volume the accumulated insights of a single author over a career of research on the subject.

Neither Shiraz nor Paris

Papers on Modern Turkish Literature

Laurent Mignon

The Isis Press, Istanbul

gOÎ^ÎaS pre** 2010

Gorgias Press LLC, 954 River Road, Piscataway, NJ, 08854, USA www.gorgiaspress.com Copyright © 2010 by The Isis Press, Istanbul Originally published in 2005 All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise without the prior written permission of The Isis Press, Istanbul. 2010

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ISBN 978-1-61719-116-9

Printed in the United States of America

Laurent Mignon was born in 1971 in Arlon, a town in southern Belgium. He grew up in the multilingual context of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. He studied Turkish language and literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and obtained his PHD degree in 2002 at the same institution for his thesis: Unveiling the Beloved: Continuity and Change in Modern Turkish Love Poetry (1923-1980). He joined Bilkent University in September 2002 and teaches nineteenth and twentieth century Turkish literature in the Department of Turkish Literature.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Some introductory considerations on literary landscapes beyond Shiraz and Paris 2. Lost voices: Religious minorities and the literary canon in Turkey 3. Writing against the West?: On authenticity and appropriation in post-Tanzimat Literature 4. Portrait of the traveller as a young man: Mustafa Sami Efendi and his Essay on Europe 5. History beyond prose and poetry: Ali Kemal and the Ottoman historiographical tradition 6. L'héritage symboliste belge en Turquie : Emile Verhaeren et Ahmet Ha§im 7. Yahya Kemal and Jean Moréas: From imitation to appropriation .. 8. Love in the poetry of the Five Syllabists 9. Avenging Aziyadé: On aspects of Nâzim Hikmet's love poetry

9 15 27 37 51 61 69 77 103

fok

"Rüya gibi bir akgami seyretmeye geldin benzedigin memleketin her tepesinde."

1. SOME INTRODUCTORY CONSIDERATIONS ON LITERARY LANDSCAPES BEYOND SHIRAZ AND PARIS

"You came to watch a dreamlike evening / On every hill of the land whom you resemble to." goes the opening couplet of Yahya Kemal (Beyatli) (1884-1958)'s famous poem "From a hill" (Bir tepeden). In the poem two lovers meet on a hill in Istanbul where they intend to watch the evening fall on the former Ottoman capital. The narrator addresses his beloved and highlights her resemblance to the landscape. He also remarks that her traits are the product of history. History and geography are fused in the persona of the beloved. In an earlier version of the poem the opening couplet was different as the second verse went "On every hill of the land reflecting your face" (STmam veren memleketin her tepesinde) 1 . Taking into consideration Yahya Kemal's continuous quest for the right word and the perfect equilibrium between form and content, the slight transformation of the verse is difficult to understand, since the change unsettles the parallelism between the synonyms sima (face, features) in verse 2 and gehre (face, appearance) in verse 7: "So that your face may mirror your history" (Tarihini aksettirebilsin diye gehren). The face reflected in the lands and mirroring history were aspects of the beloved that identified her as an incarnation of the nation. So why did Yahya Kemal change the verse? Nothing is fortuitous in the poetry of Yahya Kemal who never published any of his work in book form during his lifetime, because he was a perfectionist who considered that creation was a continuous process. However this little change was indicative of the debates that had shaped the Turkish literary world since the second half of the nineteenth century. In fact, the language of the second verse was simplified and turkified by the replacement of the learned Persian sima with the common Turkish verb benzemek. The simplification of the language — bridging the gap between the written language of the highly educated ruling elite and the spoken language of ordinary Turks — was a central concern for reformist Ottoman Turkish intellectuals such as Ibrahim §inasi (1826-1871) and Namik Kemal (18401888) up to ZiyS Gokalp (1876-1924), the ideologue of Turkish nationalism, lr This version of the poem was published in Insan Mecmuasi on 15 June 1938. See Serraet Sami Uysal, §iire Adanmi$ Bir Ya$am ; Yahya Kemal Beyatli, Istanbul: Yahya Kemal'i Sevenler Dernegi, 1998: 415.

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and his intellectual offspring. Could it be that Yahya Kemal, who was certainly not an advocate of linguistic purification, chose to submit himself, at least in one poem, to the fashion of the time? It is certain that questions regarding the orientation, perhaps we ought to say, if such a word existed, "occidentation", of Turkish literature were central concerns of his writings throughout the twenties and thirties, years where the concept of "national literature" was fervently debated. Not only the language of literature, but also the themes of literary works were focal points of these writings. In "Three Hills" (U5 Tepe), an article written after the decisive Inonii battle during the National Liberation War, Yahya Kemal argued that three phases in the modernising process of Turkish literature could be symbolised by three hills - famlica, Tepe has 1 and Metris. („'amlica. a popular sojourn place for the Ottoman ruling class, well documented in nineteenth century novels, was associated with Namik Kemal, Recaizade Mahmut Ekrem (1847-1914), Abdulhak Hamit (1852-1937), and Sami Pa§azade Sezai (18601936), a generation of writers, who, though they were in favour of political and literary reform, were committed to the survival of the Ottoman Empire. The following generation, that of the westernised writers assembled around the Servet-i Ftinun journal were connected to Tepebagi, a place of enlightenment for the central character of Halit Ziya (Ugakhgil) (1866-1945)'s influential novel Blue and Black (Mai ve Siyah, 1897). Finally Mount Metris, significantly a mount of strategic importance in the victory ismet Inonii and the Kemalist troops gained against the Greek, symbolised new —truly national— literature, which was turned towards the Anatolian mainland. 1 Maybe the hills in the above couplet, were not only the seven hills of Istanbul but also the three hills that stood for the evolution of modern Turkish literature. Debates on literature were not only about language and content, but also about form. On 15 January 1936, Yahya Kemal published an important essay entitled "Literature That Speaks of the Homeland" (Memleketten Bahseden Edebiyat) in the first issue of Ktiltur Haftasi (The Culture Week), a journal that was to become the meeting point of the conservative intelligentsia. He argued that national literature ought to be an expression of national identity. Turkish literature had gone through a necessary phase of imitation of European models, but time had now come for Turkish writers to turn their attention to national realities and to find their own forms of

*Yahya Kemal Beyath, "Ûç tepe", Egil Daglar, Istanbul: Milli Egitim Bakanligi, 1993: 316-322.

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expression. This was a move from the school of imitation to the homeland. 1 Similarly he had argued in an interview with Hikmet Feridun in the magazine Yedigiin (The Seven Days) that Turkish literature had gone through two phases of imitation: after being fascinated by Iranian literature throughout the Ottoman era, writers had turned their attention towards France.2 Though most of the major writers in the 1920's agreed that the sources of Turkish literature could not be the gardens of Shiraz or the parks of Paris, their definitions of "national literature" were hugely different: Yahya Kemal's Ottomanist conception of Turkish identity was not compatible with the more Anatolianist interpretation of poets such as Mehmet Emin (Yurdakul) (18691944) or the Islamist vision of Mehmet Akif (Ersoy) (1873-1936). Yahya Kemal's cultural vision was rooted in the Ottoman Istanbul that the Kemalist revolution intended to deeply transform. Since Yahya Kemal was neither a politically nor socially engaged poet, he did not suffer the fate of other intellectuals such as Mehmet Akif or Nazim Hikmet (Ran) (1902-1963) who advocated other cultural and social policies. Nonetheless, it is striking that during the years of what must be named a "cultural revolution" Yahya Kemal was appointed as an ambassador to minor embassies of the Turkish republic far away from the political powerhouse of the country — Warsaw in 1926, Madrid in 1929, Lisbon in 1931. Debates on the nature of "national literature", the search for national authenticity in literature were the product of the realisation during the nineteenth century that the Ottoman state had ceased to be a conquering power, but that economically, politically and geographically it was being conqucrcd by European imperialist powers. Solutions had to be found and in the second half of the nineteenth century Ottoman intellectuals argued that a new conception of literature had to be developed that would allow literature to be used as an active tool in the spreading of a reformist message. Hence the appropriation of genres such as the novel and drama was to some extent utilitarian since they were considered to be most suited for this aim. This does certainly not mean that aesthetic concerns were left out of their considerations. The major authors of the period wrote numerous essays and articles on the art of writing. Neither does it mean that the progressive westernisation of literature went unopposed. Indeed poets such as Hayret Efendi (1848-1913) and Ali Ruhi (1853-1890) continued to propound a more traditionalist view of literature and certainly deserve more than a simple notice in literary histories and anthologies.

*Yahya Kemal Beyatli, "Memleketten bahseden edebiyat", Edebiyàta Dair, Istanbul: Istanbul Fetih Cemiyeti, 1984: 139-144. ^Hikmet Feridun, 'Yahya Kemal ile konu§tum", in Beyatli, Edebiyàta Dair, 260.

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There is a need to reflect on post-Tanzimat Turkish literature in the context of the increasing hegemony of western European powers and the wish of Ottoman intellectuals to counter it. Discussing the evolution of Turkish literature as a history of westernisation that would evolve from poor copies of western novels and culminate in the last quarter of the twentieth century with the writing of novels that are attractive to western readers and thus have become potential candidates for the Nobel Prize in literature overlooks the reasons why Ottoman Turkish authors felt the need to transform literature and study western approaches. The encounter with Europe, literary and political, the troublesome concept of "national literature" and the official historiography of Turkish literature are probably three key terms that bind the eight essays of the present collection. The aim of these essays is to invite a critical reinvestigation of certain claims on modern Turkish literature and to suggest areas of debate. The first two essays are critical re-evaluations of some tenets of the official historiography of post-Tanzimat Turkish literature. "Lost voices: Religious minorities and the literary canon in Turkey" questions possible reasons for the exclusion of Turkish-writing non-Muslim authors from literary history and the canon. This paper was originally presented at the "Displacing Canons, Dislocating Cultures" conference at Bilkent University (Bilkent, Ankara) in February 2003. "Writing against the West? On authenticity and appropriation in post-Tanzimat" literature explores the possible use of the post-colonial concepts of "authenticity" and "appropriation" in Turkish literary studies and discusses the Turkish intellectual's conflicting relationship with the Ottoman literary tradition and European culture. It is a revised version of an essay published in the journal Hece's special issue on criticism in May 2003.' The third paper deals with Mustafa Sami Efendi's influential Essay on Europe (Avrupa Risâlesi, 1840), one of the major reformist texts of the early Tanzimat era. It is entitled "Portrait of the traveller as a young man: Mustafa Sami Efendi and his Essay on Europe" and was presented at the Images and Representations Atelier of the "Individual and Society in the Islamic Mediterranean World conference" (ESF Programme) at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London in June 1999. It is followed by three short pieces on Ali Kemal, Ahmet Ha§im and Yahya Kemal. The paper on Yahya Kemal — "Yahya Kemal and Jean Moréas: From imitation to appropriation" focuses on the "National Poet"s short-lived flirt with neoHellenism and the ideological closeness of his project to Jean Moréas' Roman School. A Turkish version of the paper was presented at the Yahya Kemal conference at Bilkent University in May 2003. "L'héritage symboliste

l"Sömürge Sonrasi Edebìyat ve Tanzimat Sonrasi Türk Edebiyati Üzerine Notlar",

Eleçtiri Òzel Sayisi, voi. 77-78-79 (May-June-July 2003): 570-577.

Hece:

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beige en Turquie : Emile Verhaeren et Ahmet Ha§im" shortly discusses the place of Belgian Symbolism in Turkey and the appropriation of Symbolism by Ahmet Ha§im. It was written for the "Francophonie en Turquie, dans les Pays Balkaniques et de 1'Europe Orientate" conference at Hacettepe University (Ankara) in May 2004. While these two essays are critical towards the official historiography of Turkish history, "History beyond prose and poetry: Ali Kemal and the Ottoman historiographical tradition" argues in favour of an inclusive approach that takes into consideration non-western traditions when writing histories of the humanities. The paper discusses Ali Kemal's views on historiography by focusing on his study of the Ottoman poet and chronicler Mehmet Ra§id. It was presented at the Continuity/Rupture: Perspectives on the Past, the Present and Change conference at Bilkent University in March 2004. The last two essays discuss the theme of love in the poetry of the nationalist Five Syllabists and Nazim Hikmet. They are based on two chapters of my PHD thesis The Beloved Unveiled: Continuity and Change in Modern Turkish Love Poetry (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, June 2002). In "On love in the poetry of the Five Syllabists" I explore the theme of love in their urban and village poetry and try to bring to the fore parallelisms between their approach and similar movements in emerging nations during the decolonising phase. In "Avenging Aziyade: On aspects of Nazim Hikmet's love poetry" I reinterpret Hikmet's approach to the theme of love in the light of his antiimperialism and his critical stance towards literary orientalism. While I was revising these two papers I realised once again how much I was indebted to Dr. Yorgos Dedes, my supervisor, and Dr Bengisu Rona for their guidance and constructive criticism throughout my work on the thesis. The research was made possible by a Research Student Fellowship awarded by the School of Oriental and African Studies and a British Academy Postgraduate Studentship (Fees Only Award) for which I will always be thankful. I would also like to use the opportunity to thank my wife Tiirkan for her moral support and her endless patience throughout these last years.

2. LOST VOICES: RELIGIOUS MINORITIES AND THE LITERARY CANON IN TURKEY

National literature and the literary canon are constructs created by certain people at a certain time for particular reasons. Oppositional voices as well as the texts of religious minorities have, to a large extent, been excluded from the literary canon of the Republic of Turkey. Mehmet Sadik Efendi (d.1874) is hardly ever mentioned in university lecture halls, even though he is the author of a fascinating Turkish adaptation of Cicero's Telemaque, The Imitation of Telemaque (TanzTr-i Telemak, 1870), a celebration of both manual and intellectual work, which was probably a first in Turkish literary history. Mehmet Sadik Efendi was opposed to the westernisation of the Ottoman state and an advocate of Islamistic policies who dreamt of an Islamic democracy, which might explain why none of his works has been transcribed into the modern Turkish script and published in book form during republican times. He was condemned to the footnotes of literary history. 1 Until recently the works of Nazim Hikmet Ran (1902-1963), the socialist poet who revolutionised Turkish poetry, were excluded from the literature textbooks of high schools. The official literary canon in Turkey, just like anywhere else, rarely accommodates the voices that challenge the structures that made it come into being. The issue of the exclusion of Turkish writing non-Muslim minorities from the canon of post-Tanzimat literature is, however, much more complex. Indeed in recent years non-Muslim authors and poets have won important Turkish literary prizes, hence the existence and talent of non-Muslim Turkish citizens writing in Turkish are acknowledged by the literary establishment. But when it comes to the period between 1839, the year of the promulgation of the westernising Imperial Edict of the Rose Chamber and 1923, the year of the foundation of the Turkish Republic, the literary writings of Jews, Armenians and Greeks in Turkish are mostly ignored for reasons that need to be looked at. The present paper consists of three parts: In the first part, I will shortly discuss the concept of post-Tanzimat literature. In the second, I will focus on the relevance of studying minority literatures in order to have a better, a more ^For excerpts and comments on this little known work, see Mehmet Kaplan, "Tanzir-i Telemak", Ttirk Edebiyati Uzerinde Ara^ttrmalar 1, Istanbul: Dergah, 1997: 276-286.

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inclusive understanding of the literary, social and political developments of the era. Finally, I will explore possible explanations for the disinterest in, or ignorancc of, the literature in Turkish produced by the non-Muslim communities of the Empire in Turkish literary circles. Notes on post-Tanzimat

literature

By post-Tanzimat literature, I mean the literature produced in between the years of the promulgation of the Tanzimat reforms (1839) and the end of the World War I (1918). These years mark different stages in Ottoman political history — the Tanzimat period, the era of Sultan Abdiilhamit II and the period of the Second Constitution — but since there is no one-to-one agreement between literary and political developments, it is more convenient to classify the literature of this challenging era under the general heading of post-Tanzimat literature. Continuous military defeats, an increasing economic dependency on western European powers and radical reforms to counter the decline led to a profound crisis for Ottoman intellectuals during the nineteenth century. The Young Ottoman intellectuals, in particular, reacted against the westernised bureaucracy that implemented the Tanzimat reforms and against the ideologues of change who adopted the vision that western modernity was superior to Ottoman tradition. The Young Ottomans were conscious that the modernisation and the salvation of the Empire could not be achieved by the adoption of western civilisation. They noticed some shortcomings of westernisation and tried to develop, without using this particular terminology, an indigenous form of modernity that aimed at, in Ibrahim §inasi's (18271871) words, "marrying the virginity of the ideas of Europe to the ancient wisdom of Asia."1 Leading Young Ottoman intellectuals assigned a dual function to literary creation, which ought to be a guide leading to modernisation and the product of a modern society. Politics and literature were closely linked in the works of the writers who believed that literature had a leading role to play in the modernisation of the Empire and the enlightenment of the people. However the Young Ottomans were in a complex situation: They hoped to bridge the gap between the ruling class and ordinary people by addressing the latter, who were still

l " A s y a ' m n akl-i pirSnesi ile Avrupa'nin bikr-i fikrini izdivaf ettirmek", quoted without reference in Mehmet Kaplan, Namik Kemal: Hayati ve Eserleri, Istanbul: Istanbul Universitesi Yayinlari, 1948: 47.

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largely illiterate in the second half of the nineteenth century. Moreover they were part of the ruling establishment that they were trying to transform. On the literary front, the Young Ottomans, among them many celebrated literati such as Namik Kemal (1840-1888), reacted against the divan tradition. The metaphorical nature of divan poetry, the belief that the metaphor was a bridge that led to the ultimate truth, was precisely what the modernising authors of the period entirely rejected. Classical Ottoman literature in general and divan poetry in particular were, according to the most radical among them, not suited to the new age of civilisation. The reformist poets and authors had little time for the elaborate craftsmanship required by the classical tradition. Literature had to be a means of education in order to guide the people, who had until now been ignored by the literary establishment. Nonetheless the foundation of new literature was also a end in itself and all the major writers of the era wrote numerous essays and articles on the aesthetics and aims of literature. Poetry, though intensely politicised, remained largely in the margins of their reformist endeavours. Their more daring and novel writings were reserved for new forms that they introduced into Ottoman literature, namely the novel, drama and also journalistic writings. They argued that prose was better suited than classical prosody to the dissemination of their ideas. The constitutionalist and democratising efforts of the Young Ottomans transformed Ottoman political and literary life. Sultan Abdiilhamit II (18761909) established a constitution in 1876. This was a short-lived experiment, which was followed by an era of increased censorship and political persecution. The literary elite had to re-evaluate the role of literature in a context that was not favourable to "engaged literature". The emphasis switched from the socio-political to the aesthetic field. A new generation of poets and writers emerged who preferred to stay away from political controversy, but nevertheless believed in the need to continue with the modernisation of Ottoman literature. Poets, in particular, were now not simply reacting against past conceptions of poetry anymore, but they were also trying to define and write new poetry. The first new literary movements appeared. The appropriation of French models by some poets and their search for pure art led to strong reactions either from Islamistic poets or much more effectively from the national literature movement that advocated the use of the forms and themes of folk literature, as well as the spoken language and still believed that literature could change, if not the world, at least the destiny of the Ottoman Empire. The latter were based mainly in Thessaloniki, at a convenient distance from the political centre of the Empire.

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The modernising phase of Turkish literature in the second half of the nineteenth and the first quarter of the twentieth century was characterised by problems not unlike those encountered in other developing countries in the wake of decolonisation: The rejection of "imperial" divan literature started with the Young Ottomans and left the next generation of poets with the arduous task of re-inventing national literature. Focusing on Central Asian and later Anatolian Turkish folk literature, some Ottoman Turkish intellectuals in the last years of the nineteenth and the first years of the twentieth century, chiefly the father of Turkish nationalism Ziya Gokalp (1876-1924), argued that the continuity of authentic Turkish literature had been interrupted by the development of divan literature which was the poetry of the ruling class and was foreign. In the Principles of Turkism (1920), Gokalp went as far as arguing that the Ottomans had been a separate class oppressing the "Turkish class": [T]he Ottoman chose the politics of imperialism, which was detrimental to Turkish culture and life. He became cosmopolitan and placed class interest above national interest. Truly, as the Ottoman empire expanded and took hundreds of nations under its political hegemony, the rulers and the ruled became two entirely different classes. The ruling cosmopolitans became the Ottoman class, and the ruled Turks the Turkish class. The two classes did not like each other. The Ottoman class regarded itself as the dominating nation and viewed the Turks, that it ruled, as a subject nation. 1

Hence, according to Gokalp all the products of Ottoman culture were foreign to the Turks and authentic national culture had to be rediscovered. 2 A major difference with post-colonial literature was that, in post-colonial societies, the continuity of the national literary tradition was interrupted by the arrival of foreign colonial powers and the imposition of a foreign language and culture, whereas in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, the disruption was mainly a discourse developed by indigenous intellectuals. Non-Muslim. Turkish literature In such an era of cultural and political challenges, the literature in Turkish written by non-Muslim religious minorities constitutes an interesting phenomenon that has largely been overlooked. The various religious groups that were recognized by the Ottoman authorities were given cultural

^Ziyä Gökalp, Türkgülügün Esaslari, Ed. Mehmet Kaplan, Istanbul: Millf Egitim Bakanligi Kitaplan, 1972: 38 ^Gökalp, Türkgülügün Esaslari, 140-150.

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autonomy. Hence, thanks to the so-called millet system, Greek, Armenian and, to a lesser extent, Judeo-Spanish literature, among others, could flourish under Ottoman rule. However members of those very minorities did also write in Turkish: The first widely available printed text in Turkish with Greek characters, was an anonymously published religious text The Rose Garden of the Christian Faith (Giilzar-i Iman-i Mesihi), printed in Istanbul in 1718.1 The first printed text in Turkish with Armenian characters was printed some years later in 1727 in Venice. It was a grammar book written by the founder of the Mekhitarian order Mkhitar Sepasdatsi (1676-1749) and had the rather self-explanatory Armenian title: Introduction to the Grammar of Modern Armenian: Written in the Turkish language for those Armenians who know only Turkish and would like to learn modern Armenian.2 The publication of Turkish texts in Hebrew characters was a much more recent phenomenon dating from the second half of the nineteenth century and was the product of the cultural transformations affecting urban Ottoman society. Indeed, some Jewish intellectuals, among others, under the impulse of the Alliance Israelite Universelle, argued that Jews should become active citizens of the Empire and thus abandon Judeo-Spanish in favour of Turkish. It should be stressed that they were a minority: In the late nineteenth century some 300.000 Jews were living in the Ottoman Empire, but only about 1000 knew Turkish. However 100.000 knew French, mainly because the modern Jewish schools taught French, while traditional schools continued to emphasize the importance of Hebrew. 3 What made the Jewish case different from the Christian cases was that there were members of the Jewish community who advocated that the native language should be abandoned in favour of Turkish. In the Armenian Turkish and the Greek Turkish (Karamanli) cases, we are dealing with Turkish speaking populations of Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox or Catholic creed, whose religious identity is expressed, among other, through the use of their respective alphabets.

^Sévérien Salaville and Eugène Dallegio, Karamanlidika : Bibliographie analytique d'ouvrages en langue turque imprimés en caractères grecs I (1584-1850), Athènes : Institut Français d'Athènes, 1958 : ix. However it should be noted that the very first printed Turkish text in Greek characters is included in Crusius' Turcograecia Libri Octo (Bale, 1584). It is one of the two accounts of the Christian faith written by the Patriarch Gennadios Scholarios on request of Sultan Mehmet II and thus dates from the second half of the 15th century. This untitled account was originally written in Greek and then translated into Turkish. The Patriarch writes that Turkish versions in Greek and Arabic characters were made (Karamanlidika, viii). Crusius' book includes both the transcription in Greek characters and a transcription in Latin characters, together with the original Greek text and a Latin translation (Karamanlidika, 1). 2 H.A. Stepanian, Hayadar Turkeren Krkeri Madenakidurtyurn 1727-1968, Erevan: Akademia Nauk Armianskoy SSR, 1985: 9. ^Stanford J. Shaw, The Jews of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic, London: Macmillan, 1991: 165.

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Jews, Greeks and Armenians, however, were affected in a similar way by the impact of the westernising reforms. Just like their Muslim counterparts, Christian and Jewish reformist intellectuals took over the roles of educators to guide their communities in troubled times when society was deeply divided between the traditionalists, usually the religious establishment, and the westernising secular elite, who supported political and social reforms. Jewish and Christian intellectuals too adopted new literary genres, such as the novel, drama and journalistic writings, that they deemed more suited to spread their enlightening messages. New literary genres were both symbols of modernity and enlightenment and tools to modernise and enlighten. Hovhannes Hisarian (1827-1916), focused on the role of the novel in a society undergoing transformation in the introduction of Khosrov and Makruhi (Istanbul 1851), the first novel in Western Armenian 1 . After stressing how hard it was to write a novel in a language that had no tradition of novel writing, he argued that the main role of literature was to educate the people. 2 Those words could have been readily adopted by Hovsep Vartanyan (18131879), the author, who preferred to remain anonymous, of The Story ofAkabi (Akabi Hikyayesi), the first novel in Turkish, published with Armenian characters in the same year as Hisarian's novel. Hence the Story ofAkabi is of fundamental importance for both Armenian and Turkish literary history. In the background of a tragic love-story between the Catholic Hagop and the Orthodox Akabi, it deals with the major themes of the era, namely westernisation and modernisation, the condition of women and the role of religion in society. It is surprising that an Armenian translation (by G. Kh. Stepanian) was only printed in 19533 and it is even incredible that it was not published in the modern Turkish script (with Andreas Tietze's transcription) before 1991. 4 It should also be noted that none of the major critical works dealing with the era do even mention the existence of this novel. Hovsep Vartanyan, an eminent Ottoman translator who obtained the title of Pa§a in 1862, is the author of another novel published in 1852 The Misadventures of Big Mouth (Bo§bogaz Bir Adam Lafazanlik lie Husule Gelen Fenaliklarin Muhtasar Risalesi). There is no published transcription available of this text in the modern Turkish alphabet. Neither is there of the novels by Hovhannes

1 The Wounds of Armenia (written in 1840) by Khatchatur Abovian (1809-1848) was the first novel written in Eastern Armenian. It was published posthumously in 1858 in Tbilisi. 2 James Etmekjian, The French Influence On The Western Armenian Renaissance, New York: Twayne Publishers, 1964: 241-42. •'Vartan Pa§a, Akabi Hikyayesi, Ed. Andreas Tietze, Istanbul: Eren, 1991: x. ^Vartan Pa§a, Akabi Hikyayesi, Ed. Andreas Tietze, Istanbul: Eren, 1991.

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Halikciyan (1833-1898) 1 , Hovsep Maru§2 and Vigcn Tilkiyan 3 , all published during the 1860's, that is, before the first Turkish novel in the Ottoman script was published: The Lovestory of Talat and Fitnat (Taa§§uk-u Tal'at ve Fitnat), written by the multitalented novelist, playwright and linguist §emsettin Sami (1850-1904) in 1872. Armenian researcher H.A. Stepanian has published an incomplete catalogue of Turkish language publications in Armenian script published between 1727 and 1968 and it lists not less than 1167 titles 4 , which shows that, even though most of these works are not literary, it is a phenomenon that cannot be ignored. There are people who have been working on Turkish literature in Armenian script in Turkey, namely Mehmet Fuat Kopruliizade, one of the fathers of Turkish turcology, who worked on Armeno-Turkish folk literature, Kevork Pamukgiyan 5 , whose articles on Armeno-Turkish literature were collected and published in December 2002 by Aras publications, Turgut Kut 6 , more recently Mehmet Kutalmi§7 and Metin And, who has emphasised the role of Armenians in the birth of modern Turkish theatre. Professor And does not only stress the importance of Armenian actors and directors but also the need to explore the pioneering role of Armeno-Turkish playwrights and the need to take into consideration their texts when writing the history of Turkish theatre. This obviously is also true when it comes to writing and analysing post-Tanzimat Turkish literary history, but it is not being done. There are signs of hope though, since in recent times research students in Turkish universities have been working on Armeno-Turkish literature: Selin Tungboyaci defended an MA thesis entitled 19th century Ottoman modernisation in respect to the novels : Akabi Hikayesi, Bo§bogaz Bir Adem and Tema§a-i Dtinya (Akabi Hikayesi, Bo§bogaz Bir Adem ve Tema§a-i Dunya Romanian Cergevesinde 19. Yiizyil Osmanh Modernle§mesi) at 1 The Story of the Terrible Deaths ofKarnig, Guliinya and Dikran (Karnik Guliinya ve Dikran'in Deh§etli Vefatlan Hikayesi, Asitane 1863). See Stepanian, Hayadar Turkeren Krkeri Madenakidurtyurn 1727-1968,70. 2 A Miserable Wife (Bir Sefil Zevce, Istanbul 1868). See Stepanian, Hayadar Turkeren Krkeri Madenakidurtyurn 1727-1968,78. ^Giilunya or the Girl Whx> Saw Everyone Without Being Seen (Guliinya Yahut Kendi Goriinmeyerek Herkesi Goren Riz, Istanbul 1868) See Stepanian, Hayadar Turkeren Krkeri Madenakidurtyurn 1727-1968,77. ^H.A. Stepanian, Hayadar Turkmen Krkeri Madenakidurtyurn 1727-1968, Erevan- Akademia Nauk Armianskoy SSR, 1985. ^Kevork Pamuk9iyan, Ermeni Kaynaklarindan Tarihe Katkilar 2: Ermeni Harfli Tiirkce Metinler, Istanbul: Aras, 2002. 6 A . Turgut Kut,"Ermeni Harfli Turkge Telif ve Terciime Konulari: I-Victor Hugo'nun Magdurin Hikayesinin Kisalmig Nushasi", Behind Milletler Arast Turkoloji Kongresi: Tebligler II Turk Edebiyati Cilt 1, Istanbul: Edebiyat Fakiiltesi, 1985: 195-214. 7 M e h m e t Kutalmi§, "Arap ve Ermeni Harfli Tiirkfe HudavendigSr Gazetesi", Ermeni Ara§hrmalari Enstitusii Dergisi, 12-13, May 2004: 121-134.

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Bosphorus University in 2001. The same year Rahime Demir, focusing on grammatical aspects of Armeno-Turkish made a successful defense of her thesis Finite Forms in 19th Century Turkish Texts in Armenian Characters (19uncu Yiizyil Ermeni Harfli Turkic Metinlerde fekimli §ekiller) at Fatih University. Mainstream Turkish reviews and journals have also published a few articles dealing with the issue. 1 Even though I focused on the Armeno-Turkish case, the situation is similar for Karamanh and Jewish Turkish literature. The first Greco-Turkish novel was published in four volumes between 1870 and 1871 by Evangelinos Misailidis. Entitled Strolling through the World: The tormentor and the victim (Tema§a-i Diinya ve Cefakar ii Cefakes), this Bildungsroman narrates the incredible adventures of Favini, a lawyer, who travels around the world, changes religions, is put into prisons and psychiatric institutions, even preaches in brothels and grows wiser thanks to all his experiences. It was only published in the modern Turkish script in 1986 by Robert Anhegger and Vedat Giinyol. 2 However, it should be noted that the Karamanh text was not an original work, but a translation from a little known Greek novel published in Athens in 1839.3 Turkish literature in Hebrew characters, though it is a more marginal development, should nevertheless not be underestimated. Beside religious publications, there were several newspapers such as §arkiye and Zaman and magazines, either partly or completely in Turkish with Hebrew characters, published in the Empire in the years following the Tanzimat reforms until the establishment of the Republic. 4 Such newspapers also included poems and other literary texts. One may argue that since those Turkish texts were published in an alphabet other than the Ottoman alphabet used by the Muslim majority, they were not part of Turkish literature. This claim however is not defendable since the Ottoman alphabet is not used anymore and the adoption of the Latin script arguably symbolised the secularisation of the new Turkish Republic. These ^See for instance, Rober Kopta§, "Ermeni Harfleriyle Tiirkfe", Tarih ve Toplum, 230, February 2003, 12-17. Laurent Mignon, 'Tanzimat Donemi Romanina Bir Onsoz: Vartan Paga'mn Akabi Hikayesi", Hece: Roman Ozel Sayisi, 65-66-67, May-June-July 2002: 538-543. ^Evangelinos Misailidis, Seyreyle Dunyayi (Temaga-i Diinya ve Cefakar u Cefakeg), Ed. R. Anhegger and V. Giinyol, Istanbul: Cem Yayinevi, 1988. •'johann Strauss,"Who read what in the Ottoman Empire", Middle Eastern Literatures, 6, 1, 2003: 39. ^Nesim Benbanaste, Orneklerle Turk Musevi Basimnin Tarihgesi, Istanbul, 1988: 57-65. On the Jewish press in the Ottoman Empire, see also Gad Nassi (ed.), Jewish Journalism and Printing Houses in the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, Istanbul: lsis, 2001.

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are texts that were written by Ottoman citizens who used Turkish as their language of literary expression just like their Muslim colleagues. Disregarding them, for purely religious reasons deprives us of valuable sources of both sociological and literary information that could help us grasp a very complex reality. The argument regarding the alphabet is even less valid when we consider that a new development took place in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and several non-Muslim authors started to publish in the Ottoman script, which led to major debates in their own communities, isak Ferera Efendi (1883-1933), Avraham Naon (1878-1947), istepyan Gordikyan (1865-1944), Abraham Guloglu, Diyamandi Ke9eoglu (1888-?), Hristo, Hristaki and Garbis Fikri, among others, published their poems in the Ottoman script and some of them even militated in favour of its use in their respective communities. This attitude shows that among some parts of the non-Muslim intelligentsia the concept of a common Ottoman identity seemed to have been accepted, which is indeed a major development, that does not fit the current discourse that, towards the final years of the Empire, Christian minorities were the enemy within. Indeed the attitude of the above mentioned poets shows that the conditions were much more intricate. 1 It should be noted that M. Kayahan Ozgiil, a lonely voice, has included most of those poets in Arayi^lar Devri Turk §iiri Antolojisi, his anthology of poetry of the era published in 2000. 2 He argues in his foreword that nonMuslim poets must not be ignored since they wrote in Turkish and thus are part of Turkish literature.^ But this is not a widely shared opinion. Reasons for the disregard Indeed, the general disregard for non-Muslim literati in Turkish literary studies is rather difficult to understand since ethnic differentiation was never used as a selection criterion when establishing the canonical texts of national literature: §emsettin Sami, the novelist, playwright and linguist, was Albanian, Ziya Gokalp, one of the founding fathers of Turkish sociology and a nationalist writer, was Kurdish. Ahmet Ha§im (1884-1933), a major poet of lr r h e case of the publisher, translator and playwright Teodor Kasap (1835-1905) is an exception since his role as the publisher of the first Turkish language humour magazine and the importance of his adaptations of Moliere's plays are acknowledged in standard works on literary history in Turkey. ^Kayahan Ozgiil, Arayiglar Devri Turk §iiri Antolojisi, Ankara: Tiirkiye Diyanet Vakfi Yayinlan, 2000. ^Ibid., xiii.

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the first quarter of the twentieth century was born in Baghdad and his mothertongue was Arabic. All of them were Ottoman citizens and wrote in Turkish, hence they found their place in modern Turkish literature. Thus there is definitely a need to reflect on the absence of non-Muslim authors from literary history and from the canon. There is certainly a disinterest from both the literary establishment and the minorities concerned. There are two active minority publishing houses in Istanbul: The Jewish Gdzlem and the Armenian Aras, but neither of them got involved in the publication of nineteenth century and early twentieth century Turkish literary texts. Some may think that there is a form of discrimination against the non-Muslim minorities, but I do not believe this to be the case nowadays. Throughout the 1990's evolved a mainstream interest into minority studies, which is well documented by the great amount of books and articles on minority issues, though not always of very high standard, published in Turkey. They explore aspects of the life of non-Muslims and other minorities in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic, but usually ignore the issue of Turkish language literature in that particular context. Moreover, we should not forget that Mario Levi, a Jewish author, won the prestigious Yunus Nadi literary prize in 2000 for his 1999 novel Istanbul was a fairytale (Istanbul bir Masaldi). Roni Margulies, a Jewish poet, also won the Yunus Nadi prize for poetry in 2002. Contemporary non-Muslim literature in Turkish is recognized by the establishment. So how can we explain the disregard for nineteenth century literature? One could argue that the achievements of non-Muslim writers are not representative of the endeavours of the mainstream. Though this is not an approach to literary history and literary criticism that I share, it must be stressed that non-Muslim authors had mainly the same concerns and followed the same trends as their Muslim counterparts in the second half of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth century. Literarily speaking they are part of the mainstream. Some may say that the literary works in question were not of very high standards. But this argument is not valid since even a dilettante would notice that most works included in an anthology of 19 th century Turkish literature have not been chosen for purely aesthetic reasons. University lecturers, literary historians and anthologists alike agree that literary excellence cannot be a sufficient criterion when choosing texts to represent the challenging post-Tanzimat era, when writers sincerely believed that they had political responsibilities. In any case some minority authors were outstanding writers such as Hovsep Vartanyan, others rather dull, such as Garbis Fikri.

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Another argument is that Muslim intellectuals were not aware of the writings of their non-Muslim counterparts, that these were literary traditions that evolved and existed independently. Muslims would not be able to read Turkish texts written with the Armenian and Greek alphabets. This is a very questionable argument. In Observations (Miisahedat), a novel published in 1892, the novelist Ahmet Mithat Efendi (1844-1912) mentions the name of Vartan Pa§a (Hovsep Vartanyan), the author of The Story qfAkabi, and refers to him as one of the Armenian authors who wrote in Turkish} This clearly shows that Ahmet Mithat Efendi, probably the major and certainly the most prolific novelist of the period and a newspaper editor, knew of Turkish writing in Armenian characters. Moreover, since people like Hovsep Vartanyan or Ibrahim §inasi (1826-1871) were at some time or another highflying Ottoman bureaucrats, literature loving bureaucrats, it is difficult to believe that they did not talk of literature when they met at the office and thus did not become at least superficially aware of each other's writings. 2 It is true though that non-Muslim writers could have encountered difficulties getting published under their real name. In an article entitled Jews who are ashamed of their name (Isminden utanan Yahudiler), the Turkish writing Jewish poet Isak Ferera Efendi writes that he once took the manuscript of a poetry collection to a publisher in Istanbul who asked him to publish it under a Muslim name. The publisher argued that the book would attract more attention if written by a Muslim. The Jewish poet refused. He ended his article by saying that he was proud to be a Jew and even prouder to be an Ottoman Jew. This article was published on 27 February 1909 in the short-lived biweekly cultural magazine Mir'at, which was edited by Avram Naon and Isak Ferera. 3 It was completely in Turkish with Ottoman characters and aimed at spreading Turkish in the Jewish community. Since there are no proper methodological reasons for ignoring nonMuslim literature, we have to search for other explanations and probably ought to look at the way Turkish identity was conceived during and after the National Liberation War and at the role of literature, rather than of the literati, in the creation of Turkish national identity. Mustafa Kemal did not consider the Turkish nation as constituted by all the citizens living inside its frontiers. 4 The Christian and, to a lesser extent the Jewish populations, were '•Ahmet Mithat Efendi, MU^ahedat, Ed. Necat Birinci, Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu, 2000: 42. On exchanges between the various literatures see Johann Strauss, "Who read what in the Ottoman Empire", 53-55. 3 Isak Ferera Efendi. "Isminden utanan Yahudiler", Mir'at, 2, 14 §ubat 1324: 21-23. 4 Hugh Poulton, Top Hat, Grey Wolf And Crescent, London: Hurst and Company, 1997: 94. 2

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not seen as belonging to the nation. This resulted, among others, in mass population transfers between Turkey and Greece. The criterion for differentiating between the various people in Anatolia was not ethnic or linguistic but purely religious. The fact that Turkish identity was mainly based on a religious criterion has affected the conception of national literature and of the literary canon. Ziya Gokalp and Omer Seyfettin (1884-1920), ideologues of Turkish nationalism whose writings have nourished Mustafa Kemal's reflections on nationhood, are also major writers who have their place in literary anthologies; — Ziya Gokalp as a poet and Omer Seyfettin as a short-story writer. There is a close connection between literature and nation building. The Anatolian Turkish identity was conceived to a great extent, defined even, in the theoretical and the literary texts of those writers known as the Young Pens (Gene Kalemlcr), which was also the name of their influential journal published in 1911. This might explain why in the past non-Muslim literature was ignored by the literary establishment, it does not explain why this is still the case today even though there are some encouraging signs of change in universities such as Bilkent, Bogazifi and Fatih. I believe that the major reason for the general disinterest for non-Muslim literature is ignorance of its existence and, probably also, a fear to challenge the established historiography of Turkish literature. Moreover, it should be stressed that researchers who deal with nineteenth century Turkish literature still have great difficulty in reaching important sources such as newspapers and literary journals published during the era, personal writings of authors, manuscripts or simply literary works. Most libraries are unfortunately in a sad state. More than once have I come across nineteenth century books that were falling apart in my hands in libraries in Ankara and Istanbul because of dampness, dust and disinterest. Working on non-Muslim literature involves other problems as well. There is a need to know languages such as Russian, Greek, Armenian, Judeo-Spanish or Hebrew in order to explore sources that are usually disregarded by people who work on modern Turkish literature. This is obviously more than a single person can handle. Group work is required and academic and political boundaries have to be crossed, which is not easy in the rather rigid and stratified surrounding of most of Turkey's Turkish literature departments. Much could be gained through inter-departmental and international academic collaborations in order to revive the lost voices of Hovsep Vartanyan, Isak Ferera and Garbis Fikri. They too are part of the chorus of Turkish literature.

3. WRITING AGAINST THE WEST? ON AUTHENTICITY AND APPROPRIATION IN POST-TANZIMAT LITERATURE In the second half of the nineteenth century western literary forms such as the novel, the short-story and play writing were adopted by Ottoman Turkish writers. The impact of French literary movements such as Romanticism, the Parnasse and Realism was also felt in the field of Ottoman letters. Hence literary historians and critics alike, quite naturally, tend to compare Ottoman Turkish literature to its, supposedly, western models and argue that most Turkish literary works in the nineteenth century were poor copies or adaptations of their mainly French models. Ahmed Hamdi Tanpinar, for instance, claims, in Ondokuzuncu Asir Türk Edebiyati Tarihi, his seminal work on nineteenth century Turkish literature, that there is no Turkish writer "who was born with the imagination of a novelist before Halit Ziyä", the author of Forbidden Love (A§k-i Memnu, 1900). "All of them", he continues, "were people who fancied writing novels or stories."1 Güzin Dino, too, argues, in her study of the birth of the Turkish novel, that though one should not underestimate the efforts of the first novelists, their works are unsteady and naive.2 However it is worthwhile to question whether western European literature, was only a model, a standard to reach, for Turkish writers during the last century of the Ottoman Empire. Indeed the westernising reforms of the Tanzimat were undertaken in order to counter the threat caused by the growing political and economic hegemony of western European powers in Ottoman territories. Mustafa Sami Efendi (d. 1855), the Ottoman traveller and diplomat, argued in his remarkable Essay on Europe (1840), that the Ottoman Empire ought to get rid of its economic dependency on the West and could achieve this through spreading education and science: If science and perfection, which were invented by Muslims and hence are our true heritage, could be spread among the people in the Islamic lands just like in past times [...] all the industry and the organisations, which the Europeans founded using a lot of time and work, could be spread among our people in very little time. This situation would be advantageous in every respect because we would not need any goods or provisions produced in foreign lands anymore. The money usually spent for those imports would remain in our country. Hence our country and people would become prosperous.-' 1

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, Ondokuzuncu Asir Türk Edebiyati Tarihi, Istanbul: Qaglayan, 1997:

2

GüzinDino, Türk Romaninin Dogu§u, Istanbul: CemYayinevi, 1978: 10. •^Mustafa Sämi Efendi, Avrupa Risälesi, Istanbul, 1851: 36-7.

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Ottoman writers adopted new literary forms in the second half of the nineteenth century because they believed that the novel, theatre and journalistic writing were better adapted to the new role that they foresaw for literature. The classical Ottoman poet might have been in search of a reality that was beyond the boundaries of the sensible world, but the Ottoman writer during the Tanzimat period was dealing with the very realities of his day. Literature was a tool of education to enlighten the people. Though he did not disregard aesthetic issues altogether, his ultimate aim was to spread new ideas that would enable political reforms in the Empire, not to create the perfect work of art. The reforms were needed to salvage the Ottoman state from the expansionist policies of western powers. Hence it could be argued that literature was playing a major role in resisting western political, economic and even cultural hegemony, that Tanzimat authors were writing against the West and appropriating western literary forms to further their cause. Could it not be argued that the works of Ottoman authors in the second half of the nineteenth century shared some common features with post-colonial literature? Indeed some central concepts in post-colonial criticism such as authenticity and appropriation could also be used in a fruitful reflection on the modernization of Turkish literature. It is true though that the Ottoman Empire or the territories that constitute today's Turkey have never been colonised, but it had a conflictual relationship with the countries that were also major colonial powers. France and Britain established colonies and protectorates in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in North Africa and the Near East, on territories that were former Ottoman dominions. Moreover, as discussed by the Russo-German Marxist Alexander Helphand alias Parvus Efendi in his essays published in the progressive nationalist magazine Turk Yurdu (The Turkish Motherland) in the years 1912-14, the Ottoman Empire had become a semi-colony choking under the weight of its debts. 1 Though the Ottoman Turkish intellectual shared a common enemy with the intellectual of colonised countries in the form of western imperialism, one important element made him different. The thirdworld intellectual fought in the decolonising phase only against one other, the western European coloniser. The Ottoman Turkish intellectual was dealing with two others: his Ottoman cultural past and the West. Whereas the perception of Ottoman culture as the other was the product of an ideological ^ i s texts are in: Parvus Efendi, Tiirkiye'nin Can Daman Devlet-i Osmaniye'nin Borglan ve islahi, Istanbul, 1914. Parvus Efendi, Tiirkiye'nin Mali Tutsakhgi, Ed. Muammer Sencer, Istanbul: May, 1977. See also M. Ali Karaomerlioglu, "Helphand-Parvus and his Impact on Turkish Intellectual Life", Middle Eastern Studies, Volume 40, Number 6, November 2004: 145-165.

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discourse and was artificial, the awareness of the West as the other was a political, cultural and economic reality. The quest for authenticity took place during the debates on the otherness of Ottoman culture, whereas cultural appropriation was a crucial tool while coming to terms with the white peril — European expansionism. I am an other: The quest for authenticity The concept of authenticity in post-Tanzimat literature, the search for an authentic national self beyond the imperial past, is directly related to the rejection of the first other — Ottoman culture. Namik Kemal (1840-1888) and Ziya Gokalp (1876-1924)'s discourses represented the two stages of this development. Namik Kemal argued that the forms and genres of Ottoman literature were not suited to the new role of literature and had to be abandoned. In a striking passage of the introduction to his 1885 play Celaleddin Harzemtjah, he wrote that [...] our stories consist of forms and descriptions of totally unnatural and unrealistic topics, such as unearthing treasures with charms, diving into the sea and emerging from the writer's inkpot, being consumed with pain and splitting mountains with a mace. Since they are devoid of moral descriptions, the explanation of customs and the elucidations of emotions, they cannot be considered novels. They are old wives' tales. Poems such as Hiisn ii A§k (Beauty and Love) and Leyla and Mecnun must be considered, from the point of view of their themes and narrative technique, as treatises on mysticism. 1

Namik Kemal discarded traditional Ottoman narrative forms because they were unable to convey human realities, to the contrary of the European novel. The latter, in particular, the novels of Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas were "immortal works that were a source of pride for this century of civilisation." 2 There was a logic behind Namik KemaPs arguments. Though he was certainly not an advocate of a purely utilitarian vision of literature, he believed, like many of his contemporaries, that literature could play a central role in the spreading of political messages and the education of the readers. Hence there was a need for literary forms and a language that allowed the author to put forward his ideas and analyse human behaviour while captivating the reader with an entertaining story.

1 Namik Kemal, "Mukaddime-i Celai", Celaleddin Hareket, 1969: 12. 2 Ibid.

Harzemsah, Ed. Hiiseyin Ayan Istanbul-

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Traditional Ottoman literature, whether it be folk stories or classical poetry, were not suited for the new mission of the writer, bccausc of its lack of realism, but also the metaphoric nature of its language. But Ottoman literature was the product of a centuries-old evolution and was underpinned by a world-view, that was also, implicitly, but certainly not openly, questioned by Namik Kemal. Indeed if Ottoman literature was, as he implied in his theoretical writings, incompatible with the new age, what happened to the Ottoman-Islamic ideology that played a role in the production of these works? This was a question that Namik Kemal preferred to leave, at least in his writings, unasked. The rejection of Ottoman literature on the basis of its unsuitability for the nineteenth century led to a progressive estrangement from the classical tradition. Ziya Gokalp went a step further and argued that Ottoman classical literature and culture as a whole was not only incompatible with the needs of the new age, it was "unnational" and had to be completely rejected on the ground of its foreignness. This was a radical move and reminds indeed of postcolonial discourse. Ziya Gokalp postulated in The Principles of Turkism (1923) that the Ottomans constituted a separate class that ruled over and exploited the Turks: [T]he Ottoman chose the politics of imperialism, which was detrimental to Turkish culture and life. He became cosmopolitan and placed class interest above national interest. Truly, as the Ottoman Empire expanded and took hundreds of nations under its political hegemony, the rulers and the ruled became two entirely different classes. The ruling cosmopolitans became the Ottoman class, and the ruled Turks the Turkish class. The two classes did not like each other. The Ottoman class regarded itself as the dominating nation and viewed the Turks, that it ruled, as a subject nation. 1

Since the Ottoman ruling class was cosmopolitan, Ottoman culture was foreign and had to be abandoned. The origins of Ottoman art music were Byzantine and Ottoman music was archaic, ill and foreign. 2 Ottoman literature too, but especially poetry, because of the aruz metrical prosody, borrowed from the Iranians, was alien. 3 Indeed the language of literature was "as artificial as Esperanto". 4 Throughout his essay Ziya Gokalp listed foreignness and artificiality side by side with backwardness in order to condemn ruthlessly ^Ziyä Gökalp, Türkgülügün Esaslari, Ed. Mehmet Kaplan, Istanbul: Milli Egitim Bakanhgi, 1972: 38. Gökalp, Türkgülügün Esaslari, 145-147. ^Gökalp, Türkgülügün Esaslari, 141. ^Gökalp, Türkgülügün Esaslari, 114.

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the Ottoman tradition. He advocated a return to folk culture, where true Turkishness had been preserved: Folk music, folk literature and the spoken language, at least the tongue spoken by the ladies of Istanbul were to be the founding stones of a new culture and literature that was to be truly national. Obviously the belief that one could return to an original, authentic Turkishness unaffected by centuries of imperial rule was a delusion. Moreover, Gokalp's distinction between Ottomans and Turks and in particular his claims regarding the uncrossable rift between Ottoman and Turkish culture was to a large extent, an ideological construct, since both classical and folk culture had a strong Islamic component at their core, but Gokalp's arguments nevertheless became the mainstream discourse on Ottoman culture in the twentieth century. The search for national authenticity prior to foreign occupation also incorporates interrogations regarding the representation of the people of the colonised country in literary works. In an article entitled "Forging the Conscience of their Race: Nationalist Writers" 1 , makes the following opening remarks that could serve as starting point to reflect on the nature of Turkish literature after Gokalp: The literature produced as part of a cultural nationalist project is a literature produced in opposition to the narratives and representations which deny dignity and autonomy to those who have been colonised. But this opposition is addressed not just to the colonising power, nor even primarily to it, but to the people of the emerging nation, and seeks to engage them in their own project of self-definition. 2

A major difference between Ottoman and colonial literature is that the indigenous people — in the Ottoman Turkish case ordinary Turks — are not painted in a negative light, they are, to a large extent, absent from literary works. During the last two decades of the Ottoman state and throughout the early years of the Republic, Turkish writers would produce literary works that focused on ordinary Anatolian peasants and they would stress that Turkish Anatolia, its people and culture ought to be the main focal point of literature. The cosmopolitan Istanbul intellectual's ignorance of Anatolia and its people became a major issue. Yakup Kadri Karaomanoglu, the left-wing Kemalist writer explored this issue in some of his major novels such as The Stranger (Yaban, 1932) and his Utopian work Ankara (1934). The estrangement and bewilderment felt in Anatolia, which was supposedly the homeland, was more ^C.L. Innes. "Forging the Conscience of their Race: Nationalist Writers", New National Post Colonial Literatures, Haz. Bruce King, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996: 120-139. 2 Innes, "Forging the Conscience of their Race: Nationalist Writers", 121.

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than a literary fiction. Several nationalist writers experienced it during their journeys through Anatolia before and during the liberation war. It became a complex issue for the nationalist Istanbul intellectual, and some writers, mainly the nationalist syllabist poets would respond to this feeling of alienation towards the inhabitants of the homeland by producing essentially, but not exclusively, idealised portraits of Anatolians and Anatolian life in their poetry. The addressee of nationalist verses was, at least, theoretically the ordinary Anatolian Turk. From the second half of the nineteenth century onwards Ottoman Turkish literature had been discussing the need to bridge the gap between the literary and the spoken language, precisely because they believed in the need to address ordinary people through literature. They defended a more populist interpretation of literature in opposition to the elitist stance of classical Ottoman literature. This approach reached its paroxysm with nationalist literary groups such as the Young Pens (Geng Kalemler) and the Five Syllabists (Bes Hececiler), who, applying Ziya Gokalp's precepts, tried to both depict the neglected Anatolian peasant and to address him. I am an EasternerThe

appropriation of western literary genres

Beside folk literature, Ziya Gokalp foresaw a second "museum of art", namely Western Literature, that would lead to the renewal of national literature.2 But the turning towards Western Literature had started long before, at a time when Young Ottoman Turkish authors took over the role of educators of the people in order to revitalise the Ottoman system and state, that was threatened by European expansionist policies. Literature was one tool in this struggle and one could argue that Ottoman writers appropriated, that is subverted and adapted the genres of Western literature such as the novel, the short-story and the play during their struggle. Their endeavour was different from Gokalp's because Gokalp aimed at, nationalising and then westernising literature 3 , while they tried to ottomanise western literary forms. This difference is normal, since Gokalp's discourse was directed against the Ottoman, whereas the issue of appropriation, using aspects of foreign culture in order to express one's own social and cultural identity, was a product of the struggle against the second other — the West.

^Namik Kemal, in a letter written to Abdiilhak Hamit. See Fevziye Abdullah Tansel, Hususi Mektuplanna Gore Namik Kemal ve Abdiilhak Hamid, Ankara, 1949: 21. ^Gokalp, Turkgtilugun Esaslari, 143. ^Gokalp, TiirkgUlUgun Esaslari, 144.

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It is striking that Ottoman Turkish authors did not simply take over the literary forms that were the products of western cultural development, but they tried to put their mark on them as can be seen in the following examples: At a time when several words were imported from French into Turkish and many new words were coined, ibrahim §inasi, the multifaceted author and poet, chose to adopt the terminology of Turkish folk theatre for the first play that he wrote for the stage A Poet's Wedding (§air Evlenmesi, 1860). He used oyun for play, fasil for act and takim for actors. By using the technical terminology of traditional forms of folk theatre such as the Karagoz shadow theatre and Orta Oyunu, §inasi tried to appropriate the new literary form. Hence the appropriation was also technical not only contentual, as both the plot and the language of the play carried the traces of folk theatre. 1 Namik Kemal's novel The Awakening (Intibah, 1876) is another striking example. Though he appeared to be a ruthless opponent of the classical tradition in his theoretical writings, because he found it ill-adapted to the needs of the age, Namik Kemal made use of the language and the imagery of the tradition in various parts of the novel. In particular, his choice to describe the villa of Mehpeyker, one of the main characters with a language reminiscent of classical divan literature is striking. The description of buildings, just like the observation of the physical world for its own sake, was something new in Ottoman literature, so it is remarkable that a novel conceit was introduced with classical language. To argue, like so many have, that this showed that Namik Kemal had not managed to break away from the classical tradition, in which he had been trained, is not convincing. Indeed throughout the novel, he made meaningful switches between classical language and narration and novel realist depictions. Hence when he depicted Mehpeyker, the femme fatale, he focused on her emotions, new elements in Ottoman narration, and described her in a colourful language, while he portrayed Dila§ub, the traditional concubine, with the imagery of the Divan tradition. Namik Kemal thought and wrote a lot about language, style and novel-writing and probably knew very well what he was doing: Appropriating, in his case ottomanising, the novel. Moreover it should be noted that the plot of the novel shared similarities with the folk story Hangerli Hanim2 and that the author prefaced most chapters with couplets from the classical divan tradition, some of them traditional, others ironic reflections on the tradition. He subverted the literary conventions of the classical couplet and metaphors such as the nightingale and the rose became objects of ridicule. "Who cares binasi, §air Evlenmesi, Ed. Cevdet Kudret, Istanbul: Yeditepe, 1959: 15-17. See Giizin Dino, Turk Romanimn Dogu^u, Istanbul: Cem Yayinevi, 1978:35-40.

2

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about the nightingale crying out in the rose garden", he asked in the introductory couplet of the chapter narrating the passionate love-making of the central characters Ali and Mehpeyker, "I am now in the hands of drunkenness with a beauty with rosy cheeks."I Each couplet could also be read as a compact summary of the following chapter. The author was thus giving an opportunity to the reader to compare the evocative intensity of classical poetry to the narrative power of the novel. The relationship of Ahmet Ha§im, one of the last masters of the metrical prosody, with symbolism too could be explored under the framework of appropriation, since he argued in "Sembolizmin Kiymetleri" (The Values of Symbolism), an article published in 1927 that symbolism, a major influence on his poetics, was not an exclusively western approach to poetry. According to Ahmet Hagim, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, eastern and western poets had reached the same conclusions as the French poet Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898) centuries before him. 2 In other words, symbolism, for Ha§irn, was not a cultural import but could be reclaimed as part of the tradition. Indeed the search beyond the real world for ideal forms and essences was also central in mystical tasavvuf poetry. The combination of symbolism and divân mysticism was also reflected in the imagery of Hagim's poetry. Lakes, rivers, trees and birds, that recalled the poetical universe of French and Belgian symbolist poets, cohabited with the nightingale and the rose, the classical metaphors of divân poetry. Moreover, in the introductory poem of the collection The Chalice (Piyâle, 1926), he wrote that Fuzûli (1495(?)-1556), and Mecnûn, Leylâ's famous lover, had drunk from the chalice that gave his collection its name. These opening references to Ottoman-Islamic literature in a collection that included his symbolist manifesto — "A Few Thoughts About Poetry" (§iir Hakkinda Bazi Miilâhazalar) — suggest that his source of inspiration may not have solely been Paris, and that he wanted it to be known. Examples abound and show that Ottoman Turkish writers, be it playwrights, novelists or poets, entered a critical dialogue with the western literary tradition. Their aim was not the westernisation of the national literary tradition but the ottomanisation of western literary genres. Indeed Ottoman ^Namik Kemal, Intibah, Ed. Seyit Kemal Karaalioglu, Istanbul: Inkilap, 1:19. ^Ahmet Ha§im, "Sembolizmin Kiymetleri", Biitiin Eserleri: Gurabahâne-i Yazilari, Ed. Inci Enginiin & Zeynep Kerman, Istanbul: Dergâh, 1991:295.

Laklakan, Diger

WRITING

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authors - one can rightfully argue that Ahmet Ha§im is Ottoman and not republican Turkish - considered western European countries as a political threat and the modernisation of literature through the appropriation of genres and literary approaches as a way of countering it. Obviously, Turkish literature must not be classified as post-colonial. I believe that some tools of post-colonial criticism, mainly the key concepts of authenticity and appropriation are helpful when discussing the history of modern Turkish literature. However Ottoman-Turkish dealt with two others — an ideological construct the foreignness of Ottoman culture and a political reality Western imperialism. Ottoman Turkish intellectuals used literature as a weapon of resistance against the West, a resistance which was also expressed by a quest for their own identity that led to an interrogation on Turkish identity and a rejection of the Ottoman past. Common points with postcolonial literatures show that critics and academics alike should turn their faces away from Paris and New York towards New Delhi and, more than ever, Baghdad for fruitful comparative researches...

4. PORTRAIT OF THE TRAVELLER AS A YOUNG MAN: MUSTAFA SAMI EFENDI AND HIS ESSAY ON EUROPE

In May 1841 Mustafa Sámi Efendi, a talented Ottoman poet and writer, was dismissed from the office of superintendent of the state-press. The chroniclers of the period indicate that the reasons for his dismissal were his attachment to Mustafa Resit Pa§a (1800-1858), the architect of the Tanzimat reforms, as well as his extreme praise of European habits and his outspoken criticism of Ottoman customs and traditions. For five years Mustafa Sámi Efendi was a persona non grata for the Ottoman establishment. Little biographical information about him is available and it is far from flattering 1 : He was a rather short man with a slight hunchback. Even though he is said to have been well-spoken, well-read and polite, most writers agree that he was also arrogant, irritable and greedy, a characteristic often attributed to advocates of a western way of life. His preference for European clothes was probably the cause of those anonymous satirical verses directed at him: How can an ambassador possibly dress like this? Did he go there to be a buffoon? People in Vienna, Berlin, Paris and Tehran Saw him and were shocked. 2 The famous Ottoman satirist Ismail Pasazáde Üsküdarli Ibrahim Hakki (1823-1895) too joined the chorus of Mustafa Sámi's critics. He launched a vicious attack on the writer's physical appearance and questioned his religious beliefs: A blasphemous unbeliever protecting Zoroastrians and Christians! A polytheist parasite, a gypsy who dresses like Europeans! Since the loss of the two worlds has been announced to him, Unbelief has firmly settled in his mind. If pigs were shown the grossness of his appearance, They would cry with despair in valleys and mountains.

^Fatili Andi compiled all the biographical information about Mustafa Sämi Efendi in the introductory essay to his transcription and translation into modern Turkish of the Essay on Europe: Fatih M. Andi, "Mustafa Sami Efendi'nin Hayati", Bir Osmanli Biirokratinin Avrupa Izlenimleri: Mustafa Sami Efendi ve Avrupa Risälesi, Istanbul: Kitabevi, 1996: 9-23. 2 Ìbniilemin Mahmut Kemal Inai, Son Asir Türk §airleri (Vol. 9), Istanbul: Milli Egitim Bakanhgi, 1970: 1617

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Dissolute, heretical disciple of demons and fire-worshippers! O you elephant-faced impious incarnation of ugliness on earth! Indeed an adorer of thedemon of stone, of Nimrod the infidel, Sámi is an unbeliever who associates with hell. 1 Mehmed Siireyya's Sicill-i Osmani, the Who's Who of the Ottoman Empire, gives more objective information about this little known Ottoman bureaucrat 2 : Mustafa Sámi Efendi was born in Istanbul on an unknown date. His career looks like that of a typical Ottoman bureaucrat. He was a protégé of the reformist minister Mustafa Re§it Pasa. He was employed for some time in the office of the chief secretary of the Ministry of Finance. After working in the Office of the Public Bath, the Office of the Superintendent of the Guilds and Markets and a number of different ministries, he was finally appointed as a scribe to the Ottoman Embassy in Vienna. Upon his return to Istanbul he worked for a while at the Office of Correspondence of the Grand-Vizier. In 1838, he was appointed as the chief-secretary to the Ottoman Embassy in France. Afterwards, he worked in the Ministry of Post and in the Ministry of the State Press, the official printing office of the state-newspaper "Takvim-i Vakayi" (1840). He was removed from office in 1841 and remained unemployed until 1846. Vakantivis Ahmet Lütfi Efendi, the officially appointed scribe and historian, indicates that Mustafa Sami suffered from poverty and isolation during the five years of unemployment. After a brief membership in the Agricultural Commission, he worked in embassies in Vienna (1846), Berlin (1846) and Tehran (1850). In 1852, he returned to Istanbul. He died in the capital of the Ottoman Empire in 1855 and was interred in Haydarpa§a cemeteiy. Most sources agree that he was a promising writer and poet, author of lyrical works (including a nat-i §erif, an eulogy of the Prophet), of various articles on current affairs and of an interesting travel report entitled The Essay on Europe (Avrupa Risálesi, 1840). In this short travel report consisting of the author's observations during his travels in Europe, Mustafa Sámi Efendi explores the reasons for what he sees as the high degree of civilisation achieved by the West. He concludes that the dissemination of knowledge and science by way of schools and other educational institutions is the major cause of progress in western Europe. Hence he advocates the adoption of similar educational policies in the Ottoman realms in order to free the Empire of its economic dependence on Europe. It is important to note that even though he Unal, Son Asir Türk §airleri (Vol. 9), 1617. ^Mehmed Siireyya, Sicill-i Osmäni3, Istanbul, 1311: 7.

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admires European civilisation he never encourages blind westernisation. Throughout his essay he gives examples of the Ottoman and wider Islamic past in order to legitimise any innovation. M u s t a f a Sami Efendi's Essay on Europe

is one of the major works

written by an Ottoman intellectual during the period. M o s t publications dealing with nineteenth century Ottoman cultural history mention the Bernard Lewis, for instance, describes its author in The Emergence Turkey

Essay.

of Modern

as a writer w h o spoke, with admiration of the European f o r m of

government, of freedom of religion, of equality and security before the law, of liberty and progress. H e stressed the importance of science in creating prosperity and he was aware of a connection between science and freedom. 1 It is a work that is not without its weaknesses, though, as is shown by Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar in his groundbreaking history of nineteenth century Turkish literature Ondokuzuncu Asir Turk Edebiyati Tarihi: It is imperative to include Mustafa Sami in the first rank of those who speculated on Europe. It is true that, in his work, neither the intellectual life in Europe nor the fundamental differences between Europe and our own world can be found. No moral or spiritual problem is brought to light. The things mentioned are things which can be observed by anybody who does not know a foreign language and who remains unfamiliar with the cultural movements of the places he visits. Nonetheless, his attention does not remain on the surface of things. He goes deeper to some extent. Because, even if he does not know the West, he knows us and our weaknesses well. 2 Tanpinar's last remark implies that Mustafa Sami Efendi's travel report might be more revealing of the state of the Ottoman Empire than of the countries he visited. Norman Izkowitz and M a x Mote argue a similar point in the introduction to their comparative study and translation of embassy reports f r o m the Ottoman-Russian exchange of ambassadors in 1776 Mubadele: An Ottoman-Russian Exchange of Ambassadors : Sefaretnames present a unique view of pre-Tanzimat Ottoman officials as they came in contact with Europe and various material aspects of its civilisation. The glimpses of Ottomans reacting to complex and unfamiliar situations arc a wclcome supplement to the all too lifeless leaves in chronicles. These reports remind us that the Ottomans were human beings and not just peculiar names frozen on the pages of antiquated annals. 3 1 Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, London: O.U.P, 1961: 130. Ahmed Hamdi Tanpinar, Ondokuzuncu Asir Turk Edehiyati Tarihi. Istanbul: Qaglayan, 1997:

2

126

^

•"Norman Itzkowitz and Max Mote, Mubadele: An Ottoman-Russian Exchange of Ambassadors. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970: 4-5.

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A travel report entitled Essay on Europe is deemed a very impersonal work. Nonetheless it does reveal the human being behind the author. It divulges much more about the young man, the traveller, than about the places he visits. It might even be possible to find an explanation in between the lines of Mustafa Sami's travel report for the discrepancy between his fear of the bid'at, the religiously illicit innovation, and the reports of his very westernised way of life. In any case the Essay on Europe paints a portrait of its author that is certainly less flawed than the virulent verses of the satirists. The Avrupa Risalesi is Mustafa Sami Efendi's only published book — or at least the only one we know about. It was published for the first time in 1840 in Istanbul. A lithography of the original work was printed in 1851. 1 The work consists of a recollection of the writer's observations during his journey from Istanbul to Paris and his stay in the French capital. Mustafa Sami Efendi left Istanbul on 27 April 1838 ( 2 Safer 1254) and arrived in Paris on 22 September 1838 (3 Receb-i §eril' 1254), after visiting and staying in the following places: Malta, Syracuse, Messina, Naples, Terracina, Rome, the Vatican, Sienna, Florence, Bologna, Milan, Venice, Trieste, Vienna, Prague, Dresden, Berlin, Frankfurt, Brussels and London. This short book of forty pages can be divided into two parts. From pages 1 to 25, the author discusses the places that he visited during the journey. Pages 23 to 25 focus more particularly on Paris. The second part from page 25 onwards deals with the general conditions in Europe. Here the author makes, what Tanpmar calls, "secret propositions" for the reformation of the Ottoman state.2 Mustafa Sami explains how Europe gained its strength and how the Ottomans could do the same by adopting European ways that are not in contradiction with Islamic law and tradition. The places described by Mustafa Sami in the first part of his essay were those which could have been visited by any traveller: museums, libraries, theatres, famous buildings and monuments. Like his predecessors he gave statistical information about the armed forces and the navy of the various countries he travelled to. But the reasons that led Mustafa Sami to write were different

' All the excerpts are taken from the 1851 lithography. The page number is given in parenthesis. ^Tanpmar, Ondokuzuncu Asir Tiirk Edebiyati Tarihi, 125.

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I, your humble servant, one of the representatives of the Office of Ministerial Correspondence, Seyyid Mustafa Sami, am very distanced from matters related to money and to the treasures of arts. I have understood that I am neither able to build charitable foundations like bridges and mosques, nor to write edifying books. That is why I decided to write about the countries and places as well as about certain important conditions which the Europeans, as a consequence of their type of civilisation, managed to establish successfully. I witnessed all of this during my travels in Europe, where I stayed as the chief-secretary of the Ottoman Embassy in Paris. By doing so I wish to render a service to ordinary people.(l-2)

Mustafa Sami Efendi pointed to his own financial hardships and his incapacity to create charitable foundations. But more relevantly, he stated that he was writing in order to be useful to ordinary people. This should be considered an important development, because an Ottoman bureaucrat's responsibility was towards the ruler, not the ruled masses. Thus he was combining both personal and social concerns right at the beginning of his essay. Moreover the author introduced new values to the Ottoman readership: He considered the act of writing as equivalent to the building of charitable foundations and he addressed the book to the av&m-i millet, an expression that he coined and that could be translated as "ordinary people". The focus on educational needs and social responsibility was to be central in the political writings of the next generation of Ottoman intellectuals. It should be said that it is unclear whom he meant by "ordinary people". The level of literacy among the avam-i millet was relatively low at the time. Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar provides some interesting information about the reading habits of the people in his study of 19th century Turkish literature: Since literacy was low, people would gather at home around a person who could read and they would listen to him or more rarely to her. 1 Ahmet Hamdi Tanpmar was writing about the late nineteenth century but it is not unconceivable that similar scenes took place in Mustafa Sami's day. The fact that Mustafa Sami addressed ordinary people and not his fellow bureaucrats and the ruling class was of considerable importance and influenced the language he used. Having praised God, the prophet and the sultan in the introduction, he wrote that: this humble slave, conscious of the kind of jeering and mocking it will cause, confessing and admitting his lack of ability and of eloquence, decided to compose with the help of God, taking into consideration his own modest capacity, this treatise for ordinary people and to name it Essay on Europe. (4)

^Tanpinar, Ondokuzuncu Asir Türk Edebiyati Tarihi, 459

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In order to achieve his aim — to deliver a message of civilisation to ordinary people — the author had to give particular attention to the language of his report. Indeed, Mustafa Sami Efendi used a relatively simple language when compared to other Ottoman travel reports. With the modesty befitting Ottoman authors, Mustafa Sami characterised the simplicity of his style as "a lack of ability and eloquence". Tanpinar underlines that although, in general, Sami's style did not greatly differ from the traditional Ottoman style, he used a lot of simple and straightforward words. 1 Mustafa Sami tried to give simple definitions of the foreign terms he used in his essay. Dictionary-like definitions abound in the narration of his journey. The introduction of new words into the language is an important aspect of the Avrupa Risalesi. Several of the terms that Mustafa Sami Efendi tried to define for his readership were to settle in the Turkish language and to become part of everyday life, namely miize, otel, gardiyan, tiyatro, gaz and telgraf. Some of those words had already been used and explained by Yirmisekiz Mehmed Celebi, the Ottoman ambassador to Louis XV of France, in his famous ambassadorial report Fransa Sefaretn&mesi. Mustafa Sami provided new definitions to familiar terms too. In his essay, as well as in his contemporary Sadik Rifat Pa§a's (1807-1856) works, the key words and expressions of the Tanzimat reforms could be found: medeniyet (civilisation), hukuk (law), ta'assub (zeal), terakki (progress), hubb-i vatan ve millet (love of the country and of the people), ulum ve fiinun (knowledge and science), hiiner ve maearif{skills and education), devlet-i me^ruta (constitutional state), nizam (order, organisation). Language was an issue dear to Mustafa Sami. He mentioned the abundance of books on every possible subject in Europe and praised the fact that the language of the books was simple and understandable by most people: "[Europeansl have eliminated or limited the use of several unnecessary words and expressions by linking their languages to a system." (36) These thoughts were going to be developed by the following generation of intellectuals for whom the simplification of Ottoman prose and poetry was a continuous concern. Namik Kemal (1840-1888), the herald of Ottoman constitutionalism, would still be asking decades after Mustafa Sami "Why should forcing people to check the dictionary eighty times in order to read two pages be considered an expression of talent"2

l

Ibid„ 126. Namik Kemal, "Mukaddime-i Celâl", Celâleddin Harzemçah, Ed. Hüseyin Ayan, Istanbul: Hareket, 1969: 10. 2

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Mustafa Sami Efendi's ability to assess the level of difficulty of a foreign language is doubtful since he himself conceded in his essay that he had not learned any European language. This is precisely why he was able to appraise the need for literature on Europe written in Turkish. According to him, books written on Europe in Ottoman Turkish were a rarity at the time. "Nobody apart from the late Katip (,'elcbi and the regretted former chief Mahmud Efendi has written books in Turkish on these matters." (39), he remarked towards the end of the book. Mustafa Sami wrote for ordinary people and throughout his essay he focused on their needs, whether educational or medical. The supposed generalisation of literacy in Western Europe was of great interest for him. Focusing on France he wrote about an idyllic continent where: men and women, all the people of Europe are able to read and write. This is especially true in France where even a simple porter or a shepherd is able to write or read his own letter at least. In short, the Europeans have stretched the frontiers of knowledge and skills and rendered education and tuition easier. (26)

Education was another of his concerns and he argued that "the people of Europe reached such a level of perfection through the voluntary dispersion of science and excellence throughout their lands." Likewise had the Europeans understood that "ignorance was the greatest shame and embarrassment on earth". (35) He also underlined that the medical needs of every social class was taken care of and was not dismayed by the fact that social distinctions existed in medical treatment too: As a result of the great number of skilled doctors, men and women are treated in well-organised hospitals that exist in every city, town and sometimes even in villages. There are separate hospitals for people from different social classes, for those with contagious diseases, for the old, for the soldiers and for the retired. Patients are easily cured and are healed in a short period of time since there are doctors on duty and pharmacies with every kind of drugs in every hospital. I can testify that I was amazed by the size and the soundness of the buildings of some of the hospitals as well as by the neatness of the clothing of the patients, by the cleanliness of the beds and of the rooms and by the carefully prepared food that tasted so good. (27, 28)

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However Mustafa Sami Efendi was unaware of the social effects of the industrial revolution and of the dreadful living and working conditions of the working class in London and Paris. Later authors, whether visiting or living in Europe, were appalled by the living conditions of the labouring population, as exemplified in this paragraph taken from Ismail Gaspirinsky's (1851-1914) influential work A Comparative View of European Civilisation (Avrupa Medeniyetine bir Nazar-i MuvazeneJ, published in Istanbul in 1885: The rooms are full of people. The windows are just below the roof. The walls are damp and dampness comes also from the floor. It seems that there is no air at all. You cannot breathe because of the smell, because of human sweat... Your ears get deaf because of the noise. You are shocked by the dirtiness you see and by the shameful words you hear. A tiny room, 8 to 10 people, as if imprisoned, women and girls, the young and the elderly, the ill, the crying, the laughing... All are together and try to live ignoring one another. They do not even own a room, let alone a house. They are only renting a sleeping spot inside a room. The bed too is not theirs. They rent the place they sit on as well as the place they sleep in. They do not own a cauldron or a pan. These are owned by the restaurants they eat in or by the taverns and pubs they drink in. These are the people who do not even possess a mat, which would burn the day the world is on flame. ^

Inspired by similar writings of Slavophile authors in the Russian Empire, the Tatar Gaspirinsky, one of the early ideologues of Pan-Turkism, was echoing the words of John Hollinghead's Ragged London (1861), Reverend Mearn's The Bitter Cry of Outcast London (1883) and similar standard works on poverty in London and other large urban agglomerations. But Mustafa Sami's ignorance of the ills of industrialisation was not really unusual for an Ottoman traveller in 1840. It was his interest in the plight and need of ordinary people which was truly exceptional. His concern was not only for the ordinary man but also for those who not so long ago were still outcasts in the societies they lived in. He described how progress in medicine and pedagogy led to the amelioration of the living conditions of physically and mentally disabled people: There are separate schools and teachers for blind and mute children in most places. These children develop their skills and knowledge during eight or ten years with the help of books and signs which have been specially designed for them. Thanks to these skills and knowledge, they are able to live independently and in prosperity just like healthy people. There are several savants among the deaf, mute and blind people who have written books about philosophy and mathematics. There are even nine- or tenyear-old boys and girls who have a very deep knowledge of geometry, geography as well as other branches of science. (26) * Ismail Gaspirinsky, Avrupa Medeniyetine Bir Namr-i Muvâzene,

Istanbul, 1885: 12.

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M u s t a f a Sami had a personal interest in psychiatric institutions and devoted not less than two pages of his 40-pagc travel report to lunatic asylums and to the way mental diseases were treated: Patients affected by mental diseases recover just like the rich or poor patients who heal in a relatively little time because of the above-mentioned reasons and facilities, thanks to the perfection and professionalism of the doctors and the good organisation of lunatic asylums in Europe. Asylums are only built in regions where the air is light and clean. They have welldecorated and well-kept gardens with water-jets and fountains. The rooms too are well ordered. They all have stoves for winter days and chandeliers and oil-lamps which can be lit during the night. Every ten patients have a separate nurse who checks their dresses, clothes, food and drinks with appropriate attention. There are doctors on duty who examine and check each patient twice a day. The patients are treated according to the nature of their illness. For instance, certain women became mad because of the pain engendered by the loss of a child and were brought to the hospital. They are treated by showing them waxen representations of children. Those who are possessed with the fancy of accumulating possessions, gold and money are quietened by giving them things made of tin and lead that look like coins. The doctors try to heal everyone by going right to the source of the illness. This is why only very few do not heal. Moreover the patients are not enchained and are free to walk and wander around the hospital and the above mentioned gardens. But it should be said that, whenever they are disobedient, they are made to wear a heavy shirt made of resistant cloth. Then, they are unable to harm anyone since their hands are tied behind their back. If this is not enough they are imprisoned in a room without windows that has a glass roof. The room is full of hay. Thus they arc unable to harm anybody and if the person were able to tear up his shirt, he would be saved from staying on bare wood or stone since, to the contrary of the bed and the shirt, he could not tear up the hay. (28, 29) His attention f o r sanatoriums and psychiatric institutions gets a special relevance, when we take into consideration that he was mentally ill at the time of his death. 1 T o w a r d s the end of his essay M u s t a f a Sami actually admitted that "he had been ill most of the modest time he spent in Europe because of his bad luck". (40) H e did not give any information regarding the nature of his illness, but his very detailed description of the sanatorium shows more than mere theoretical k n o w l e d g e of this kind of institutions. His premonitory interest in psychiatric hospitals and the contemporary attitude towards people with mental problems is quite moving: ^Tanpmar, Ondokuzuncu Asir Türk Edebiyati Tarihi, 125

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Having made great progress in medicine, the Europeans have reached the conclusion that the remedy for those suffering of mental diseases was to look after them in a pleasing manner. Hence one realises the utter foolishness of the saying current in our lands — the madman becomes

sensible when he is beaten. (30) The character hiding behind the lines of the Avrupa Risalesi appears to be a rather compassionate man who gave particular significance to the way the educational and the medical needs of the labouring classes and the disabled were taken care of. His human aspect also surfaces in his interest for the arts, his love of books, his passion for science and last but not least his thorough interest in European women, more particularly Sicilian, German and English. This scholarly interest permitted him to claim that, "the beautiful women of London with their fairy-like faces and their elegant manners have not been seen in any other European land." (21) Similarly, it is of no surprise that he concentrated on nurses and celebrated their dedication: Moreover I was stunned when I witnessed that the women who work in the hospitals and take care of the patients do not do it because they are poor. Most of them are the daughters of respected and rich families. With a desire for self-sacrifice, they offer the wealth they inherited from their ancestors or the money their parents consented to give them to the hospitals. Moreover it is with joy that throughout their life they dedicate their own bodies to the service of injured and ill patients. (28)

Mustafa Sami Efendi was fascinated by Europe. He criticised nothing but the food which "could not be swallowed unless you are used to it" (34) and the dreadful climatic conditions. He was in favour of the adoption of European inventions, practices and sciences but he did not merely want to copy the marvels he saw in the lands of the infidels. The fear of illicit innovations made him research the Islamic past in order to find similar practices and attitudes. Mustafa Sami Efendi's aim was to liberate the Empire from the dependence on goods produced in the West and to lead it to a new golden age, by using methods and techniques that were developed by the Europeans, but whose origins were Islamic: If science and perfection, which were invented by Muslims and hence are our true heritage, could be spread among the people in the Islamic lands just like in past times, then, since the Islamic lands are the most outstanding places on earth and more particularly since our soils are fertile because God, out of respect to the prophet Muhammad, whose community we are proud to be members of, has decreed that our lands and climate should be abundant and prosperous and moreover since our people are intelligent and wise from

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birth, all the industry and the organisation, which the Europeans founded using a lot of time and work, could be spread among our people in very little time. This situation would be advantageous in every aspect because we would not need any goods or provisions produced in foreign lands anymore. The money usually spent for those imports would remain in our country. Hence our country and people would become prosperous. (37, 38)

Economic independence could only be achieved by spreading modern sciences in the Empire. He argued that the re-appropriation of science was rightful because most sciences had originally been founded by Muslims: The sciences the Europeans are said to show, day and night, much attention and care to, have not originated from their faith or creed. Mathematics and philosophy as well as other branches of sciences and other skills such as logic, astronomy, mcdicinc, geometry, mechanics, arithmetic, chemistry, history, poetry and prose were discovered by ancient Muslim Arabs. The Europeans brought them to their own lands and continued to develop them. Beside the above mentioned branches of science, there are other branches such as geography, physics and the remaining sciences that had already been studied by European scholars to a certain degree. (36, 37)

Mustafa Sâmi propounded the re-appropriation of knowledge that was originally Islamic so that the Ottomans could reach an even higher degree of civilisation and consequently be delivered from the Western economic yoke. This discourse was typical for the thinkers of the Tanzimat period. The westernisation process engendered by the Tanzimat reforms aimed at recovering the spirit of innovation of Islam's classical age and at adopting and adapting Europe's inventions by, in Namik Kemal's words, "marrying the idea of perfection of the East to the virginity of imagination of the West." 1 Mustafa Sâmi was aware of the decline and weaknesses of the Islamic world and deplored that "for some time all too much has been abandoned and neglected in the Islamic lands." (4) Mustafa Sâmi Efendi gave numerous examples of attitudes and interests that he witnessed in Europe and that he believed to be of use for the regeneration of Ottoman power. He showed a distinct interest for antiquities and expressed his belief in the need for preservation of artefacts of the past because European inventions, whose necessity are universally recognised, and the facilities and industries that are constantly developed and that make work easier, were created by studying and copying works of the past and then by spreading them in their new form. (12)

1

Quoted in Mustafa Nihat Özön, Namik Kemal ve Ibret Gazetesi, Istanbul: Remzi, 1938: 43.

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He referred to Sultan Mehmed Fatih, the conqueror of Constantinople, and his love of the arts in order to legitimise the preservation and study of antiquities: Two pictures of winged angels and other paintings were conserved in the noble Saint Sophia mosque. Obelisks and similar monuments in other part of Istanbul were not destroyed, even though they were relics of a distant past. They were preserved in their original condition by Sultan Muhammed Han the Conqueror, which proves that such subtleties and interest for antiquities used to exist in Islamic society. (13)

Mustafa Sami's analysis of European societies remained restricted to education and the ways of disseminating science and knowledge. Unlike his contemporary Sadik Rifat Pa§a who wrote another influential essay called Essay Regarding the Conditions in Europe (Avrupa Ahvaline dair Risale), Mustafa Sami was not conccrned with the debates on liberalism, constitutionalism and freedom of conscience, that were shaping the political, social and intellectual developments in Europe. He only wrote that Belgium was a constitutional state (devlet-i megruta) and that it was promised a great future. (20) He did not attempt to describe the workings of the constitutional state. Neither did he explain whether his predictions for Belgium were based on the fundamental principles of its constitution. The relative freedom of religion that he heard about during his journey is another important characteristic of European societies that he mentioned but did not analyse: All countries in Europe are of the Christian religion. The people of five of those countries, that is the people of Great Britain, Prussia, Holland, Sweden and Denmark are Protestants. Russia is of Orthodox Christian faith and the remaining France, Austria, Spain and other well-known states and governments are of the Catholic faith. But a lot of Catholics live in Protestant countries and likewise there are a lot of Protestants in Catholic countries. However since nobody is being pressured in matters of religion and faith, anybody who has the suitable skills can be employed in a state duty regardless of his religion, even if he is a Jew. (25, 26)

Even though Mustafa Sami ignored the political developments and the intellectual debates of his day in his travel report, he was conscious of the need for reform and modernisation in the Ottoman Empire. He admired the achievements of the West and he undeniably failed to identify its shortcomings. But he never promoted blind westernisation in the Avrupa Risalesi. He argued that it would be possible to adopt certain European attitudes and inventions that were not in contradiction with Islamic law. By doing so Ottomans would be walking in the footsteps of their Ottoman and

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Muslim forefathers who had been more daring than his contemporaries. He believed that such changes would lead the Ottoman State to economic independence. On a more personal level the Essay on Europe exposes a wellread, compassionate, patriotic, naive but also unhealthy young man full of contradictions. His concern for the educational and medical needs of the disabled and of people on the lower echelons of the class system reveals a rather benevolent man. His detailed description of psychiatric institutions and of the compassion shown by nurses and doctors to the mentally ill is poignant knowing that he died mentally disturbed, deeply depressed and abandoned in Istanbul in 1855. During his lifetime Mustafa Sami Efendi was continuously the victim of hostile criticism from his contemporaries. These attacks were probably caused by his loyalty to Mustafa Re§it Pa§a as well as by his loose tongue and his unorthodox westernised life-style, which are aspects of his personality that we know mostly from his detractors. His travel report does certainly not depict him in such a light. Later novelists such as Vartan Pa§a (1813-1879) and Ahmet Mithat Efendi (1844-1912) were to build their didactic novels on the confrontation between a westernised dandy and a rational, progressive bureaucrat who was able to merge the positive aspects of western civilisation with his own cultural heritage. It may well be that there was a bit of both these fictional characters in Mustafa Sami. His pain however, expressed in the opening couplet of his only surviving gazel, was not fictional at all: I am afflicted with an illness that has no cure, The pain of solitude that finds no comfort. 1

^Inal, Son Asir Türk ¡airleri (Vol. 9), 1618.

5. HISTORY BEYOND PROSE AND POETRY: ALt KEMAL AND THE OTTOMAN HISTORIOGRAPHICAL TRADITION

In The Empire Writes Back, their seminal work on theory and practice in post-colonial literatures, Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin postulate that the concept of post-colonial literary theory emerged from the incapacity of European theory to engage appropriately with the cultural variety and complexity of post-colonial writing. They rightly argue that European theories themselves emerge from particular cultural traditions which are hidden by false notions of 'the universal'. Theories of style and genre, assumptions about the universal features of language, epistemologi es and value systems are all radically questioned by the practices of post-colonial writing.1 I believe that if we were to replace "post colonial writing" in the latter sentence by the, admittedly, problematic concept of non-western literature we would have an equally valid statement. Indeed, most attempts to make theoretical generalizations on various aspects of literature, or to write a history of Literature, would be condemned to failure if they were not to take into consideration texts written in languages other than the major European languages. When the critic and theoretician Terry Eagleton made the claim in Literary Theory in 1983 that a railway timetable could, at least, potentially be read as literature 2 , he was almost certainly not familiar with the works of Ottoman Turkish writer Recâizâde Mahmut Ekrem who wrote in the introduction of his theoretical work The Tuition of Literature (Ta'lim-i Edebiyat, 1883) that " according to the general meaning of literature it is necessary to consider the notices of tradesmen and advertisements for houses as literary works." 3 This is the very Recâizâde Mahmut Ekrem who used the stream of consciousness technique in The Passion of Cars (Araba Sevdasi), a work published in 1897, but written in 1886, that is more than a century after Lawrence Sterne's extraordinary Tristram Shandy (1760-7) whom, most likely, Recâizâde Mahmud Ekrem did not know about, but still one year before Edouard Dujardin's The Laurels Have Been Cut (Les lauriers sont coupés, 1888) and several years before works by authors such as Dorothy

^Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin, The Empire Strikes Back, London: Routledge, 1995:11. ^Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction, Oxford: Blackwell, 1985: 9. ^Recäizade Mahmut Ekrem, Ta'lim-i Edebiyat, Istanbul, 1883: 12.

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Richardson, James Joyce, Virgina Woolfe and William Faulkner. The narrative structure of novels such as A Tale of Wife and Husband (Kari Koca Masali, 1875) and Observations (Mügáhedát, 1890) by Ahmet Mithat Efendi, probably the most prolific Turkish writer of the period, and the author's exploration of the meaning of literary realism in his literary works could pose challenges to anyone who takes the evolution of Western literatures as the point of departure of discussions on the history of Literature. These examples are taken from Turkish literature, but I am sure that people working on other literary traditions could come up with other examples, which would show that debates on literature in the West are too self-centred. This is not only true with literary studies, but also with theoretical discussions in other fields of the humanities. History could be a point in case. Was Raskt a Historian or a Poet? (Ra§id Miiverrih Mi §air Mi?) is a 112 page long essay published by Ali Kemal (1868-1922) in 1918. It deals with issues that were still crucial in the 1960's in debates on methodology in history. In 1961, E.H. Carr published What is History?, in which, he argued, among others, that one ought to study the historian before one studies his work. Carr maintained that one should not only study history but also the sociological context in which historical texts are produced. Six years later G. R. Elton, a traditionalist, published The Practice of History, where he reiterated his belief that the historian should focus on the documentary evidence of the past and stop focusing on historians and the context of production. In Was Rá¡¡id a Historian or a Poet?Ali Kemal questioned the validity of the Ottoman historian Mehmed Rásid's historical works and tried to define historiography making use of arguments that would later be put forward by both Carr and Elton. Ali Kemal, the author, is one of the most controversial figures of Turkish literary history. He was a leading publisher, journalist, critic and novelist who was condemned, perhaps not quite to the dustbin, but to the recycle bin of literary history, because of his virulent opposition to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's liberation war against the English, French and Greek occupation of what is today the Republic of Turkey. Ali Kemal became an eloquent advocate for the collaborationist policies of the Sultan and was arrested in 1922 by the victorious Kemalists. He was lynched by a mob while he was being transported from Istanbul to the new capital Ankara, where he was to be judged for treason. His works literary or otherwise were left to oblivion. Few of them have been transcribed from the Arabic Ottoman to the new Latin Turkish script adopted in 1928, which means that today only a

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small group of academics and dilettantes have access to them. Ali Kemal's exclusion from literary history is a great loss for today's readers, because he pointed in his articles and essays to issues that have been at the centre of literary and cultural criticism throughout the twentieth century. Not only did he edit several publications that printed the works of literary figures who later became parts of the literary canon, he also wrote influential essays on literature and history. It is true though that some of his articles on French literature and culture, published in the Ikdam newspaper, were not as original as they should have been and turned out to be translations from the Figaro, the French daily, but nonetheless they were read with enthusiasm by the Parisorientated Ottoman literary elite.1 Was Ra§id a Historian or a Poet? is above all a work about historiography. Hence it is not surprising that Ali Kemal started by setting the historical and personal context of production of his essay: In his foreword, revealingly entitled "My Thoughts" (Dugundiiklerim), Ali Kemal wrote that World War I had been a difficult time for the country and that he, like so many other free-thinking writers, had to "break his pen". Further on, however, he explained that he found no one who accepted to publish his ideas and that he had been the victim of political pressure. Nonetheless these restrictions did not prevent him from thinking. He then reminded his readers that a writer, even if he is later to be proven wrong, should always be honest and write what he sincerely believes to be right. 2 His emphasis on the responsibility and the fallibility of the author, one of the book's great themes, straight at the beginning of an essay on historiography is truly remarkable, since it questions the veracity and reliability of the written word. Ali Kemal's essay on Mehmed Ra§id (d.1735), the chronicler, poet and ambassador, was written in response to two articles published in the journal Yeni Mecmua (The New Journal). The first article was published by the historian Ahmet Refik on 18 July 1918 and dealt with the life of the 18 th century chronicler and poet Mehmed Ra§id and his relationship with the Sadrazam — Prime Minister — Ibrahim Pasa. 3 Ali Kemal argued that the article was too superficial: Mehmed Ra§id was a chronicler and not a historian, Ahmet Refik made a clear methodological mistake by considering Mehmed Ragid's texts on the Era of the Tulips as history and not as a chronicle. This ^They were later to be collected and published in three volumes with the title Paris Musdhabeleri (Paris Conversations, Istanbul, 1899-1900). 2 Ali Kemal, Rasid: Miiverrih Mi, Sair Mi?, Istanbul, 1918: 3-6. J Muzaffer Gokman, Tarihi Sevdiren Adam Ahmed Refik Altmay : Hayati ve Eserleri, Istanbul: If Bankasi Kiiltur Yayinlan, 1978: 76.

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error led Ahmet Refik to idealize ibrahim Pa§a and call him a great man. Such a judgement, according to Ali Kemal, was unacceptable because ibrahim Pasa had been a bad statesman and his achievements should be judged in comparison to the accomplishments of Voltaire, Rousseau, and Montesquieu, who were his contemporaries and truly great men. 1 Although Ali Kemal's comparison was unfair, his argument was valid: Historians writing on particular historical figures and issues should have a wide perspective and be aware of developments elsewhere. According to Ali Kemal, Mehmed Ra§id did not know about the larger historical and political context of the events he was writing about and thus could not have had a comparative perspective, but he also implied that this was the case for Ahmet Refik. However there had been a time when Ali Kemal had a higher opinion of Ahmet Refik. In an article published on 20 September 1913 in ikdam (Going Forward), he argued that one of the major reasons for the decadence of the Ottomans was their lack of historical knowledge and that the emergence of a talented historian such as Ahmet Refik was indicative of positive changes. 2 The Ottoman disinterest for historical and political developments in Europe was an important theme of Ali Kemal's writings and he devoted a whole chapter of his essay to what he called "the art of not knowing Europe" (Avrupa'yi bilmemek marifeti), by which he meant the centuries-old Ottoman disinterest for what happened on the other side of its western and northern frontiers. The second Yeni Mecm.ua article that enraged him was written by Refik Halit and questioned the intellectual integrity of Peyám, a publication edited by Ali Kemal. Ali Kemal responded by writing that Yeni Mecmua had never published any essay fulfilling all the conditions of a scientific article on history. He listed those conditions by quoting from an article published, predictably, in his own paper Peyám.: Historiography was a profession that had to be learned, since the historian had to know which sources to use, where to find them and how to use them. He had to have an objective and scientific approach to historical documents. A historian should also have a good general culture and a bright intellect in order to interpret those sources and to be able to distinguish whatever is relevant. In order to do this he had to be well informed of past and present developments. A historian had to be free of national, racial and personal prejudices. He should be a free spirit. And finally, his style had to be clear and intelligible.3

^Ali Kemal, Rá¡id: Miiverrih Mi, gair Mi?, 7-8. ^Gökman, Tarihi Sevdiren Adam Ahmed Refik Altinay : Hayan ve Eserleri, 361. 3 Ali Kemal, Râ§id: Miiverrih Mi, ¡¡air Mi?, 9-10.

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The above rules were obvious and could be expected from someone such as Ali Kemal who studied history at the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques in Paris and was acquainted with the debates of his time on methodology in historical research. According to him, Mizanci Murat's 7volume history of the world (1900-1916), in particular the seventh volume dealing with Ottoman history, fulfilled all the conditions of a serious academic work on history. Moreover, the author was remarkable because of his freedom of thought and courage. 1 Having outlined the methodology of historical research Ali Kemal asked the crucial question whether or not Mehmed Ra§id was a historian. In his introductory considerations, he had already stated that Mehmed Ra§id was a chronicler and not a historian 2 , hence the question was rhetoric and meant to introduce his arguments against the chronicler's reliability as a historian. In 1714, Mehmet Ra§id had been asked to write a chronicle of the time by Sadrazam Ali Pa§a, When Ibrahim Pa§a was appointed Sadrazam in 1718, Mehmet Ra§id was confirmed in this position and he was also given the task to register all the events sincc 1660, the year where the previous chronicler Naima had stopped. Mehmed Ra§id's work covered the years between 1660 and 1723 and carried the title The History of Rcqid (Tarih-i Ra§id). Mehmed Rásid composed it by using mainly three sources: The events that he witnessed directly, official documents and other chronicles. 3 These years covered a crucial era in the history of the Ottoman Empire. With the signing of the Treaty of Carlowitz in 1699, the Ottomans lost Hungary and Transylvania to Austria, the Ukraine to Poland, the Dalmatian coast and the Morea to Venice. Russia was given a foothold on the Black Sea and threatening the Empire. In the following years the Ottomans were able to recover some ground by defeating the Russians at the battle of Pruth in 1711 and driving the Venetians from southern Greece. However, this was a short-lived respite as the Austrians came to the help of the Venetians and inflicted major defeats to the Ottomans. In the treaty of Passarowitz (1718), the Ottomans lost Serbia, the Hungarian province of Banat and western Wallachia to the Austrians. In face of such dreadful developments, ibrahim Pa§a convinced the Sultan of the necessity of reforms and a policy of aperture towards the West, primarily by tightening diplomatic relationships with the European powers. The move towards the West ironically culminated in the cultivation of tulips by the ruling class, which is why the period is known as the Era of the Tulips.

^Ali Kemal,

2

'iIbid„ 1.

Rá¡id: Müverrih Mi, fair Mi?, 12.

M. Kemal Ozergin, "Ra§id", Islam Ansiklopedisi,

Istanbul: Milli Egitim Bakanligi, 1949: 632-

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The first part of Ali Kemal's systematic critique of Mehmed Ra§id's chronicle dealt with the chronicler's style and language. Ali Kemal argued that Mehmed Ra§id's prose was typically oriental. To substantiate his claim, he quoted at length the nineteenth century French historian Amable Jourdain, who wrote, in an unashamedly orientalist style, in his work La Perse, that "Orientals write in order to amaze, not in order to be understood." 1 Though Jourdain wrote about Persian prose, his assessment was, according to Ali Kemal, also valid for Ottoman prose since Persian literature had much influenced Ottoman literature. 2 The lack of clarity and simplicity of Ottoman prose was Ali Kemal's main concern as he started to focus on Mehmed Ra§id's language. Establishing his case by quoting excerpts from the chronicler's ornamental prose and lyric poetry, Ali Kemal wondered how it happened that Mehmed R a i d ' s poetry was clear and eloquent, while his prose was artificial, opaque and unintelligible. Nonetheless he underlined that Mehmed Rafid's situation was not exceptional. There was a similar discrepancy between the language of prose and poetry in the works of other great Ottoman authors such as Hoca Sadettin Efendi, Baki (1526- 1600) and Ragip Pa§a (1699-1763). 3 Ali Kemal's focus on language was quite representative of the concerns of his age. The clarity and the neutrality, what some would call the colourlessness, of the historian's language was still one of the important theoretical issues in historiographical circles in western Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century, so it was natural that the French educated and anglophile Ali Kemal should focus on style in his criticism of Rasid. Moreover, the language of literature and science was a major issue in the writings of Ottoman reformers in the nineteenth century. In 1840, Mustafa Sami Efendi had published an influential essay on Europe where he had mentioned that by reforming their language the French had eliminated or, at least, limited the use of unnecessary words and expressions. 4 He believed that clarity of style, which led to intelligibility, was important and missing in contemporary Ottoman prose. His thoughts and those of likeminded intellectuals were going to be developed by the following generation of intellectuals for whom the simplification of Ottoman prose and poetry was a continuous concern. Ali Kemal too wrote that one needed a dictionary in order to understand the learned prose of Mehmed Ra§id and other works of the period. 5 Later in his essay, when discussing R a i d ' s poetry, he started a passionate defence of what he called "the modernisation of the language" — the necessity for a language to change and ' Ali Kemal, Rd§id: Muverrih Mi, $air Mi?, 14.

2

Ibid„ 15-6.

16-18 ^Mustafa Sami Efendi, Avrupa Risalesi, Istanbul, 1851: 36. 5 Ali Kemal, M$id: Muverrih Mi, £air Mi?, 21.

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adapt to the needs of the time.1 Ottoman reformist intellectuals did not only attack the classical language because it did not fulfil its purpose, that of communicating a message. They also doubted that it had the ability to portray reality, because of its ornamental and metaphorical nature. Depicting the real world, and not mystical longings, became a main concern in the theoretical writings on literature by major authors such as Namik Kemal and Ahmet Mithat Efcndi in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. In a similar vein, Ali Kemal believed that the classical language of Ottoman prose could not convey historical reality. He certainly believed that ultimate historical truth existed but he questioned the ability of the classical language to represent it. Having analysed the language of the work, he moved to the issue of truthfulness in the chronicle, thus implying that there was a link between the portrayed and the language of portrayal. Mehmed R a i d ' s problem, according to Ali Kemal, was that he focused on unimportant details. His chronicle did not include any information about Ibrahim Pa§a's financial and economic policies or political developments in France, Austria and Russia. Ali Kemal argued that Ottoman chroniclers did not observe contemporary developments in foreign lands and were often ignorant of past events in their own country. They dwelled on the irrelevant. 2 This was a fierce condemnation of the tradition of the Ottoman chroniclers, a tradition which, as contemporary historians do not ignore, was not as useless as Ali Kemal would like his readers to believe. However he was not one of those ordinary detractors of Ottoman classical culture, as were regularly seen among the westernised elite. His main concern was for the science of history, not the oriental origins of the Ottoman intellectual tradition. Ali Kemal did not only focus on Mehmed R a i d ' s lack of methodology, he also stressed that Mehmed R a i d ' s particular position in the Ottoman state hindered the chronicler from making proper researches. Quoting the nineteenth century historian Mehmed Ataullah §anizade, he argued that the role of chroniclers was not to uncover historical truth but to praise the rulers.3 This latter statement is quite important because it highlights that Ali Kemal believed that there was a need to study the historian, and the context of production of historiography before studying his facts, which was, even in the 1960's, a fervently debated issue.

'Ali Kemal, Rá§id: Müverrih Mi, §air Mi?, 86. Ibid. 3 Ibid., 20.

2

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Ali Kemal disapproved of Mehmed Râ§id's History on stylistic, linguistic, methodological grounds as well as reasons related to the position of the author and the context of production. Since there was a need to study national and international history, Ali Kemal argued that, in the meantime, Ottomans had to consult western sources. 1 Ali Kemal himself rewrote the history of the Era of the Tulips by using works written by European historians and reached conclusions completely opposite to those of Râ§id: îbrahim Pa§a had been an appalling administrator with selfish Epicurean tendencies. He ruined the country's finances, refused to face the geopolitical realities of his time and prevented the Sultan from seeing them. While he was in office, Christian states were competing in order to conquer the Ottoman realms. The rivalry between France, Prussia, Austria and Russia should have been an opportunity for the Empire. A capable and righteous ruler could have made use of those divisions in order to impose his own supremacy. 2 The Era of the Tulips was an era of missed opportunities due to bad rule and ignorance about Europe, the latter, still being, according to Ali Kemal, an important problem in his own day. In order to rewrite history, Ali Kemal referred to and quoted several western, mainly French, historians and writers of memoirs, such as Amable Jourdain, Vandal, the author of a French embassy report, the orientalists Stanley Lane-Poole and Léon Cahun, the historian Albert Sorel, and even the Russian philosopher Vladimir Soloviev. There were probably more but he was not always as strict as he should have been when indicating his sources and references. Ali Kemal commented and analysed the historical events that he was narrating based on his sources but he did not question the reliability of European historians. He did not apply the criteria he had strictly employed when studying Mehmed Râsid: He neither discussed nor questioned the authors' motivations or their status. He did not challenge the validity of their interpretations and their choices of focus or analyse their language. One could expect a more critical stance towards European writers and historians, since by 1918, there was already a proven practice of open or hinted criticism of orientalist literature. Both Namik Kemal and Ahmet Mithat Efendi had written rebuttals of Ernest Renan's views on Islam. Authors as diverse as isak Ferera Efendi, Orner Seyfettin and Ahmet Ha§im had questioned the real aims of orientalist writers, Pierre Loti in particular, and warned against the excessive praise their works were paid in Turkey.

1

Ihid„ 22. Ibid„ 24.

2

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However it would be wrong to argue that Ali Kemal was simply belittling the Ottoman tradition, in order to highlight the achievements of Western civilisation. While bringing to the fore Mehmet Ra§id's virtues as a poet, he praised the Ottoman divan tradition which had usually been denigrated by fellow reformists. He wrote about the eloquence and the evolution of the language of poetry and made contrasts with the stagnation of the language of prose. Focusing on Mehmed Ra§id, he wondered why the poet did not hesitate to criticisc whatever the chronicler had praised in his chronicles, though he could not find a satisfying explanation. Mehmed Ragid, and Nabi before him, introduced wisdom and philosophical sayings into Ottoman poetry, which were elements of the Greco-Arab heritage and were foreign to the Persian origins of Ottoman literature.1 Ali Kemal also pointed to interesting elements of intertextuality between Mehmed Ragid and the great tenth century Arab poet Mutanabbi 2 , thus recognising the positive input of the Arabo-Islamic tradition in Ottoman Turkish culture, an intellectual position that other advocates of European-type reforms would not have defended. Indeed, Ali Kemal was one of the most complex figures in late Ottoman cultural history, and he does not easily fit any categorisation. His works certainly deserve to be studied and analysed. His arguments about style, language, methodology and the context of production in Mehmed Ra§id's history were major issues in debates on history throughout the twentieth century. Hence he certainly deserves, at least, a notice in books telling the history of History.

l

Ibid„ 89-90.

2

Ibid„ 108.

6. L'HERITAGE SYMBOLISTE BELGE EN TURQUIE: EMILE VERHAREN ET AHMET HA§ÏM

L'influence française sur la littérature turque à partir de la deuxième moitié du dix-neuvième siècle est un sujet cher aux chercheurs dans le domaine des études de littérature comparée turque et française. Mais l'importance donnée à l'influence française a quelque peu voilé le fait que, durant certaines périodes, cette influence fut peut-être plus francophone que française. C'est vrai en particulier pour le Symbolisme, dont quelques-uns des représentants principaux furent Belges, Flamands francophones pour la plupart. De nombreux poètes turcs reconnaissent l'importance q u ' a eue la lecture des poètes symbolistes francophones sur leurs conceptions de la poésie. Il est certain que l'impact du Symbolisme belge d'expression française en Turquie est un sujet qui mérite une étude détaillée. Pour des raisons de temps et de place, je me focaliserai dans ma contribution avant tout sur les relations entre les textes théoriques d'Emile Verhaeren (1855-1916), peut-être bien le principal représentant du Symbolisme belge, et ceux du poète turc Ahmet Ha§im (1884-1933), auteur en 1926 d ' u n manifeste symboliste intitulé « Quelques pensées sur la poésie » (§iir Hakkinda Ba/.i Mulâhazalar). La première question à aborder est celle de l'existence d'un Symbolisme belge avec des caractéristiques distinctes du Symbolisme français. Cette question est inévitable, car de nombreux critiques littéraires et historiens de la littérature turque, qui ont parlé de l'influence littéraire française sur le développement de la littérature turque, ignorent ou nient une telle particularité : Par exemple, Agâh Sirri Levend évoquait les deux poètes flamands Georges Rodenbach (1855-1898) et Emile Verhaeren dans son cours de littérature sur le Servet-i FUnûn et les qualifiait de « poètes français de Belgique » ( B e l ç i k a h f r a n s i z sairleri). 1 Il aurait pu parler de poètes francophones (frankofon çairler) ou bien de poètes écrivant en français (Fransizca yazan çairler). De même, beaucoup plus récemment, le poète et critique Hilmi Yavuz mentionna les mêmes poètes avec Albert Samain (18581900) et Henri de Régnier (1864-1936) et les appela « poètes français symbolistes ou post-symbolistes ayant influencé Ahmet Ha§im ». Cette ^Agâh Sirri Levend, Edebiyat Dersleri: Serveti Fiinûn Edebiyati, Istanbul :Kanaat, 1938 : 354. La citation exacte est comme suit: " Ahmet Hagim'in, bajta Henri de Régnier olmak uzere, Albert Samain, Rodenbach ve Verhaeren gibi Sembolist ya da Post-Sembolist Fransiz gairlerinden etkilendigi biliniyor. " http://www.zaman.com.tr/2002/04/24/yazarlar/hilmiyavuz.htm

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approche est compréhensible et n'est certainement pas limitée aux critiques littéraires turcs. L'académicien belge Joseph Hanse (1902-1992), dans un article intitulé « Littérature, nation et langue », publié en 1964, affirmait que : Un écrivain de Belgique ou de Suisse, si sa langue est celle de la communauté littéraire française, appartient en principe à celle-ci. Il est trop proche de la France, trop soumis à ses influences, trop imprégné de sa culture et de ses traditions, trop attentif aux mouvements de la pensée et des lettres à Paris pour ne pas se rapprocher de l'esprit français et de ne pas s'intégrer dans la littérature française. Il est dans le même cas qu'un écrivain du Midi ou du Jura ou de Normandie.1 Cette vision des choses qui transforme la Belgique en une province littéraire de Paris n ' a pas empêché les critiques et les historiens de la littérature de reconnaître l'originalité et l'importance de l'apport belge au développement des lettres françaises, en particulier en ce qui concerne le m o u v e m e n t symboliste. Paul Gorceix, un des grands spécialistes du Symbolisme, va m ê m e j u s q u ' à affirmer que les poètes symbolistes belges «répondent si pleinement à l'idée qu'on se forme du Symbolisme que l'on a pu dire parfois que ce mouvement avait pour berceau ce pays entre Ardennes et Mer du Nord.» 2 Cependant les sources d'inspiration des symbolistes belges et les traditions philosophiques et littéraires qui nourrissaient leur poésie étaient souvent extérieures à la tradition française. Ils étaient plus cosmopolites que les Français. Leur éclectisme s'exprimait entre autre par la lecture de philosophes, penseurs et poètes allemands, que se fussent des romantiques tels que Novalis (1772-1801) ou bien le chantre du p e s s i m i s m e A r t h u r Schopenhauer (1788-1860). Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949) reconnaissait aussi l'importance qu'eut la lecture du mystique flamand Jan van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381) pour son évolution personnelle. Par ailleurs les œuvres des symbolistes belges étaient ancrées dans les réalités de leur temps, ce qui n'était pas le cas des œuvres des symbolistes français. Emile Verhaeren, Maurice Maeterlinck, Georges Rodenbach, Charles Van Lerberghe (1861-1907), Albert Mockel (1866-1945) et M a x E l s k a m p (1862-1931) étaient

liés

par

plus

que la géographie et la culture. Ils

1Joseph Hanse," Littérature, nation et langue " Bulletin de l'Académie royale de langue et littérature française, 2,1983 : 16. 2 Paul Gorceix, "Le Symbolisme en Belgique", Septentrion; Revue de culture néerlandaise, 2, 1983 : 40.

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s'engagèrent en faveur du mouvement ouvrier et accordèrent un soutien concret au Parti Ouvrier Belge. Le Parti Ouvrier Belge était un parti socialiste hétérogène, fondé en 1885 qui, à sa fondation, avait comme objectif principal la lutte pour le suffrage universel. Verhaeren, par exemple, donna plusieurs conférences à la Maison du Peuple à Bruxelles et clama haut et fort en 1891 qu' « il n'y a[vait] plus aujourd'hui, en dehors de soldats, que deux sortes de héros : Le poète qui rêv[ait] et le révolutionnaire qui renvers[ait]».' Les grands noms du Symbolisme belge partagèrent son engagement en faveur d'une politique sociale progressiste et de la liberté artistique. Max Elskamp et Maurice Maeterlinck, ainsi que Verhaeren, écrivirent des textes pour les diverses publications du Parti. Tous soutinrent les mouvements sociaux de 1893. Maeterlinck alla même jusqu'à financer partiellement les grèves en faveur du suffrage universel. Elskamp cultiva de proches contacts avec les milieux artisans flamands. Van Lerberghe fut un des membres les plus actifs du comité Zola lors de l'affaire Dreyfus et Rodenbach, bien que moins engagé, témoigna ici et là de son soutien pour les luttes socialistes. Cet engagement à gauche des symbolistes belges contrastait tout à fait avec le désengagement et le désintérêt pour la chose politique des symbolistes français. On ne peut donc discuter du Symbolisme belge sans tenir compte de son engagement pour le mouvement ouvrier. 11 s'explique d'une part par les conditions sociales particulières en Belgique mais aussi, je pense, par le fait que le Parti Ouvrier Belge ait été un parti non-dogmatique encourageant le développement de politiques artistiques d'avant-garde. La position du parti peut être résumée par les paroles inspirées et inspiratrices de Verhaeren «l'art et le peuple ont pour l'instant le même ennemi : la bourgeoisie réactionnaire.» 2 Donc il nous faut compter outre le cosmopolitisme nordique, l'engagement politique à gauche parmi les caractéristiques du Symbolisme belge. La plupart des critiques en Turquie ignorent ce deuxième aspect, or il est certain que cette particularité doit au moins être notée en préambule de toute étude sur l'influence du Symbolisme belge, d'autant plus que la majorité des poètes turcs qui ont subi l'influence du Symbolisme francophone, tels que Cenap Çehabettin (1870-1934), Necip Fazil Kisakiirek (1905-1983), Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar (1901-1962) et Yahya Kemal Beyath (1884-1958) étaient de tendance conservatrice. Ahmet Haçim resta politiquement plutôt neutre, ce qui lui fut souvent reproché, tout comme Cahit Sitki Taranci (1910-1956). Leur neutralité, tout comme le conservatisme politique des précédents contraste avec le progressisme affirmé de l'avant-garde symboliste belge.

1 Aurore Boraczek " Rêver et renverser : Symbolisme et socialisme belge " Histoire de la littérature belge francophone 1830-2000, Paris : Fayard, 2003 : 171. 2 Ibid„ 171.

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Deux poètes turcs en particulier ont reconnu l'importance des poètes symbolistes belges dans leurs développements poétiques respectifs : l'un n'étant pas un poète symboliste, Yahya Kemal ; l'autre ayant écrit de nombreux textes sur le Symbolisme et ayant même composé un véritable manifeste symboliste, Ahmet Hasim. Il serait plus juste de chercher les origines de la quête de Yahya Kemal pour ce qu'il appelait la « poésie pure » (saf §iir) dans les œuvres de Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) et Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) que dans les écrits des symbolistes à proprement parler. D'ailleurs une des particularités du Symbolisme français, sa préoccupation unique avec l'art et son insistance sur le fait que la littérature ne pouvait avoir d'intérêt documentaire, ni de rôle social ou de responsabilité morale n'était pas compatible avec la quête de Yahya Kemal. Ce dernier n'était pas seulement à la recherche de l'art pur, mais aussi d'une expression nationale de l'art, à une époque où était redéfinie, peutêtre bien réinventée l'identité turque. Néanmoins, cela n'empêcha pas Yahya Kemal d'évoquer, dans ses écrits, l'impact du Symbolisme belge sur sa poésie, en particulier des œuvres poétiques d'Emile Verhaeren et de Maurice Maeterlinck. Dans un long entretien, publié par son confident Hüseyin Sami Sermet en 1959, il expliquait que c'est après avoir analysé les Serres Chaudes de Maurice Maeterlinck qu'il se mit en quête d'un langage poétique qui fût à la fois « claire et mystérieux ». II aurait travaillé sur le poème « Le regard » (Nazar) de 1912 à 1916 en tenant compte de ses méditations sur le sujet. 1 Dans un article autobiographique, où il résumait sa carrière poétique, Yahya Kemal écrivait qu'il considérait Verhaeren et Maeterlinck comme étant les derniers représentants de la « poésie personnelle ». 2 Ce que Yahya Kemal entendait par poésie personnelle est loin d'être clair et il est frappant qu'il n'ait pas parlé de Verhaeren et Maeterlinck en tant que poètes symbolistes. Il est vrai que la clarté n'était pas une des caractéristiques principales des textes théoriques de Yahya Kemal sur la poésie et souvent il suggérait plus qu'il ne disait. Ainsi il n'existe aucune étude de Yahya Kemal au sujet des poètes symbolistes belges en particulier, ou bien même du Symbolisme en général. Bien qu'il se référât souvent à des poètes pré-symbolistes ou symbolistes tels que Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898) ou Jean Moréas (1856-1910) dans ses articles sur la poésie, il n'utilisait pratiquement j a m a i s le terme « symboliste » pour les qualifier.

P e r m e t Sami Uysal, Yahya Kemal'le Sohbetler, Istanbul : Kitap, 1959 : 49. ^Yahya Kemal Beyatli, " §iirde otuz senem ", Çocuklugum, Gençligim, Hâtiralanm, Istanbul: Yahya Kemal Enstitiisii, 1973 : 107.

Siyâsi ve

Edebi

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L a situation est différente dans le cas d ' A h m e t Ha§im : Il publia plusieurs articles sur la question — un article biographique sur Emile Verhaeren, publié en 1908 1 , un autre sur Henri de Régnier, publié en 1924 2 , son manifeste poétique intitulé « Quelques réflexions sur la poésie », qui constituait l'essai d'introduction de sa dernière collection de poèmes Piyâle (Le calice), publiée en 1926 3 , ainsi q u ' u n article critique d ' u n e importance capitale intitulé « L e s valeurs du S y m b o l i s m e » , publié en 1927. 4 A h m e t Ha§im consacra beaucoup de temps à l'étude du Symbolisme, mais Yahya Kemal, qui n'avait guère de sympathie pour Ha§im, mettait en question l'originalité et l'érudition de ce dernier. Il alla même j u s q u ' à affirmer en 1955, q u ' A h m e t Ha§im n'avait pas la moindre idée de ce qu'était le Symbolisme et qu'il lui avait emprunté l'idée de poésie pure. 5 Cette affirmation est assez douteuse. En 1908, alors que Yahya Kemal n'avait encore rien publié, Ahmet Ha§im tentait déjà de définir le Symbolisme dans son article sur Verhaeren. Verhaeren allait d'ailleurs jouer un rôle assez important dans ce que j'appellerai l'hagiographie d ' A h m e t Hasim. En effet, Verhaeren serait un des poètes q u ' A h m e t Haçim découvrit dans la série « Les poètes d ' a u j o u r d ' h u i », édité par Paul Léautaud et Adolphe Van Bever, qu'il lut en 1898 alors qu'il était encore lycéen. 6 D'autre part, Ha§im affirmait également que c'était, en partie, à Verhaeren (l'autre partie étant Henri de Régnier) qu'il devait l'utilisation d'un vers plus ou moins libre dans son poème « Cette cité» (O Belde). L'article consacré à Emile Verhaeren était avant tout biographique et est aujourd'hui sans grand intérêt pour qui a recours à des sources en français. Le poète y parlait « de ce charmant village [de Saint Amand] entouré de vastes plaines verdoyantes battues par le vent. 7 ». Le jeune Ahmet Ha§im ne faisait pas preuve d'originalité dans ses commentaires sur l'art de Verhaeren et se contentait de répéter ce que des critiques français avaient pu écrire avant lui à ce sujet, ce qui n'était pas inintéressant pour le lecteur de l'époque. Néanmoins, il est important de noter qu'Ahmet Hasim soulignait que c'était surtout la nuit qui était l'heure inspiratrice pour Verhaeren. 8 11 s'agit d ' u n jugement fort

^ Ahmet Ha§im, "Emile Verhaeren", Butiin Eserleri: Gurabahâne-i Laklakan, Diger Ed. Inci Enginiin & Zeynep Kerman, Istanbul: Dergâh, 1991 : 73-79.

Yazilari

Ahmet Ha§im, "Henri de Régnier" Biitun Eserleri: Gurabahâne-i Laklakan, Diger Yazilari, Ed Inci Enginiin & Zeynep Kerman, Istanbul: Dergâh, 1991 : 79-88. 3 Ahmet Haçim, "§iir Hakkinda Bazi Mulâhazalar", Piyâle, Istanbul: Ilhami,1926 : 4-13. Ahmet Ha§im, "Sembolizmin Kiymetleri", Biitun Eserleri: Gurabahâne-i Laklakan, Diger Yazilari, Ed. Inci Enginiin & Zeynep Kerman, Istanbul: Dergâh, 1991 : 292-296. p e r m e t Sami Uysal, Yahya Kemal'le Suhbetler, 49. °Asim Bezirci, Ahmet Ha§im, Istanbul: tnfalap, 1986 : 11 et 83. 'Ahmet Ha§im, "Emile Verhaeren", 74. S

Md, 77.

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discutable, mais qui est intéressant pour une autre raison. Le soir et la nuit étaient d'une importance capitale dans la poésie du Ha§im des premiers temps, beaucoup plus que dans celle du poète de Saint Amand. De ce fait, on pourrait dire que Ha§im insistait sur un aspect de la poésie de Verhaeren qui permettait aux lecteurs de faire un rapprochement entre Verhaeren et lui-même. Ce sont ses deux articles théoriques « Les valeurs du Symbolisme» et « Quelques réflexions sur la poésie » qui nous permettent de voir où se rencontrent et se séparent Verhaeren et Ha§im. « Les valeurs du Symbolisme » fut publié en réponse à un article du publiciste et critique Ali Canip, dans la revue Hayat (La vie), qui dévalorisait le Symbolisme et affirmait que celui-ci était un mouvement littéraire éphémère et superficiel. En réponse, Ahmet Hasim rejetait les critiques de l'intellectuel nationaliste et soulignait qu'il n'existait pas de définition unique du Symbolisme. Il tentait néanmoins de définir la poésie et affirmait, en se référant à Mallarmé, qu'elle était une mélodie qui exprimait l'idéal à travers l'harmonie et le symbole. 1 Pour Ha§im, le poète était une sorte de visionnaire qui vivait en dehors du t e m p s . 2 Dans « Quelques réflexions sur la poésie », Ahmet Ha§im s'attaquait au sens. Selon lui, le sens ne pouvait être le but de la poésie. La poésie pouvait tout au plus suggérer, la suggestion se faisant à l'aide de symboles. 3 Cette idée était d'ailleurs partagée par Verhaeren, qui écrivait dans un article sur le Symbolisme en 1887 qu'en poésie le symbole « n'[était] point démonstratif, il [était] suggestif ; il ruin[ait] toute contingence, tout fait, tout détail [...] . » 4 Pour Hasim, la poésie était censée être écoutée. C'était donc l'harmonie du poème, constituée par la sonorité et le pouvoir associatif des mots qui devait primer. 5 Verhaeren, quant à lui, insistait aussi sur l'importance de la musicalité du poème dans un article sur Leconte de Lisle, paru en 1894. 6 Ainsi, la poésie ne pouvait être comprise que par une minorité, affirmait Ha§im 7 , ce qui était confirmé par Verhaeren, qui lui écrivait en 1887 au sujet de Mallarmé, que la poésie de ce dernier s'adressait aux raffinés et aux délicats. 8

1

Ahmet Hagim, "Sembolizmin Kiymetleri", 294. Ibid„ 295. ^Ahmet Ha§im, "§iir Hakkinda Bazi Mulâhazalar", 4-13. ^Emile Verhaeren, "Le Symbolisme", De Baudelaire à Mallarmé, Ed. Paul Gorceix, Bruxelles : Editions Complexe, 2002 : 120. 5 Ahmet Ha§im, "§iir Hakkinda Bazi Mulâhazalar", 8. % m i l e Verhaeren, "Le vers prosodique et le vers libre", De Baudelaire à Mallarmé, Ed. Paul Gorceix, Bruxelles: Editions Complexe, 2002 : 109-110. 7 Ahmet Hagim, "§iir Hakkinda Bazi Mulâhazalar", 9. 8 E m i l e Verhaeren, "Le manuscrit", De Baudelaire à Mallarmé, Ed. Paul Gorceix, Bruxelles: Editions Complexe, 2002 : 97. 2

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Les points centraux du manifeste d'Ahmet Haçim étaient assez représentatifs du Symbolisme en général et il n'est donc pas étonnant qu'ils aient également été présentés trente ans plus tôt par Verhaeren, qui se réclamait de ce même mouvement. On ne peut donc pas parler avec certitude de l'influence théorique de Verhaeren sur Hasim. Mais, ce sont certaines divergences entre Verhaeren et Hagim qui sont tout particulièrement dignes d'intérêt. Dans son étude sur le Symbolisme, le poète turc insistait sur le fait que le Symbolisme n'était pas une nouveauté, mais qu'il existait une longue tradition symboliste : « En accordant tant d'importance au symbole, Mallarmé n'a pas développé une nouvelle théorie artistique. Tous les arts égyptiens, phéniciens et grecs, toutes les poésies occidentales et orientales furent symbolistes bien avant Mallarmé. »' Cela contredisait Verhaeren qui écrivait dans son court essai sur le Symbolisme que « [...1 le symbolisme actuel contrairement au symbolisme grec, qui était la concrétion de l'abstrait, sollicit[ait] vers l'abstraction du concret ». 2 En fait le but d'Ahmet Ha§im était de prouver que le Symbolisme avait des racines à la fois en Occident et en Orient, qu'il ne s'agissait pas d'une théorie littéraire importée, mais bien d'une théorie qui pouvait revendiquer des racines dans la culture ottomane. En effet, la tradition poétique mystique ottomane, cherchait, elle aussi, à voiler le visible pour atteindre la réalité, qui était au-delà de ce qui pouvait être perçu par les sens. D'ailleurs il est remarquable que dans son manifeste, Ha§im n'ait pas mentionné une seule fois le terme « Symbolisme », alors qu'en fait, il en fournissait une définition, qui aurait pu être revendiquée par n'importe quel poète symboliste francophone. A une époque où les débats sur la turcité et sa relation avec l'occidentalisation prônée par le gouvernement républicain secouaient les milieux intellectuels de la nouvelle Turquie, Ahmet Ha§im continuait sa quête pour un Symbolisme turco-ottoman. Dans le premier poème de sa collection symboliste « Le calice », il mentionnait le poète classique ottoman Fuzûli et celui qu'Aragon appelait le fou de Leyla, c'est à dire Medjoune, l'amant mythique et mystique des littératures islamiques. Ce poème d'ouverture où Ahmet Ha§im tentait d'illustrer sa conception du Symbolisme était en fait un manifeste pour un Symbolisme turc ottoman. Nombreux sont les critiques, d'hier et d'aujourd'hui, qui veulent voir en Ha§im le premier poète turc ayant parfaitement assimilé une conception «occidentale» de la poésie. Mais l'étude et la comparaison des textes 'Ahmet llaçim, "Sembolizmin Kiyraetleri", 295. Emile Verhaeren, "Le Symbolisme", 119.

2

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théoriques sur le Symbolisme de Ha§im et de Verhaeren semblerait montrer que la poétique d'Ahmet Hasim était avant tout le produit d'une tentative d'appropriation culturelle du Symbolisme. Ahmet Ha§im n'essayait pas d'occidentaliser la poésie turco-ottomane, il cherchait plutôt à « turquifier » le Symbolisme et à en revendiquer l'héritage oriental.

7. YAHYA KEMAL AND JEAN MOREAS : FROM IMITATION TO APPROPRIATION

After a nine-year stay in Paris, 26-year old Yahya Kemal (1884-1958) returned to Istanbul with a broad and rich intellectual background. However it is almost impossible to get hold of more or less objective information about his sojourn in the French capital. The sources used by researchers mainly consist of Yahya Kemal's rare autobiographical writings and of the essays, articles and memoirs written by authors such as Abdiilhak §inasi, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpmar, Cahit Tanyol and Sermet Sami Uysal, people that, in a way or another, were close to the poet and faithfully wrote down his every word. Even though their works are valuable sources of information, they mainly consist of the data that Yahya Kemal deemed useful to unveil about his years in Paris and thus contribute to the construction of the myth. Unfortunately, contemporary researchers, critics as well as historians of literature, have to base themselves on these texts when working on the career of Yahya Kemal. These texts reveal that Yahya Kemal enriched his own intellectual background by digesting different, sometimes conflicting, inlluences. For instance, he reflected on the traditionalist nationalism cultivated in the essays of Charles Maurras (1868-1941), the French nationalist thinker, and developed his own concept of "continuity" (imtidad), which plays such an important role in his poetic and prose works, by assimilating philosopher Henri Bergson (18591941)'s concept of "duration" (durée). However Maurras was a visceral opponent of Bergsonism. His opposition was not only due to his nauseous anti-Semitism, but also because he considered Bergson's philosophy to be a continuation of the romantic tradition that he, an advocate of French rationalism, could only condemn. Yahya Kemal however displayed an attitude that was quite representative of the Ottoman Turkish intellectual since the Tanzimat period and had an eclectic approach towards the western, mainly French, cultural heritage. He read the French authors, filtered their works and produced an original synthesis consisting of various intellectual strands. Synthesis is also one of the keywords of Yahya Kemal's poetry. The French poets that he studied and who, arguably, influenced him constitute a similarly eclectic list: Among them are Romantics, Parnassians and Symbolists, poets as diverse as Victor Hugo (1802-1885), Gérard de Nerval (1808-1855), Leconte de Lisle (1818-1894), Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), José-Maria de Hérédia (1842-1905), Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), Paul

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Verlaine (1844-1896), Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) and Jean Moréas (18561910). Sometimes it was their poetics, sometimes their themes that interested or inspired the young poet who was searching for his own way. Indeed interesting comparative studies could be made on Yahya Kemal's readings and interpretation of any of those poets and their possible influence on his own work. In this article, I will explore the relationship between Yahya Kemal and Jean Moréas, the author of the symbolist manifesto and later founder of the Roman School (Ecole romane) that declared war on Symbolism which he had helped to shape. There are two reasons to focus in particular on Moréas: To study Jean Moréas' influence on Yahya Kemal, since they met in Paris, and to discuss the origins of the Turkish poet's short-lived flirt with neo-Hellenism (Nev Yunanîlik), a little studied period in his literary development that shows how his attitude towards French poetry and thought changed over time. From Sermet Sami Uysal's standard biographical work A Life Dedicated to Poetry: Yahya Kemal Beyatli (§iire Adanmiç Bir Ya§am : Yahya Kemal Beyatli), we learn that Yahya Kemal recognized, during his history studies at the Ecole libre des sciences politiques, the necessity to study the development of Turkish identity over the centuries by focusing on history. 1 Moreover his teachers encouraged him to study Ottoman divân poetry with a new, maybe less biased, eye. 2 In his autobiographical sketches My Childhood, My Youth, Political and Literary Memories (Çocuklugum, Gençligim, Siyâsî ve Edebî Hâtiralarim), we read that, while in Paris, he went in search for a new poetic language and found it 3 and that, in 1906, he started to write a Turkish epic, which he was unable to finish. 4 Most sources on his life confirm that towards the end of his stay in the French capital, he had already become the National Poet, the term by which he is usually known in Turkish literary history. However, Yahya Kemal returned to Istanbul seduced by classical Greek and Latin literature and worked on the foundation of a literary movement faithfully bound to the "ideals of Mediterranean civilisation" and intended to publish the journal The Basin (Havza) in order to spread his views. 5 The person who carried Yahya Kemal away from the legendary plains of Malazgirt and Mohaç was none other than Jean Moréas, a French poet of Greek origin.

' Scrmct Sami Uysal, §iire Adarums Bir Ya$am : Yahya Kemal Beyatli, Istanbul: Yahya Kemal'i Sevenler Dernegi, 1998 : 104. 2 Ibid„ 105. Yahya Kemal Beyatli, f ocuklugum, Gengligim, Siyäsi ve Edebt Hätiralarim, Istanbul: Istanbul Fetih Cemiyeti, 1976 :108-110. 4 Ibid„ 103. 5 § e v k e t Toker provides well documented information about the neo-Hellenistic movement in Turkish literature in ijevkct Toker, "Edebiyatimizda Nev - Yunänilik Akimi". Ege Üniversitesi TiirkDili ve Edebiyati Aragtirmalari Dergisi.l, 1982 : 135-63.

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Yahya Kemal's attitude towards Jean Moréas changed over time and wc can talk of two distinct periods: During the first stage, Y a h y a Kemal just applied word for word Moréas' classicist vision, which became known as the neo-Hellenistic movement in Turkish literature, or more correctly, in the f o o t n o t e s of T u r k i s h literature. T h e second stage was the stage of appropriation. Yahya Kemal questioned the French poet's ideas, extracted their basic premises, and developed his own poetry as an expression of Ottoman Turkish nationalism in contrast to Morcas' nco-classicism, which was an artistic expression of French nationalism. Throughout his career as a poet, Yahya Kemal's aesthetic quest was always underpinned by a culturalist agenda. It is not clear when Yahya Kemal met Jean Moréas l'or the first time. Abdülhak §inasi writes in Farewell

to Yahya Kemal (Yahya K e m a l ' e Veda)

that Yahya Kemal met Moréas at the legendary Café Vachette in the Quartier Latin. 1 The Turkish poet's autobiographic sketches also provide interesting information on the state of his relationship with Moréas: Towards 1910, during an evening, my friend Hyppolyte Stamos and myself went to Jean Moréas' corner in the Café Vachette. We absent-mindedly mentioned Paul Verlaine and Stéphane Mallarmé's names. Master Moréas continued his talk on Racine and Sophocles without even an evocation of the great names that we had just pronounced. We even asked ourselves whether he was feigning ignorance or inattention. After we left Moréas, a friend of ours, who was well acquainted with the thinking and speaking habits of this circle, told us that Moréas denigrated Verlaine and Mallarmé and he was estranged from them, even though, twenty years earlier, they had been friends. He explained that their names were never mentioned in his talks and that a youth who pronounced their names in his circle would be considered a frivolous novice, which distressed us. 2 The above passage shows us that Yahya Kemal was ignorant of Moréas' ways until 1910. Moréas' stubbornness and despotic disposition was well known to literary Paris. Y a h y a K e m a l ' s naïve intervention during Moréas' talk shows how little he knew about Moréas. If, as claimed by Abdülhak §inasi Hisar, Yahya Kemal met Jean Moréas several times a day 3 , meaning that he was quite close to him, this could only have happened after the above related event, that is a few months before Moréas' death and two years before Yahya Kemal's return to Istanbul. The above excerpt includes another important piece of information: In 1910 Jean M o r é a s was still an uncompromising defender of the classical Greco-Latin tradition. 1 Abdülhak Çinasi Hisar, Yahya Kemal'e Vedâ, Istanbul: Hilmi Kitabevi, 1959: 15. ^Beyatli, Çocuklugum, Gençligim, Siyâsîve EdebîHâtiralarim, 114-115. 3 H i s a r , Yahya Kemal'e Vedâ, 15.

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In his article Poetry in France (Fransa'da §iir), Yahya Kemal argued that M o r é a s ' approach was a kind of nco-Parnassism. 1 However this is an insufficient definition. No doubt, Yahya Kemal, who became a regular listener of Moréas' talks, could not have ignored that Moréas' definition of literature was far beyond the Parnasse. The Parnassians advocated art for art's sake. Formal perfection and the reflection in poetry of objective beauty were some of the main stands of the Parnasse, a movement that emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century. The poet's personality and identity had to disappear because the absolute aim was the creation of pure poetry. In France, the Parnasse was a reaction against everything represented by Romanticism. However the French Roman School (Ecole Romane Française), founded by Jean Moréas, was a an openly ideological movement. On 14 September 1891, he published a letter in the Figaro newspaper which had all the characteristics of a manifesto. 2 He argued that the French Roman School was advocating the Greco-Latin principle which was the f u n d a m e n t a l principle of French literature. Romanticism, and its Parnassian, Naturalist and Symbolist offspring, had cut off the links with the Greco-Latin heritage. The Roman School aimed at re-establishing those links. There was a need for frank poetry, that was vigorous and new. Poetry had to return to its roots, in M o r é a s ' words, to "the purity and the dignity of its ancestry." Poets such as Maurice du Plessys, Raymond de la Tailhède, Ernest Raynaud and the critic Charles Maurras had come to him because they found in his works "the aspirations of their race and their common Roman ideal." *Yahya Kemal Beyath, "Fransa'da §iir", Çocuklugum, Gençligim, Siyâsîve Edebt Hâtiralarim, Istanbul: Istanbul Fetih Cemiyeti, 1976:115. 9 The French text of the lctter is as follows: "Monsieur le Rédacteur, Le Figaro de ce matin m'attribue au sujet de " L'Ecole romane française "une conversation dont je ne saurais assumer les termes violents. Vous me permettrez donc de donner en quelques mots les éclaircissements que voici: "L'Ecole romane française " revendique le principe gréco-latin, principe fondamental des Lettres françaises qui florit aux XI', XII' et XIII' siècles avec nos trouvères, au XVI' avec Ronsard et son école, au XVII' avec Racine et La Fontaine. Aux XIV' et XV' siècles, ainsi qu'au XVIII' siècle, le principe gréco-latin cesse d'être une source vive d'inspiration et ne se manifeste que par la voix de quelques excellents poètes tels que Guillaume de Machault, Villon et André Chénier. Ce fut le Romantisme qui altéra ce principe dans la conception comme dans le style, frustrant ainsi les Muses françaises de leur héritage légitime. Je ne puis m'étendre davantage sur cela dans cette courte lettre; je dirai seulement que " L'Ecole romane française " renoue la " chaîne orallique "rompue par le Romantisme et sa descendance parnassienne, naturaliste et symboliste. J'ai déjà expliqué ailleurs pourquoi je me sépare du Symbolisme que j'ai un peu inventé. Le Symbolisme, qui n'a eu que l'intérêt d'un phénomène de transition, est mort. Il nous faut une poésie franche, vigoureuse et neuve, en un mot, ramenée à la pureté et à la dignité de son ascendance. C'est dans ce noble but que les poètes Maurice du Plessys, Raymond de La Tailhède, Ernest Raynaud et le savant critique Charles Maurras sont venus à moi, non en " escorte ", mais pour avoir trouvé dans mon Pèlerin passionné les aspirations de leur race et notre commun idéal de " Romanité ". Je finirai en disant que quant à feu Jules Laforgue, je ne pense pas que plus outrecuidés adversaires aient jamais songé à me l'opposer sérieusement. Veuillez agréer, etc. JEAN MORÉAS." (Http://www.maldoror.org/UdeM/Fra3024/Manifestes/Mor%E9as-Ecole%20Romane.htm)

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Contrary to what was claimed by Ahmed Hamdi Tanpmar in Yahya Kemal, his study of the life and works of his mentor 1 , Jean Moréas was, ideologically speaking, not that far from Charles Maurras' later racist glorification of French classicism. According to Moréas, the Greco-Latin ideal was the art form the French "race" was yearning for. By squeezing concepts such as "purity and dignity of ancestry" and "race" into a 100-word manifesto, Moréas emphasized that his literary project did have a radical nationalistic dimension. The French Roman School was positioning itself against the barbarians and its founder condemned the major trends in contemporary French poetry, in particular the influence of Germanic cosmopolitism and pessimism. The French Roman School aimed at founding a healthy poetry and was rooted in order, strength and light. When the young Moréas had arrived in Paris, he had started to study ancient French poetry. He found the enlightened language that he was looking for in the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth century poetry as well as in the works of François Villon (1431-?), Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585), Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695), Jean Racine (1639-1699) and the Istanbul-born André Chénier (1762-1794). Poetry, for Moréas, was above all a language issue. Even during his decadent and symbolist periods, he had been searching and trying to reconstruct what he called the "classical language". Hence the French Roman School was the literary interpretation that he had been searching for throughout his life. Two central beliefs animated the School: The search for the classical or "white" language of poetry and the belief that art could be the expression of the "national soul". These two elements were also the main components of Yahya Kemal's art, according to the official Turkish literature textbooks: the study of the Ottoman Turkish literary past and the expression of its artistic principles in poetry. But in 1912, when he returned from Paris, Yahya Kemal was not talking about Turkishness or Ottomanness: He arrived in Istanbul advocating the principles of neo-Hellenism (Nev-Yunanilik), which were quite close to the tenets of the French Roman School. With Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu (1889-1974), he planned to publish a journal to spread neo-Hellenistic ideas, but, unsurprisingly in view of the situation in the Balkans and the tensions with Greece, did not find the necessary financial support. During the years 1913-1914, Yahya Kemal, with the pen-name of Siileyman Sadi, published a regular column entitled "Conversation under the pines", in the literary supplement of Ali Kemal's newspaper Peyâm (The News) where he 1

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, Yahya Kemal, Istanbul: Dergâh Yaymlan, 1995: 59.

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discussed his ideas on neo-Hellenism. There were nine such articles and it is striking that Yahya Kemal continued to publish on the matter even after the Balkan Wars (1912-13). A closer look at these texts shows that, for Yahya Kemal, neo-Hellenism was not only a literary but also a cultural project with political consequences. In those years Yahya Kemal was practicing both Jean Moréas' poetics and his politics. In later years, however, Yahya Kemal would explain that his only aim had been to reclaim the Greek and Roman literary heritage and to develop new Turkish poetry in that particular framework. In an interview he gave to Hasan Ali Yiicel for his work From. Our Literary History (Edebiyat Tarihimizden), Yahya Kemal argued that, since the Greco Latin heritage was the basis of European literature, neo-Hellenism was a necessity to europeanise Turkish literature. 1 His project was not only poetical, but also political: It was a continuation of Jean M o r é a s ' French R o m a n School. In this interview, he also explained that his aim was to switch f r o m Iran to Yunan, or classical Greece. According to him, Turkish geography was partly the inheritor of the Greek heritage and it had been religion that had impeded the survival of that heritage. 2 This approach to religion is not without similarities to the approach of neo-classicists such as Maurras. They too considered Christianity, to a certain extend, as a foreign element, moreover Semitic, that was a stain on classical purity. This was a period of time, when Islam and Ottoman civilisation constituted a serious problem for Yahya Kemal's neo-Hellenistic project. That was not surprising because Ottoman M u s l i m s belonged to the eastern Barbarian races. However, Yahya Kemal believed he could solve the issue by repudiating the heritage of Ottoman Islamic culture. In an article published in the literary supplement of The News (Peyâm) on 13 February 1914, he wrote a review of Mehmet Tevfik Pa§a's Greek Mythology (Esâtir-i Yunânîyan), where he argued that: We will wake up, just like the children.of Germanic, Gothic, Vandalic, Lombardian and Celtic nomads who settled on the lands of the Gods after the death of the Nazarene Messiah. We reached those lands after them. Just like they continued to cherish their barbaric civilisation until their period of awakening, so have our ancestors cherished Asian civilisation. 3

' Hasan Ali Yiicel, Edebiyat Tarihimizden, Istanbul: Iletigim Yayinlari, 1989: 255. Z

aIbid„ 255.

- Yahya Kemal Beyatli, "Bir Kitah-i Esâtir", Edebiyâta Dair, Istanbul: Istanbul Fetih Cemiyeti, 1984: 173.

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Yahya Kemal drew a parallel between his own ancestors and the barbaric Germanic and Celtic tribes. Neo-Hellenism required Muslim Turks to bur) their own civilisation. Yahya Kemal, just like Moréas, appropriated the Greek discourse on the division of the world between civilised and barbaric people: Whoever is not Hellenic is barbarian, but it is possible to become civilised through hellenisation. Though, in the above article, Yahya Kemal was still implying that the Ottomans had to wake up, he wrote four months later, on 6 June 1914, in the same column that the awakening had actually taken place. He argued that Istanbul during the era of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror was the continuation of Greco-Latin civilisation. 1 However Turks not being Hellenic or Roman was still a problem at the time for young Yahya Kemal. On the 20 t h April he had tried to solve this issue by arguing that the Etruscans originated from Asia and shared some of the traits of nomadic Turkic people: They drank mare's milk and played the rebab, the ancient three-stringed violin. Rome, according to Yahya Kemal, was their work. 2 These cultural closeness implied that ancient Turks may not have been that far from the Etruscans, that mysterious people that civilised Rome. At the time Yahya Kemal was developing these ideas, he also wrote poems that were reflecting the neo-Hellenistic ideal. However, we learn from Hisar's Farewell to Yahya Kemal, that the poet destroyed all the poems that he wrote while in Paris, which probably also included part of his neoHellenistic works. Among the neo-Hellenistic poems that reached us are "The Daughters of Sicily" (Sicilya Kizlari), "The Women of Biblos" (Biblos Kadinlan), which is an adaptation in Turkish of José Maria de Hérédia's sonnet "The Awakening of a God (Le réveil d'un dieu), and several verses from unfinished poems. 3 These works shared linguistic and thematic similarities as he drew on his knowledge of Greco-Latin civilisation in order to compose inspired evocations of Greek and Roman mythology. These poems were a continuation in Turkish of the neo-classical poetic universe of André Chénier, José Maria de Hérédia and Jean Moréas. Spelling out Hérédia's name in this particular context is problematic. Jean Moréas had no love lost for the Cuban poet. But the latter had, nonetheless, a particular importance in Yahya Kemal's journey of literary 1 Yahya Kemal Beyatli, "Çamlar Altinda Musâhabe", Aziz Istanbul, Istanbul: Istanbul Fetih Cemiyeti, 1992: 89-96. 2 Yahya Kemal Beyatli, "Çamlar Altmda Musâhabe", Mektuplar, Makaleler, Istanbul: Istanbul Fetih Cemiyeti, 1990: 245.

% i s unfinished poems and various fragments are collected in Yahya Kemal Beyatli, Bitmerniç giirler, Istanbul: Istanbul Fetih Cemiyeti, 1997.

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discovery. He wrote that he had discovered the "original mine" of poetry when reading Hérédia.1 According to Yahya Kemal, Hércdia's poetry was pure and sincere. But most importantly, he realised the need to study the sources of Hérédia's poetry. He discovered the "white language" of classical Greek and Latin poetry and went in search for its equivalent in Ottoman divân poetry. Neo-Hellenistic poetry had to be written with that white language and he went even as far as to argue that white Turkish was the continuation of white Greek and white Latin. In a column, he imagined a neo-Hellenistic Istanbul during the era of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, an era when Turkish had become the universal language of science and culture, when Italians, Germans, Spaniards and French people wrote poetry in Turkish, but a poetry that formally and thematically was the continuation of Greek and Roman poetry.2 He published this article in June 1914. Even though he was still dreaming about an Hellenic Ottoman empire, an important evolution had taken place since Turkish had become the universal language of culture. In the coming weeks Yahya Kemal would completely renounce his neo-Hellenistic dreams and cut the umbilical cord that still linked him to Moréas' heritage. He would still go in search for the sources of poetry, but the origin of those sources had changed. They were not the classical Greco-Latin past, but the Ottoman Turkish heritage. In With the Breeze of Ancient Poetry (Eski §iirin Rtizgâriyle), he rcinvigorated Ottoman divân poetry and its "white language". Moreover the poems that were later to be included in his work Our Own Dome of Sky (Kendi Gôk Kubbemiz) were full of religious and cultural references to Ottoman Islamic civilisation. Such poems would have had no place in the neo-Hellenistic civilisation dreamt of by the French neo-classicists, but they were the product of a concurring civilisational project. It was meaningful that this should have happened just before the start of World War I. Yahya Kemal finally renounced to imitate Jean Moréas and the cultural values that he represented, and appropriated - adapted and subverted- Moréas' principles, thus producing his own cultural project, a few weeks before fighting began between Ottoman Turkey and France.

^ Bey all I, Çocuklugum, Gençligim, Siyâsîve Edebî Hâttralarim, 108. ^Beyatii, "Çamlar Altinda Musâhabe", Aziz Istanbul, 93.

8. LOVE IN THE POETRY OF THE FIVE SYLLABISTS In 1914, Ziya Gokalp (1876-1924) gave a series of influential lectures on the language and meter of "national poetry" at Bilgi Dernegi (The Knowledge Society) in Istanbul, a meeting point for the nationalist intelligentsia. Among others, Gokalp argued that the hece, the meter of folk poetry was the only true national meter and that the language of literature should be simplified and modelled on the language spoken by — Istanbul hanimlari — the ladies of Istanbul. A group of young poets who had attended the lectures or read reviews about them in the main cultural journals of the time decided to abandon the metrical prosody and their literary elitism in order to support the nationalist cause in literature. Among them were five poets, Orhan Seyfi (Orhon) (1890-1972), Halit Fahri (Ozansoy) (1891-1971), Enis Behi§ (Koryiirek) (1892-1949), Yusuf Ziya (Orta?) (1895-1967) and Faruk Nafiz (Camhbel) (1898-1973), for whom the critic I. Habib Seviik later coined the term Five Syllabists (Be§ Hececi). 1 It is not clear on which literary criteria Seviik based himself when selecting these five poets in particular. During roughly the same period of time, other poets too such as §ukufe Nihal (18961973), Halide Nusret (Zorlutuna) (1901-1984), Ahmet Kutsi (Tecer) (19011967) and obviously Ziya. Gokalp and Mehmet Emin (Yurdakul) (1869-1944) were writing with the syllabic meter. A possible explanation is that the Five Syllabists constituted a suitable sample of the literary development of the period (1914-1930) in which they were most prominent. Most critics and historians of literature share this view and deal with them collectively. 2 The Five Syllabists published their poems in the same journals, such as, Yeni Mecmua (The New Journal, 1917-18), Neclim (The Friend, 1919) and §air (The Poet, 1919), the latter being edited by Yusuf Ziya. However it is doubtful that they considered themselves as a literary group. They had no common literary manifesto, issued no collective declarations and did not attempt to publish a collective collection of poems or their own journal. Their poetry shared a common concern for folk culture and for the people living in the Anatolian mainland. They wrote poetry in an unsophisticated straightforward language based on the Istanbul dialect and used motifs from a mystical work, which contained verses that had been apparently revealed to him by Qedik?i Siileyman (Jelebi (d.1700 ?), a member of the mystical Mevlevi Order, during spiritualistic sessions (Tuncer, Be§ Hececiler, 73-4). ^Mehmet Onal, Yusuf Ziya Ortag: Hayati ve Eserleri, Ankara: Kiiltiir ve Turizm Bakanhei B 1986:31. ' 2 See for instance: H. Fethi Gcizler, Ornekli ve Uygulamali Hece Vezni ve Hecenin B e j goiri: Tarihi Tekamulu : Aruz Hece Tarti§masi, Istanbul: Inkilap, 1980. Huseyin Tuncer, Be$ Hececiler, Izmir: Akademi, 1994. Osman Kocahanoglu, Millt Edebiyat Hareketi ve Bes Hececiler, Istanbul: Toker, 1976.

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folk poetry. They were inspired by folk tales and tried to describe life in Anatolia. They also wrote patriotic poems in order to support the National Liberation War (1919-1923). Even their more personal poems, either describing a relationship between the poet and nature or his fear of death, included patriotic motifs. Theirs was an engaged poetry, a poetry with a purpose. However, only a superficial reading of their poetry can lead to Turgut Uyar's claim that their poetry reminds of the French Parnassian poet Sully Prud'homme (1839-1907), whom he seems to know only through his nationalist verses. 1 The context in which they write and the need to invent "national literature" make their endeavours closer to the aims of nationalist writers in Asia and Africa than to Sully Prud'homme's jingoistic agenda. Even though the Five Syllabists never went as far as defining the Ottoman Empire as a colonising force and, in contradistinction to Gokalp, considering Anatolia to have been colonised, they had issues to consider that were similar to those dealt by post-colonial authors. In both cases, the concept of National Literature had to be re-invented. In post-colonial societies the proponents of National Literature had to deal with the issue of literary continuity being interrupted by the arrival of colonial powers and the following imposition of a foreign language and culture. In Ottoman Turkey, it was the Ottoman Turkish intellectuals who started to reject the Ottoman literary heritage in the second half of the nineteenth century and gradually developed a discourse that estranged the Ottoman literary past. However, the focus on and depiction of Anatolia in the works of the Five Syllabists, novel though it was, had little to do with Anatolian realities, since only Faruk Nafiz and Enis Behig had a direct experience of Anatolian life. Faruk Nafiz had been sent to Anatolia by his newspaper ileri (Forward) in 1922, in order to cover the National Liberation War. Unsurprisingly some of his Anatolian verses were less romantic and much more naturalist than those of his fellow poets. He depicted the harsh reality of the peasant faced with a hostile environment, a reality that he had directly witnessed. The lack of direct experience of Anatolia was not the only paradox of the syllabist group. Though they are remembered as the Five Syllabists, four of them continued to write poetry with the metrical prosody of the divan tradition. All of them but Yusuf Ziya regularly switched back to the aruz.2 'lurgut Uyar, Bir giirden, Istanbul: Ada, 1982:47. ^Enis BehiQ too had remained faithful to the syllabic meter. After a failed attempt to become MP for the western Black Sea industrial town of Zonguldak in 1946, he gave up both politics and poetry. In 1949, however, he published The Inspirations of Suleyman (Varidfit-i Stileyman),

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This was not due to a lack of ideological commitment. By 1923 the nationalist view of literature had imposed itself. A relative realism, an emphasis on national realities and a straightforward poetic language had become the trademarks of the poetry of the period. Those who continued to use the aruz for purely ideological purposes were few. Politically, they were either silent or silenced: Cenap §ahabettin (1870-1934) was discredited by his open support for the Sultan and the occupation forces and he naively tried to regain some credibility by writing lavish praises for Mustafa Kemal. Ahmet Ha§im (1884-1933) stopped publishing poetry after 1926 and was, in any case, one of the most apolitical poets of the period. Y a h y a Kemal (Beyath) (1884-1958) praised the syllabic meter as one form of expression of national poetry, though he continued to write with the aruz. "The syllabic meter and the metrical prosody are two related streams. They flow in parallel like the Euphrates and the Tigris and finally merge in national memory", he wrote conciliatorily in "Vezinler" (Meters), an article published in Dergah

on 5

February 1922. 1 Mehmet Akif (Ersoy) (1873-1936), for whom the aruz was not only a meter but the poetical expression of Islamic unity, became a persona-non-grata

in the Turkish Republic because of his Islamic militancy

and went into exile in Egypt in 1925. Moreover, Nazim Hikmet (Ran) (1901-1963) and Ercilment Behzat (Lav) (1903-1984) were attracting a lot of attention by publishing first instances of free verse. After the supremacy of the aruz, these poets were now questioning the pre-eminence of the hece. Since Yusuf Ziya was the only one of the Five Syllabists who continued to ardently support the exclusive use of the hece, he virulently attacked in the columns of his journal Qnaralti (Under the Plane-Tree), a new generation of poets with socialist and internationalist sympathies who dreamt of freeing both the working class and poetry f r o m every form of oppression. In 1941, he wrote: Literature is in a crisis. For how many years has Turkish poetry been convulsively searching for novelty, difference and beauty? The meter has been cut into slices by the fingers of surgeons. Rhymes are grovelling on the floor like torn out hairs. And the meaning consists of delirious nonsense tainted by the redness of a bloody world.

' Yahya Kemal Beyath, "Vezinler", Edehiyata Dair, Istanbul: Istanbul Fetih Cemiyeti, 1971: 110. ^Quoted in §ukran Kurdakul, £agda$ Turk Edebivati 3: Cumhuriyet Donemi i. Ankara: Bilgi, 1994:44.

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Despite Yusuf Ziya's persistence and the undeniable talents of a younger generation of syllabists, namely A h m e t Hamdi T a n p m a r (19011962), Necip Fazil Kisakurek (1905-1983), Cahit Sitki Taranci (1910-1956) and Fazil Hiisnii Daglarca (b.1914), the syllabic meter lost much of its exclusiveness and became, just like the aruz, a possible, maybe obsolete, choice for the poet, since younger poets opted for the free verse. T h e Five Syllabists

published not less than 43 collections of poems, but only two of

them are easily available today in bookshops in Turkey. These are anthologies of poems by Faruk Nafiz: Han Duvarlari

(The Walls of the Inn) and Bir

Omiir Boyle Gegti (Thus a Life Passed). It is only in 2002, that Yapi Kredi publishing house published Faruk N a f i z ' s complete poems Gurbet ve Toplu §iirler

Saire:

(Exile Etc.: Complete Poems). While a month rarely passes

without several new articles published about Yahya Kemal and Nazim Hikmet, both of them contemporaries of the Five Syllabists,

the latter remain

to a great extent ignored by writers and researchers. Few readers of poetry remember their poems, but everybody remembers the meter they used, for their message was in the meter they chose. The theme of love in the poetry of the Five

Syllabists

Since love is one of the major themes in the various genres of Turkish folk poetry, it is not surprising that the theme should have such a central role in the poetry of the Five Syllabists. Enis Behi§ pointed to the links that exist between folk poetry, the syllabic meter and the theme of love in "Bir Eski Bahis Aruz - Hece" (An Ancient Debate: Metrical Prosody and Syllabic Meter), an article published in the journal Varlik (Existence) on 1 s t October 1933: Love is the origin and the source of poetry. Every work of art is the result of love. Well, imagine now the poor poet who cannot tell his beloved in a simple, straightforward manner, without any artifice, "I love you". It is not possible to say "I love you" with the aruz.' Enis Bchif was referring to the fact that "Seni seviyorum", (I love you), did not fit the strict metric requirements of the aruz. H e mentioned several other phrases, expressing ordinary wishes, feelings and emotions that suffered a similar fate and concluded that a poet who wished to write emotional poetry and reach a large audience had to use the syllabic meter. 2 The article

''I'linccr, Be} Hececiler, 89. Ibid., 89.

2

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was subjective and the poet deliberately ignored the works of the late masters of the metrical prosody, namely Yahya Kemal, Mehmet Akif and Tevfik Fikret (1867-1915) who integrated everyday language into the not-so-rigid metrical patterns of the aruz. But even though Enis Behig focused on love as an emotion in the above mentioned article, The Five Syllabists, unsurprisingly for politically committed poets, also, occasionally, wrote allegorical variations on the theme of love. Among them, Yusuf Ziya's poem "Benim Yarim" 1 (My Darling), dedicated to the Turkish flag, is a case in point: Benim yarim alyanakli bir kizdir, Gozleri pek sevimli bir yildizdir, Ka§i hilal, Sairlcrin hayalini siisleyecek bir timsal! (My beloved is a girl with red cheeks/ Her eyes arc a loveable star/ Her eyebrows — a crescent. / She's every poet's dream.) In the above excerpt, the flag is addressed as the beloved. She has the red cheeks of a healthy village girl. Her eyes are like stars, and her eyebrows are like crescents and thus form the Turkish flag. She is the ultimate source of inspiration for every poet. Ideologically, the poem is representative of the syllabist project. The syllabist poet identifies the flag, symbol of national independence, with an Anatolian village girl. However allegorical and metaphorical readings of love poems by the syllabists are only rarely possible. This was a deliberate stance by the poets which emphasized the break with the classical divan tradition, where love could usually be read as a metaphor for mystical yearnings or a, very earthly, praise of the powerful ruler. This break was further accentuated by the fact that the Five Syllabists, mainly Yusuf Ziya and Faruk Nafiz, made explicit contrasts between human and divine love. They acknowledged human love as a supreme value and not a transitional state that would lead to divine love. In "A§k Yaratilirken" (When Love Was Created), the opening poem of the collection A$iklar Yolu (The Lover's Road, 1919) Yusuf Ziya describes the creation of love by God. Love is created after Adam and Eve. In the beginning of the poem, Yusuf Ziya remains inside the boundaries of the Abrahamic religions, but towards the end the Creator addresses mankind and equates the worship of a beautiful girl to the worship of his own beauty. ^Yusuf Ziya, Akindan Akina, Istanbul, 1916: 39.

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In "Pig" (The Bastard), another poem f r o m the same collection, Yusuf Ziya discusses the creation of love: In a world where love does not yet exist a man and a woman meet for the first time and make love. The poet devotes two stanzas to their flirting and making love. The woman gives birth to an angelic child. The whole tribe starts worshipping it, because the newborn child is the personification of love. In these two poems, human love and human beauty are established as supreme values and are not merely reflections of divine attributes, as in mystical literature. Mehmet Onal, a conservative critic, was clearly unsettled by Yusuf Ziya's verses and had reservations about his title of "national poet". He argued that a "national poet" should only be inspired by "national" sources, of which Islamic culture was the fundamental stone. Onal startlingly maintained that the two poems were inspired by Greek mythology, but did not substantiate his claim. 1 Although he did not deal with the religious issue, Konur Ertop was right when he claimed that the Five Syllabists were a turning point in Turkish love poetry. He stressed that they wrote about love and lust in more realistic terms than ever before. 2 Cemal Siireya, on the other hand, emphasised the importance and novel aspect of the depiction of Anatolian peasants in the love verses of the Five Syllabists, but did not deny the novelty of their depiction of love and lust in the city. 3 T h e poems which are the focus of this study were mainly written between 1916 and the end of the twenties. These were the years when the Five Syllabists were at the height of their productivity and were diligently applying the tenets of National Literature,4 Love, in the following poems, could be defined as the expression of one human being's desire for another. T h u s a poem in which any aspect of human desire is explored can be considered a love poem. Worldviews affect the narration of love in poetry and are, among others, expressed in the settings of the poems, in the image of the beloved and in the definition of love, which is particularly true in the case of the Five Syllabists.

*Önal, Yusuf Ziyä Ortag: Hayati ve Eserleri, 34-35. Konur Ertop, Türk Edebiyatinda Seks, Istanbul: Se?me Kitaplar, 1977: 242-3. 3 Cemal Siireya, "Sevginin Hallen", §apkam Dolu ('icekle., Istanbul: (,'ixgi, 1985: 32. ^The relevant poetry collections are parkin Sultanlari (1918), Gönülden Gönüle (1919), Dinle Neyden (1919), Qoban Qe^mesi (1926) and Suda Halkalar (1928) by Faruk Nafiz; the posthumously published Miras ve Günefin Ölümü (1951), that includes all the syllabic work by Enis Behi9; Firttna ve Kar (1919), Peri Km He foban Hikayesi (1919 ) and Gönülden Sesler (1922) by Orhan Seyfi; Akindan Akma (1916), Cenk Ufiiklari (1917), Apklar Yolu (1919) and Yanardag (1928) by Yusuf Ziyä and finally Cenk Duygulari (1917), Efsaneler (1919), Bulutlara Yakm (1920), Zakkum (1920), Gülistanlar ve Harabeler (1922) and Paravan (1929) by Halit Fahri. 2

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The choice of the syllabic meter was an ideological stance. So were the choice of the Istanbul vernacular as the language of poetry and their renewed interest in genres and themes of folk poetry. Unlike Mehmet Emin Yurdakul and Ziyá Gokalp, the pioneers of the syllabic meter, the Five Syllabists did not disregard stylistic matters, even though they used poetry above all as a platform for their ideas. They wanted to find the right equilibrium between form and content, but ended up privileging form over content. The aruz, had been used by the literary establishment for centuries and younger poets writing with the metrical prosody of the classical tradition did not lack in models. Yet with the hece meter, the nationalist poets who lived severed from Anatolian realities and culture, had to study and make use of a verse form that was new to them. By using genres of the folk tradition the syllabists were fulfilling Ziyá Gokalp's injunction to take inspiration from the folk tradition, and by modelling their verses on genres of 1'olk poetry such as tiirkii (song), ko§ma (short song), maní (sung quatrain) and destan (epic) they were trying to develop their own syllabic skills. The resulting poems were unpretentious and consciously unsophisticated. They lacked the spontaneity and sincerity of folk poetry. The simple and limited vocabulary emphasised the poets' wish to write poetry that was easily accessible. It could be categorised as "neo-folk" poetry, since they titled some of their works with the names of folk literature genres. Poems such as Orhan Seyfi's "Türküler" 1 (Folksongs) were an attempt to copy the rhythms and motifs of folk poetry. The message conveyed in these verses was in the form, not in the meaning of the words. The following two quatrains from the above-mentioned work illustrate that the emphasis is on the simplicity of the language (Istanbul vernacular) and the meter (6+5): Diinyada biricik sevdigim sensin: Giizelsin, incesin, tatlism §ensin! Nasil bagkasini gonltim begensin? Giizelsin, incesin, tatlisin, sensin! Ariyor gózlerim bugün seni. Gordilm gegiyorken yine diin seni. Gortip de sevmemek, ne miimkiie seni! Giizelsin, incesin, tatlisin, sensin! (You're the only one I love in this world:/ You're pretty, delicate, sweet and joyful! / How could 1 love someone else? / You're pretty, delicate, sweet and joyful! // ^Orhan Seyfi, Gonülden Sesler, Istanbul, 1928: 46-47.

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Today my eyes are looking for you. / I saw you when you passed yesterday. /It is not possible to see you and not to love you. / You're pretty, delicate, sweet and joyful!) In the Principles of Turkism Ziya Gókalp stressed that the 6+5 meter was the most common one in folk poetry and ought to be used. 1 In this particular case, the content of the poem is of little importance and the idyllic scene described in those verses consists of the clichés of folk poetry. The beloved is pretty,

delicate,

sweet and joyful,

and the narrator is waiting f o r

her to pass again so he can catch a glimpse of her beauty. In his "neo-folk" poems Orhan Seyfi mainly recurs to rhyme patterns and motifs that are typical of folk poetry. In the following mani, the poet uses classical motifs (the rose and the bud) and the common rhyme gonca-yonca: Sen gül dahnda gonca. Ben dag yolunda yonca. Sen agihr gtilersin. Ben saranp solunca.2 (You are a bud on a rose tree./1 am a clover on a mountain path./ You bloom and smile,/ When I grow pale and wither.) Neo-folk poetry introduces Anatolian folk culture to Istanbul literary salons. The poet Turgut Uyar is critical of those attempts and argues that they are primitively nationalistic and superficial. 3 Though critics nowadays tend to judge the quality of the poetry harshly, it is thanks to the syllabists' relentless endeavour that folk themes and genres imposed themselves in literature. Moreover, Faruk Nafiz and Enis Behig managed to reach an undeniable intensity in form and content whenever they dared to distance themselves from the traditional requirements in motif and form of the folk genres. In "Hatira" (Remembrance), Enis Behig avoids the classical motifs of folk poetry. In the first quatrain he makes a parallelism between the flowing of time and the flowing of water. In the second quatrain he echoes Yahya Kemal's belief in the permanence of the past. Time may pass but the beloved will have forever marked the senses of the narrator. Without being explicitly didactic, the poet, by the use of the syllabic meter, made his stance on national poetry clear. 1 Ziyä Gökalp, Türkgülügün Esaslan, Ed. Mehmet Kaplan, Istanbul: Milli Egitim Bakanligi, 1972:142. 2 Orhan Seyfi, "Maniler", Gönülden Sesler, Istanbul, 1928: 48. 3

Uyar, Bir bürden,

43-50.

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Ge9sin giinler, haftalar, Aylar, mevsimler, yillar. Zaman sanki bir riizgar. Ve bir su gibi aksin... Sen gozlerimde bir renk Kulaklarimda bir ses Ve igimde bir nefes Olarak kalacaksin... (Let the days, the weeks pass / The months, the seasons, the years. / Let time flow like a breeze. / Let it flow like water. You'll remain a colour in my eyes / A sound in my ears/ And a breath inside me...) Ziya Gokalp had stressed the importance of tales and epics in folk culture. He emphasised the necessity to write modern folk stories and he wrote didactic tales. 1 The Five Syllabists also worked towards the creation of a corpus of modern tales and epics. Orhan Seyfi's "Peri Kiziyla (Joban Hikayesi" 2 (The Story of the Fairy and the Shepherd), published in 1919, is one such attempt. The setting of the story is Turan, the legendary homeland of the Turks, at the time of the Turkish chieftain Oguz Khan. Oguz Han and a shepherd compete in order to win the heart of a beautiful fairy. The fairy tests them and suddenly realises that the shepherd is her former lover, who treacherously abandoned her. The shepherd gives details about his misadventure and Oguz Khan, moved by his account, tells them to forgive one another and get married. Orhan Seyfi makes use of motifs of folk stories: a playful fairy, mortals falling in love with her and a just and generous ruler. The mention of Oguz Khan is a reference to the myths of Turkish nationalism and situates the story culturally, thus emphasising its national character. Neofolk songs and neo-folk epics, written by the Five Syllabists were more than mere attempts to perfect their mastery of the syllabic meter. Likewise the poems were not merely artificial platforms allowing the poet to make use of folk motifs. Neo-folk literature was part of the wider project of inventing National Literature, by introducing written literature to ordinary people, which was their avowed aim, and folk culture to the mainly urban intelligentsia.

^Ziya Gokalp, giirler ve Halk Masallari Kizilelma, Yeni Hayat, Altun /¡ik, Eserler, Ed. Fevziye Abdullah Tansel, Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu, 1952. 2 Orhan Seyfi, Gonulden Sesler, 111-123.

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The use of the genres of folk poetry, the references to Anatolian Turkish folk culture as well as the syllabic meter were parts of the nationalist project to root literature in the folk tradition. In love poems set in an urban context, however, no reference is made to Anatolian or Turkish culture. The focus is on the uneasy relationship between two westernised lovers living in a city. The urban environment is revealed by the mention of restaurants, theatres, balls and other forms of entertainment available in the city. In Enis Behig's poem "Anahtar" 1 (The Key), subtitled "Fantasy from Budapest", the narrator addresses his neighbour, a beautiful young woman, and invites her to go out in order to have a good time. The light tone of this humorous poem is exemplified in the following excerpt: Dedim ki:"Giizel kom§u, bu ak§am, isterseniz, Beraber eglenelim; bir yerde yemek yeriz... Herkesin keyfi tamam!... Tiyatro, sinemalar... Opera... Falan, filan... Operet... Kabare... Bar... Hepsi de hmca hinglir... Yine siz bilirsiniz, Ama, sanki, birlikte 50k eglenebiliriz! (I said: " Beautiful neighbour, this evening, if you please, / Let's have fun together, we could have dinner somewhere.../ Everyone's having a good time... The theatre, the cinemas.../ the Opera... And so on... The operetta... The cabaret... The bar.../ All of them are bursting with people... /Obviously it's up to you,/ But, I believe, we could have fun together!") While in most of their works, the Five Syllabists stress, by various cultural references, the Turkishness of the protagonists, poems dealing with the theme of love in an urban environment are different and the ethnic origin of the beloved is rarely mentioned. Enis Behi§ is the only poet who reveals the nationality of some of the beloved women in his poems: "Romen Giizeli" 2 (The Romanian Beauty), written while he was working in the consulate in Bucharest and "Busenin Sesi" 3 (The Sound of the Kiss), a playful poem where the narrator yearns for a kiss from a Hungarian girl in the name of Turkish brotherhood.

^Enis Behiç, Miras, Istanbul, 1927: 46-50. Enis Behiç, Miras, 39-40. 3 Enis Behiç, Miras, 51-52.

2

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The beloved in urban poems is characterised by her independence. Her family and friends are hardly ever mentioned. She usually lives on her own. In Yusuf Ziyâ's poem Yillardan Beri (For Years) 1 the room of a woman whom the narrator left is like a "forsaken monastery". The reference to a forsaken monastery and the fact that a woman could live on her own in a bachelor's room in the twenties in Turkey are interesting aspects of the cultural and social identity of the narrator and the beloved. She has the tastes of a westernised young lady from a ruling class background. In the poem "Sadaka" 2 (Charity), for instance, she wears a silk dressing gown, lies down in a disorderly, slightly provocative manner and reads Arsène Lupin translations. The reference to Maurice Leblanc's (1864-1941) fictional character and the provocative posture of the urban beloved bring to the fore two important characteristic of the beloved: Her interest for western, mainly popular, culture and her sensuality: "Pakize", mavi ipek penuvarla, §ezlonga uzanmi§ti açik saçik: Sînesi, yirmialti ilkbaharla, iki pembe gill ta§ir yumu§acik. Elinde bir gazete tefrikasi: En yeni "Arsen Lupen sergiize§ti"! (Pakize, in her blue silken dressing gown,/ Was lying indecently on her chaise longue:/Aged twenty six springs, her bosoms/ Were softly carrying two pink roses./ She was reading the latest instalment /Of "Arsène Lupin's adventures.") The above excerpt exemplifies the general tone of the poem, which is humorous and not meant as an indictment of the westernised bourgeoisie. In urban poems, the narrator too is westernised and expects western attitudes from his lovers. In Yusuf Ziyâ's sonnet "Son Arzu" 3 (Last Wish), the narrator asks his beloved to leave the white rose she carries on her bosom on his tomb. Ônal points out that leaving a flower on the tomb of a loved one is foreign to Turkish culture, but was fashionable in westernised circles. 4 There is a close correlation between form and content, since a western attitude is narrated in a western poetic form — the sonnet. The westernised lovers meet,

^YusuiZiy^ApklarYolu, Istanbul: 1919. Emis Behiç, Miras, 149-154. See Ônal, Yusuf Ziyâ Ortaç, 43. 4 lbid„ 43. 2 3

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but their relationship is fickle. "In Kadm A§ki" ] (Loving Women), Yusuf Ziya writes that a woman is not a lofty place of worship, but that she is a tavern which intoxicates every traveller. T h e reference to the meyhdne subverts one of the traditional metaphors of divan poetry and the beloved ceascs to be the doorway to mystical love: §air, kadin, ulvi bir mabed degil, Her yolcuyu sarho§ eden bir meyhanedir. The narrator in Yusuf Z i y a ' s "itiraf" 2 (Confession) mentions that he betrayed and was betrayed, that he loved one day and abandoned the next. He both cried and caused tears. The emphasis is on both the man and the woman's free attitude towards love and sexuality. Faruk Nafiz, in the poem "Gonul" 3 (The Soul), writes that women and girls "picked up flowers from his garden", a metaphorical reference to lovemaking. Narrators openly express their sensual desire in the poems. They invite women to their rooms, yearn for kisses and caresses. In "Bir Hasret Gecesi" (A Night of Longing), Enis Behi§ describes his desire to embrace his beloved, to inhale the scent of her breasts, her neck and her eyes and to caress her skin: Ah eger kollarimm arasmda olsaydin... Ey taze demet, §imdi kucagima dolsaydin... Koklasaydim gogsiinu, boynunu, gozlerini... Titreye titreye, ah, ok§asaydim derini. (If only you were in my arms.../ Oh, fresh bunch, if I could embrace you.../ If I could inhale the scent of your breasts, your neck, your eyes... / Oh, if only I could caress your skin with a trembling hand.) In his poems, Enis Behig displays a predilection for petite women and focuses more particularly on their shoes, which are described as "two love doves" in "Bir £ i f t Iskarpin" 4 (A Pair of Shoes): Minimini iskarpinler Bir gift kadin iskarpini! Ne sevimli giivercinler, tki sevda giivercini. 1

Yusuf Ziyâ, Ajiklar Yolu, Istanbul: 1919. See Önal, Yusuf Ziyâ Ortaç, 36-37. 3 Faruk Nafiz Çamhbel, Bir Ömür Böyle Geçti, Istanbul: ìnkilap ve Aka, 1972: 216. ^Enis Behiç, Mirâs, 41-45. 2

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(Very small shoes/ A pair of women's shoes!/ What pretty doves, /Two love doves.) Sometimes though, as in "Ey Gene Kadm" 1 (Young Woman), the love doves become tyrants that crush the narrator. Yet the latter cannot help and expresses his delight at being oppressed by "impudent feet": Gegtiler minimini ayaklar iizerimden... Ezdiler beni... Fakat ben yine o sair ben! Hem o §uh ayaklann altinda gignenirdim, Hem de o zalimleri ne kadar begenirdim!... (Small feet passed over me./They crushed me. Yet I' m still the same poet!/I was trod on by impudent feet./But how much I loved them!) The Five Syllabists were the first to openly express sexual desire in post-Tanzimat poetry. Hence Konur Ertop is right when he claims that the Five Syllabists did not only render the language of poetry more accessible, but that lust too was more openly depicted in their verses. 2 Particularly the fetishism (feet, crushing) in Enis Bella's verses is indicative of the new era in Turkish literature. Indeed after the Five Syllabists, most realms of human experience became possible themes in poetry. The mystical love of divan poetry, as well as the aesthetic quest of the Servet-i Filnun poets, were now obsolete approaches to the theme of love. Despite the apparent playfulness of most of the urban lyrics, love in the city is far from idyllic. The relationship brings no fulfilment and remains superficial for the lovers hurt one another. In the poem "Diyorlar" 3 (They Say), Orhan Ziya sees love as the cause of ultimate misery and distress: Saadet benziyor bo§ bir seraba, Dii§iiyor her seven gonill azaba. Gelmiyor gekilen dertler hesaba. Diyorum: sebep nedir bu izdiraba?

l

lbid„ 136-137. Ertop, Turk Edebiyattnda Seks, 243-5. •'(Mian Ziya, Gonulden Goniile, 80.

2

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( H a p p i n e s s is like an i l l u s i o n , / E v e r y l o v i n g soul b e c o m e s miserable./The grief cannot be accounted for./I ask: What is the cause of our distress?) In "O Vefasizin Hicrani" 1 (The Pain Caused by that Unfaithful Woman), Enis Behi^ accuses his former lover of having poisoned his youth and of betraying him with foreign kisses. The mention of foreign kisses may have autobiographical implications and be a reference to his first wife Gabi, a Hungarian teacher of French, whom he divorced apparently because of their disagreements on the Turkish liberation war. 2 The reference to hopelessness, foreignness, treachery and sinful behaviour in the same quatrain is striking: Ah ey benim gen^ligime zehirler katan! Ey yabanci buselerle beni aldatan! En sevgili umidimi oldiirdiin eyvah! Bak, a§kinin harabesi: Bir yigm gtinah! (Oh you who poisoned my youth!/ Oh you who betrayed me with foreign kisses!/ Oh misery, you killed my sweetest hope!/ Look at the ruins of your love: A heap of sins!) The pain caused by separation or betrayal is mostly reported and viewed by a male narrator, but Faruk Nafiz also writes about the misery brought upon the lovers f r o m the point of view of a woman. In the poem "Dun bir Kadin Agladi" 3 (Yesterday a Woman Cried), the woman calls out to the narrator and breaks into tears in his arms. She invites him to her room and talks about her despair at being betrayed by so many different men. At the end of the poem the narrator, admitting his guilt, concedes that he too has been a source of misery to several women. Free love in an urban context brings only misery to men and women. Although the poets acknowledge the pain caused by free love, they do not exercise any moral judgement on the issue. The relationships are depicted in rather realistic terms: T h e lovers are westernised and independent. They have physical intimacy. They are unfaithful and miserable at the end. This approach is completely new for until now, free love, depicted only in novels, was

1

Knis Behig, Miras, 141-142. Fethi Tevetolu, Enis Behig Koryiirek: Bakanligi, 1985: 50. 3 (Jamilbei, Bir Ömür Böyle Gepi, 27-28.

2

Hayati ve Eserleri,

Ankara: Kültiir ve Turizm

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always used as a didactic tool in order to warn against the lack of morals in a westernised society. Urban love poems contain no condemnation of an urban way of life. However the contrast between the complexity and painfulness of urban love and the simplicity and innocence of village love makes a condemnation implicit. The theme of love in the Anatolian village is in complete contrast to the above. The Anatolian countryside is the placc where the disillusioned urban lover finds peace of mind and where naive peasant girls and ingenious shepherds play innocent games of love. Verses such as Halit Fahri's "Anadolu Ak§ami" (Anatolian Evening) form an interesting point of departure from urban poetry. The poem is in the form of a letter that the narrator addresses to his beloved. He describes the night falling on an Anatolian landscape. Though melancholic, the narrator seems to be at peace with himself, his surroundings and his beloved. A light wind blows as if nature is whispering a lullaby to Anatolia. When the sun finally disappears on the horizon, a folk song from the region of Mugla, a town in south-western Turkey, can be heard from far away. Written with the syllabic meter and published in 1920 in the collection Bulutlara Yakin (Close to the Clouds), this poem expresses a deep tranquillity where the words written by the narrator, the light breeze and the folk song seem to merge and have a soothing effect on the reader: Bir mektup parkasi Sevgilim, ne kadar hiiziinlu bilsen Bu olgiin ak§amm olgiin bestesi, Uzak tepelerden, daglardan esen Asina oldugum riizgarin sesi. Golgeler iginde aga§lar yorgun, Her tarafta yetim bir tevekkul var. Sanki lisildiyor Anadolu'nun Uyuyan ruhuna ninniler riizgar. Siirtiler iniyor kar§j bayirdan, Giiniin son i§igi vurmu§ dereye. Bir Mugla turkiisii yiikseldi kirdan: "Ay§em, aygm baygin Ay$em, nereye?" Anatolia is the place where the poet, tormented by treacherous lovers, the fear of death and despair, finds refuge. Similarly in "Anadolu Topragi" 1 (Anatolian Soil), Orhan Seyfi addresses Anatolia and expresses his wish to become one of the lucky people who live in the embrace of the motherland: 1

Orhan Seyfi, Gonulden Goniile, 173-174.

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Senelerce sana hasret ta§iyan Bir goniille kollarina atilsam. Ben de bir gun kucaginda ya§ayan Bahtiyarlar arasina katilsam. (If only I could precipitate myself into your arms/ With a longing soul/ If only I could join some day/ The fortunate people who live in your embrace.) Anatolia is not a sensual lover. Her embrace is the embrace of a loving mother. It is of a completely different nature from the sensual embrace of the urban beloved. The narrator finds serenity in the contemplation of Anatolia. In "Anadolu Topragi", Orhan Seyfi writes that love, youth, glory and fame are futile endeavours. The worship of Anatolia, however, is the source of ultimate satisfaction: Bir gun olup kucagma ula§sam Gozlerimden doksem saving yajini Sancagjnm golgesinde dola§sam Opsem, opsem topragmi, ta§ini (If one day I could reach your embrace/ If I could cry tears of joy/ If I could walk in the shade of your banner/ If I could kiss, if I could kiss your soil and rocks.) Faruk Nafiz's poem "San'at"1 (Art) is another declaration of love to Anatolia and a manifesto for the nationalist literature movement. The poem is addressed to a westernised city-dweller. His occupations, mentioned in the poem, are those of the lovers in the urban love poems. The ordinary pleasures of a westernised young man in a city, such as walking in parks, going to ballrooms, listening to western classical music or visiting museums are nothing compared to the delights given by the contemplation of Anatolian nature. There is an obvious opposition between life in the city and life in the countryside in "San'at". Faruk Nafiz claims that Anatolia, the motherland, is the ultimate work of art and that the true aim of every artist should be to depict her beauty. The poet praises the nature of Anatolia, a feature common in the literature of emerging nations. By expressing his love for nature, the poet underlines his attachment to the motherland. In "San'at", moreover, Faruk Nafiz contrasts the statue of a woman in a foreign city, which is a Içamhbel, Bir Ömür Böyle Geçti, 7-8.

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source of delight for the westernised man, and the straight back of a village girl. The poet not only argues that Anatolia is the ultimate work of art, but also that the people living on its soil can be the source of artistic delight as well: Sen anlayan bir gozle stizersin uzun uzun Yabanci bir sehirdc bir kadin heykelini Biz duyariz en btiyiik zevkini ruhumuzun Goriince bir koyliintin kivrilmayan belini. (You scrutinise with an expert eye/ The statue of a woman in a foreign land/ W e feel the greatest spiritual delight/When we see the straight back of a peasant girl.) One of the innovations of the national literature movement in general, and of the Five Syllabists in particular, was to give a due place to ordinary peasants in literature. Yet, the narrator in "San'at" continues to observe the village and its inhabitants from a safe distance. In this particular poem, the village girl is the source of aesthetic pleasure for the poet and not of sensual pleasure. N o poet dares to cross the invisible boundary between the city intellectual and the village girl. In Faruk Nafiz's poem "Kizil Saijlar" 1 (Red Hair), the impossibility of such a relationship is again emphasised. The poet encounters a lonely traveller with an ox-cart on an abandoned path, somewhere in Anatolia. Soon he sees that the traveller is a village girl. Though first he believes that, just like him, she has been struck by a cruel lover, he then realises that she is a strong character. She is a fiery figure — both her skin and her hair are the colour of copper. Her beauty fascinates the poet, yet soon, he understands that no stranger will ever be able to touch her. Nonetheless her very presence has soothed his wounds and he has forgotten the lovers who hurt him. The situation is disturbing for the nationalist poet, because he is conscious that he is still a stranger, even though he has now turned his attention to Anatolia. T h e perception of his condition is shared by the Anatolian people. T h e distance between the Istanbul intellectual and the Anatolian peasant and landscape is a recurring theme in the literature published during and after the liberation war. In Y a k u p Kadri Karaosmanoglu (188919'74)'s Utopian novel Ankara, published in 1934, Neset Sabit, an idealist poet, describes the complex situation in which he, a progressive nationalist intellectual, found himself in Anatolia in the following terms:

'Faruk Nafiz famhbel, Han Duvarlari, Istanbul: Milli Egitim Bakanligi, 1969: 11-12.

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"Anatolia too has a language, but we cannot understand it. Have you ever listened to real Anatolian folksongs attentively? They contain all the feverish passion of this barren stream, of those thin trees and of those dry rocky hills." 1 Faruk Nafiz is undeniably conscious of this estrangement as he had personally experienced it while he travelled through Anatolia during the liberation war. "Han Duvarlari" (Walls of the Inn), his most famous poem, was the product of this j o u r n e y , during which he was struck by the unforgiving landscape and the misery of the people. He is the syllabist who writes most about Anatolia and several of his Anatolian poems stress that Anatolia is far f r o m idyllic: It is a land where brigands live in the mountains ("Kiz Htiseyin'i Vurdular" 2 , T h e y ' v e Shot Htiseyn) and mutilated travellers roam the countryside ("Kolsuz" 3 , Without Arms). But, whenever the love theme appears in Anatolian verses, Faruk Nafiz and the other syllabists describe rural life in an idealised and conventionalised manner. It is pleasingly peaceful, innocent and idyllic, just as in Faruk Nafiz's p o e m "Memleket Tiirkuleri" (Folk Songs), dedicated to M e h m e t Emin Yurdakul in 1927. In it, the reader is urged to listen to the beautiful village girl who is singing on her way to the well and to the lonely shepherd who watches over his sheep in the pasture. T h e reader knows that it is only a matter of time until the two meet. In "Ahmed'in Mujdesi" 4 (Ahmet's Joyful News), another poem by Faruk Nafiz, the meeting has taken place and an enthusiastic young man comes home and tells his mother that he is in love and wants to marry his beloved. The girl is beautiful. Her ethnic identity is mentioned; she has a Turkish father and a Circassian mother. The poverty of the family is not seen as an obstacle to happiness. As they will not be able to afford a wedding feast, the boy intends to abduct the girl, a practice which was not unusual and a recurrent theme in folk poetry. Such verses portray an easygoing life in the countryside. The idyll is even more emphasised when compared to the spiritual and emotional hardships experienced in urban poems. Though such verses share common elements with pastoral poems, these nationalist poems cannot really be considered pastoral. There are f e w examples of pastoral poetry properly speaking in Turkish literature. Recaizade Mahmut Ekrem (1847-1914) and the Servet-i ' Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu, Ankara, Istanbul: Iletifim, 2000: 87. Çamlibel, Bir Ömür Böyle Geçti, 119. -'Çamhbel, Han Duvarlari, 33. 4 Çamlibel, Bir Ömür Boyle Geçti, 143-144.

2

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Fiinun group, inspired both by him and by the French Parnassians, idealised shepherd life in a few poems and created the image of a pure, uncorrupted existence in the countryside. Unlike the Five Syllabists, the Turkish advocates of art for art's own sake avoided any explicit cultural references. They wrote pastoral poetry at a time of political oppression and censorship. Their poetry was of an escapist nature and displayed a nostalgia for a hypothetical state of felicity that had somehow been lost. Though, the Five Syllabists' Anatolian village too is not a realistic depiction of rural life, any form of resemblance to pastoral poetry ends here. Syllabist poetry is different from pastoral poetry in two fundamental aspects: The intended audience and the socio-political role of the poems. Pastoral literature is not meant to be read by the people it depicts. 1 This is not entirely true in the case of the Five Syllabists. Their choice of the syllabic meter and of a simplified literary language was partly in order to reach a wider audiencc, including the people they wrote about. However the majority of people at the time were illiterate and thus their depiction of Anatolia was mostly read by city intellectuals. Moreover their "nationalist pastoral" has not the conservative nature of traditional pastoral verses. Roger Sales argues that the pastoral emerged in English literature in order to prevent the questioning of the power structures that underpinned the complete social fabric. 2 Similar interpretations of the pastoral phenomena are valid in some other literary traditions too. But the Five Syllabists wrote nationalist pastorals precisely because they were rejecting current power structures. All of them embraced the Kemalist revolution and its populist stance. They rejected the literary elitism of both the divan poets and the Servet-i Fiinun group. Theirs was a politically engaged pastoral. For the Five Syllabists, poetry was a way to address social and political issues and village love poetry emphasised the new trend amongst Kemalist literati to oppose Turkish Anatolia to Istanbul, the cosmopolitan and corrupt city. Republican authors attacked Istanbul, the city, as a place of treachery, corruption and of collaboration with the occupation forces during the National Liberation War. While Yakup Kadri Karaosmaoglu's novel Sodom and Gomorrah (Sodom ve Gomore, 1928) emphasised this view, more conservative authors such as Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar (1901-1962), Yahya Kemal's student, tried to approach the whole issue in a more moderate way, focusing in his novels, ^William Empson, Versions of Pastoral, London: Penguin, 1995:13. Cited in Terry Gifford, Pastoral, London: Routledge, 1999: 8.

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short stories and articles on people in Istanbul who opposed foreign occupation. Yahya Kemal too tried to defend Istanbul in Egil Daglar, his essays about the liberation war. He wrote that, unlike what some writers and politicians claimed, Istanbul was not the treacherous Byzantium} In the case of the love poetry of the Five Syllabist, though no prose writing of theirs are at hand to confirm this, we have a similar but implicit critique of the city. Love in the city is a source of unhappiness, while love in the "national" countryside appears to be more harmonious. This harmony could only be destroyed by interventions of the outside world such as war. War had to be a major theme for poets, who vowed to reflect the realities of their country. When the Five Syllabists were literarily active, their country was involved in three major conflicts: The Balkan Wars (1912-1913), World War I (1914-1918) and the National Liberation War (1919-1923). World War I, partly, and the National Liberation War, completely, were fought on the national soil and occurred at a time when the Five Syllabists had converted to the tenets of national poetry. It is striking that the poems that combine the themes of love and war mainly deal with World War I. Several poems were also written about the liberation war but the theme of love does not appear in them. It may be argued that the love of the soldier for his yavuklu, his beloved, is a longing for past conditions whereas the liberation war embodies the struggle for political and social change. Hence poems about World War I and liberation war poems are of a different nature. War poems deal with the destruction of the village idyll. The intervention of foreign troops in the Anatolian heartland jeopardises the idyllic conditions and the innocent love of the shepherd and the village girl. The shepherd has to go to war and fight, maybe die for the motherland. His fiancée remains in the village and faithfully waits for his return. The poet recognises the cost of war, but depicts it as a necessary price to pay in the pursuit of a higher aim: the liberation of the motherland and the return to previous idyllic conditions. Unlike the War Poets in English literature, none of the Five Syllabists express their anger or their disgust at war. The emphasis of the poems that deal with the love and the war themes is not on war itself but on the way individuals, here the soldier and the village girl, cope with the consequences of war. War is not vilified or de-glamorised: The soldier, even though he misses his beloved and is conscious of her longing, does not mind

^Yahya Kemal Beyatli, Egil Daglar, Istanbul: Milli Egitim Bakanligi, 1993: 99.

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the ultimate sacrifice: In "Nôbetçi ve Yildiz" 1 (The Guard and the Star), a poem written by Yusuf Ziyâ about the battle of the Dardanelles, the soldier asks a star about his fiancée, acknowledges both her and his longing, mentions the victory of the Ottoman troops and then confirms that he would not regret dying: "Allah Allah" diye her giin titretip ar§i, Sungiimtizle durduk yedi diivele kargi ! §imdiden sonra ôlsem bile gam yemem aslaL. (Every day we shook the skies shouting "Allah, Allah."/With our bayonets we fought against seven nations!/ Were I to die now, I would not regret it!) The most memorable war poems written in Western Europe in the twentieth century were anti-war poems. In the verses of Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918), Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) or Wilhelm Klemm (1881-1968) disgust, anger and disillusion are expressed at the slaughter which all of them were directly experiencing in the battlefields of World War I. However Yusuf Ziyâ and Halit Fahri, none of whom directly experienced fighting, expressed patriotic and romantic feelings. There was no tradition of anti-war poetry they could have drawn sustenance on, though some of Tevfik Fikret's poems were an open attack on militarism and Abdiilhak Hamit (1852-1937)'s plays contained scenes that emphasised the misery caused by war. On the contrary, both Ottoman classical poetry and folk poetry had a well established tradition of panegyric poems and epics celebrating military might and heroic deeds in warfare. The ideal of the conquest of new territories was the central theme in those poems and epics. 2 Quite crucially however, this idea of conquest is absent in the World War I poems dealing with the theme of love. Individual heroism is praised but it is somehow hopeless because the hero is always killed. Nonetheless, the celebration, if not of war, at least of the sacrifice of the individual soldier should come as no surprise. The war poems by Yusuf Ziyâ and Halit Fahri were officially commissioned by the Ministry of War. Halit Fahri was invited in 1915, among other poets, to come and visit the troops in the Dardanelles. Their duty was to boost the morale of the army. The Ministry of War also affirmed that it would commission the publication of war poetry by patriotic poets. Yusuf Ziyâ was one of the rare poets for

'Yusuf Ziyâ, Akmdan Akina, Istanbul, 1916, 8-11. ^Mehmet Kaplan, "Fatih", Turk Edebiyati Vzerine Araçtirmalar, Istanbul: Dergâh, 1994: 450-1.

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whom the promise came true. 1 10,000 copies of Akindan Akina (From One Raid to Another) were published in 1916 and distributed amongst soldiers. The poet was paid the substantial sum of 220 liras for poems that he later disliked. 2 In 1917, he published another collection of war poetry: Cenk Ufuklari (Horizons of War). Halit Fahri, on the other hand, collected all his war poems and published them in the same year under a similar title Cenk Duygulari (Emotions of War). These two collections did not receive any financial support from the government. They were nevertheless written with the same propaganda purpose in mind and were similar in form and content. Five Syllabists' poems that deal with both the theme of love and the theme of war focus on two major themes: They discuss how the separated lovers relate to one another and explore the particular relationship between the soldier and the nature of the motherland. The latter is representative of nationalist literature in general, since the poets express that the people and the land, represented here by the nature of the motherland, belong to each other. A great feeling of abandonment is felt amongst those who are left behind by the young men going to the front. The village, setting of the good life, suddenly becomes an isolated place of silent mourning. In "Istasyonda" (At the Station), a poem from his 1917 collection Cenk Duygulari (Emotions of War) , Halit Fahri focuses on the families and friends who come to bid farewell to the soldiers. Folk songs arc sung. The train whistles and starts to move and family, lovers and friends are left behind, silent and insecure. The feeling of abandonment and of helplessness is again stressed in "Bekleyen Bakireler" (Awaiting Maidens), a later poem by Halit Fahri, from his 1922 collection Gulistanlar Harabeler (Rosegardens and Ruins). The title of the poem underlines the faithfulness of the village girls. The maidens convene in the gardens, where they used secretly to meet their lovers and remember them and the moment they left. The gardens that used to be places of innocent love games have now become "the tomb of their last kiss". Village girls in the war poetry of the Five Syllabists easily break into tears. In "Bayram Mektubu" (Letter for the Festival), another poem from Cenk Duygulari (Emotions of War), a soldier writes to his grandmother, back in the village. He mentions that he has just received her latest letter and expresses his surprise at the fact that a Turkish girl should cry on the day of revenge.

* Metin Kayahan Özgül, Hallt Fahri Ozansoy, Ankara: Kultur ve Turizm Bakanhgi, J986: 16. Yusuf Ziyâ Ortaç, Bizim Yokug, Istanbul: Akbaba,1966: 41.

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En son kagidini heniiz dun aldim : "Ni§anlin, diyorsun, du§iindugunii saklayip agliyor... " §a§irdim kaldim, Tiirk kizi aglar mi intikam giinii?... (1 just received your last letter yesterday:/ You say: "Your fiancée hides her thoughts/ And cries." I was surprised./ How can a Turkish girl cry on the day of vengeance?) The passivity of village girls in the Balkan War and World War I poems is remarkable. They remember their beloved and cry. Their fidelity is never questioned. The village is as if paralysed. We do not see any women working in the fields, organising resistance against the invaders or even collecting food and clothes for the soldiers on the front. Yet novels and poems written about the liberation war emphasise the active role played by women. For the Five Syllabists, a more active role for women in World War I context would lead to the utter destruction of the village idyll. Involvement by women in the war or in village affairs would make a return to the pre-war situation impossible. Relationships between men and women might change. The hardworking yet submissive and coy village girl might become the equal of the city girl, a source of torment for men. When the soldier returns from war, he expects to find the village as he left it. Written with a propaganda purpose, the poems were primarily addressed to soldiers. The aim of the poems was to lift the morale of the troops, to remind them that there were people back at home who were patiently and lovingly waiting for them. For many of these young men, their village was all they knew of their country. In war poems, the attachment of the soldier to his village and his beloved represents his attachment to the motherland. A description of changing conditions at home may have distressed the soldier and had an adverse effect on his morale. The conservative nature of these poems can be explained by the fact that the poems written about the First World War are about the defence of the motherland and not about the creation of a new state. In war poems dealing directly or in an allegorical way with the liberation war, women play a much more active part. For instance, Faruk Nafiz's "Kara Fatma" (Black Fatma), an epic published in 1938 in the collection Akinci Tiirkiileri (The Raiders' Songs), introduces a different kind of woman — the warrior. In the poem, the Turkish army has been defeated and is moribund. The country is occupied by the enemy. Most people are discontented with the situation but are resigned. Suddenly a woman, "whose

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mother was either a lion or a leopard", addresses widows, old people, children and fiancées and tells them to follow the example of the young men and to fight in order to free Erzurum, their town. The people follow Kara Fatma and, although they have no weapons, defeat the enemy. In this particular poem, Fatma, the Anatolian woman, leads an army of women, old people and children to victory. The very people who were waiting for the return of the heroes in World War I poetry become heroes themselves in liberation war poetry. Syllabist liberation war poetry contributed to the Image d'Epinal of Kemalist propaganda after the liberation war, that put emphasis on the heroic role played by women behind the frontlines. The love theme, however, was absent from those poems. The other recurring theme in First World War poetry is the strong attachment of the soldier to the nature of the motherland that he is defending. In Yusuf Z i y â ' s "Kafkas'ta Kalanlara" 1 (To those who remained in the Caucasus), the narrator addresses the soldiers who are fighting during the disastrous Sarikamiç campaign in 1914 against the Russians and asks them whether the wind has brought them news of their beloved. In the adverse weather conditions of the harsh Caucasian winter, the wind blowing f r o m Anatolia appears as a messenger between the soldier and his Anatolian village: Neler diyor size vatan rilzgari, Haber vermiyor mu sevgilinizden? Soguk mu Kafkas'in karli daglari? Mektup bekleyenler var halâ sizden! (What does the wind of the motherland tell you/ D i d n ' t it bring news f r o m your beloved? /Are the snowy mountains of the Caucasus cold? /There are people who are still waiting for your letters!) In "Çehidin Kalbi" 2 (The Heart of the Martyr), another poem by Yusuf Ziyâ, a dialogue occurs between a soldier and nature, this time symbolised by a crow. T h e soldier has been deadly wounded during the battle of the Dardanelles and addresses the crow, that is waiting for him to die in order to feed on his corpse. He wants him to go and inform his beloved of his death:

^ u s u f Ziyâ, Cenk Ufuklari, Istanbul, 1920: 15-16. Yusuf Ziyâ, Cenk Ufuklari, 3-4.

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Karga... Biraz dinle beni son vasiyyetim: Bugiin artik yuvam ôksiiz, evlâdim yetim! §imdi belki penccrede gôzleri yasii Benden mektup bekliyordur o kumral hasi. Git... Soyle ki, tekbirlerle titretip ar§i Siingumiizle durduk yedi dtivele karji. (O crow... Listen to me. These are my last wishes:/ Today my wife's a widow, my child an orphan!/ Maybe she's at the window now, with tearful eyes/ She with the brown hairs must be expecting my letter,/ Go and tell her that with tekbirs. we made the sky tremble./ With bayonets we fought against seven nations.) In "Nôbetçi ve Yildiz" (The Guard and the Star), again by Yusuf Ziyâ, a star addresses a young soldier and volunteers to be a messenger in order to carry news to his fiancée. The soldier enjoins the star to tell her that he is fine, that they are about to win the war and that soon they will be together again. But, when he has pronounced these words, he is killed by an explosion. The star now blinks over his native village and addresses A y so, the soldier's beloved. The star tells her to bury her lover in her heart and fades away. In war poems by Yusuf Ziyâ, the soldier is usually killed in action. The complete destruction of the idyllic pre-war conditions is never used as a way to question war in itself. Death and martyrdom are glorified and they intensify the patriotic theme. Soldiers have to fight in order to recreate the idyllic conditions of Anatolia. Some neo-folk epics too explore the themes of war and love and usually focus on Ottoman history. Enis Behiç shows another aspect of war in "Venedikli Korsan Kizi" 1 (The Venetian Pirate Girl), one of his mariner epics. The narrator, an Ottoman seaman, describes a hard fought battle against a Venetian pirate ship. The Turks finally grapple the ship. The narrator inspects her and suddenly sees a beautiful girl, whose hair is "more beautiful than the gold they found on the ship." The Ottoman seaman captures the girl, a petite Venetian woman, embraces her and after exchanging deep and meaningful looks they fall in love. The Venetian girl is in complete contrast to the Anatolian village girl. While the Turkish village girl passively spends her days in expectation, the Venetian girl succumbs to the first Turkish soldier she sees. Mehmet Kaplan remarks that Enis Behiç's mariner epics were written ^Enis Behiç, Mirâs, 121-123.

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in the form of folk epics and mixed the themes of war, heroism and love. 1 However "Venedikli Korsan Kizi" is more than a variation on folk themes. The volatile nature of the Venetian girl serves to enhance the steadiness of Anatolian girls in other war poems. Whether a faithful maiden in First World War poetry or a warrior in liberation war poetry, the Anatolian Turkish woman is always a positive character in syllabist poetry. Turkish love poetry was not to be the same anymore after the Five Syllabists. The contrast between urban love and village love was striking in their verses and was a prominent feature of several novels of the time too. This conflict should not be interpreted as a rejection of life in the city in favour of a simpler life in the countryside though. In literature of the liberation war period, the city usually represented Istanbul, occupied by foreign troops and the seat of the Sultan's collaborationist government. Istanbul was a place of corruption and cosmopolitanism. Meanwhile, the Anatolian village and village people symbolised the fight for national independence and the resistance against the invading armies. The celebration of the national village was also an implicit denigration of the cosmopolitanism of the city. The project of the Five Syllabists had a number of similarities with the invention of modern national literary projects in post-colonial societies. The obvious difference being that in colonial societies nationalist writers dealt with the issue that literary continuity had been interrupted by the arrival of colonial powers and the following imposition of foreign language and culture, whereas in the Ottoman-Turkish case, it was the urban intellectual who rejected the Ottoman past in order to reinvent a new national literary identity. Moreover Ottoman literature did not deny dignity and autonomy to the Anatolians, as would have been typical of colonial literature, it simply ignored them. Nonetheless the Five Syllabists, just like nationalist literati of the third world, dealt with the ordinary reality of the people in works, which were primarily addressed to the latter. The relative realism and the subversion of some of the conventions of divan literature in the urban poetry, the focus on ordinary people in the village poetry and the use of folk forms and motifs were all part of the project of defining "national poetry". They also cleared the stage for a more realistic approach in poetry. Indeed, the Five Syllabists had transformed laborious peasants and lascivious lovers into suitable poetry subjects, but their achievements were soon overshadowed by the literary revolution engendered by Nazim Hikmet.

^Mehmet Kaplan, "Gemiciler", §iir Tahlilleri, Istanbul: Dergâh, 1998: 211.

9. AVENGING AZIYADE: ON ASPECTS OF NAZIM HIKMET'S LOVE POETRY

Although several Turkish novelists such as Latife Tekin, Orhan Pamuk and Ya§ar Kemal have gained wide international recognition, Nazim Hikmet is still the only Turkish poet who has been extensively translated into foreign languages and has become the subject of biographies published by mainstream publishers outside Turkey, notable among them, Saime Goksu and Edward Timms 1 Romantic Communist (London: Hurst & Company, 1999) and Dietrich Gronau's monograph Nazim Hikmet (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rohwolt, 1991). The mere mention of Nazim Hikmet's name still leads to passionate debates in Turkey between his admirers and his detractors, but not so much for literary as for political reasons. Nazim Hikmet did not only revolutionise Turkish poetry, but paid also a high price - continuous police harassment, imprisonment and exile - for his outspoken engagement in favour of Soviet-style socialism. Nazim Hikmet was certainly not the first Turkish socialist poet, since poets such as Ahmed Rifki (1884-1935), Rasim Ha§met (1888-1919) and Muallim Cudi bridged the gap between the committed humanism of Tevfik Fikret and the later advocates of socialist realist poetry in the 1940's. But it was Nazim Hikmet who, by combining poetic genius and political commitment, became the first socialist whose poetry was widely read and appreciated. Nazim Hikmet's restless love life also attracts the attention of literati and laymen alike and much has been written on his relationships with his four wives — Niizhet, Piraye, Miinevver and Vera Tulyakova — and his numerous lovers.1 Hence it would be tempting to link a particular approach to the theme of love in his poetry to a particular phase or a particular woman in Nazim Hikmet's love life. Indeed, the rare love poems written before his encounter with Piraye deal mostly with the uneasy relationship between love and political activism. Poems written during his marriage with Piraye, that is mostly during the years that he spent in prison in the late thirties and in the forties, depict the beloved as a lover, friend and comrade. Probably for the first time in Turkish poetry, she is humane and truly human with her own physical, material and psychological needs. Poems written for Munevver are mostly about the theme of exile. The motherland is identified with the figure 1The writer Emin Karaca even published a book on the topic - Nazim Hikmet'in Istanbul: Genda§, 1999.

AMari,

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of the beloved, which is not surprising since they were written after his exile in 1951. Finally, poems written about Vera Tulyakova are written with an almost adolescent passion by a man who is thirty years older than his wife, and date from the fifties and early sixties. It must be stressed, however, that the various approaches to the theme overlap over their respective periods. The biographical identity of the beloved in the poems might be of great importance for biographers of the poet, but it is of little relevance when it comes to study his novel approach to the theme of love. Love can be defined as the expression of one human being's desire for another. Such a definition is broad enough to encompass every form of desire from platonic love to sexual fantasies. A love poem is a poem in which any aspect of this desire is explored. Love poetry is an imaginative construction, a fictive reshaping of reality. Like poetry in general, it is a textual production of a society and a mental reconstruction of reality which mirror the social and ideological struggles in that particular society. Nazim Hikmet's poems dealing with the theme of love cannot be explored without taking into consideration their context of production and also the poet's socialist engagement. The struggle against imperialism in Asia and Africa was one theme that was especially dear to him. In a short article, published in Tan (Dawn) in 1937 1 , on tensions between Italian and Moroccan soldiers fighting alongside the Francoists during the Spanish Civil War, he condemned Western attempts at exporting their civilisation and exposed them for what they were: "The white race pretending to represent civilisation found that the lands of the Black were the easiest to conquer and colonise, and that black people were the easiest to exploit as slaves." 2 Similarly he wrote, in another article for the same paper, that crusades and contemporary missions were aiming at colonising and exploiting Asia: We know very well what [General Franco] means by Christian civilisation. Already in the Middle Ages, the Crusades aiming at destroying Arab civilisation and at transferring the treasures of Andalusia, the golden springs and the estimable opulence in the East to their countries were not a religious endeavour. They wanted to loot the wealth of the Arab, Muslim, Eastern, Chinese and Asian people. Even today, the churches founded next to Chinese temples, the missionary schools spreading all over Asia and the propagandists of the Gospel are the forerunners of this rising army. First they come and shortly afterwards they are followed by the colonialist exploiters. 3

ÏNâzim Hikmet, "Beyaz Irk, Siyah Irk", Yazilar (1937-1962), Istanbul: Adam, 1992: 71-2. Nâzim Hikmet, "Beyaz Irk, Siyah Irk", 71. 3 Nâzim Hikmet, "Milli Mar?", Yazilar (1937-1962), Istanbul: Adam, 1992: 21-22.

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Nazim Hikmet was not only conccrned with the political and economic aspects of imperialism. The image of the colonised, of Asian and African people in western literatures was an issue he explored in his own literary works. In "Pierre Loti", a poem dating from 1925 and a passionate indictment of western imperialism and orientalism, symbolised by the Frcnch novelist, Nazim Hikmet accused Loti of "having forgotten his dove-eyed Aziyade faster than a prostitute". In those years much criticism was directed at Loti. Years before Hikmet, in 1909, the poet isak Ferera Efendi (1883-1933) published an article on Judaism in Mir'at (The Mirror) where he pointed to the latent antiSemitism in some of the French writer's remarks. 1 In 1911, Omer Seyfettin published his short story "Spring and Butterflies" (Bahar ve Kelebekler) in Genf Kalemler (Young Pens), a leading nationalist journal, where he pointed to the analgesic effect of Loti's prose on young Turkish women. 2 The poet Ahmet Ha§im dealt with the likes of Pierre Loti in "The Shelter of the Storks" (Gurabahane-i Laklakan), a humorous essay published on 1 May 1923 in Yenl Mecmua (New Journal) where he questioned the aims of orientalist writers and warned against the excessive praise their works were paid in Turkey. 3 Their object of scorn was well chosen, since, in Loti's prose, as shown by Irene L. Szylowicz in her study Pierre Loti and the Oriental Woman, "the Occidentals are the objects of fawning devotion and great admiration by all the Oriental women — who serve as vehicles for masculine aggrandisement. 4 " Nazim Hikmet's focus however was not so much on gender issues in orientalist prose, but rather on the allegoric nature of the works where territorial and cultural conquest were symbolised by the love stories of a dominant white male and a submissive indigenous female. While analysing Nazim Hikmet's approach to the theme of love in some of his poems and epics, one could argue that he was writing in order to avenge Aziyade. On the one hand he produced two major texts - Gioconda and Si-Ya-U and Why did Banarjee kill himself? in which he inverted some of the patterns of orientalist literature and on the other he created, in the poems dedicated to Piraye, the image of a strong, independent and politically committed Turkish woman that was miles away from Rarahu, Aziyade and Fatou-gaye, Pierre Loti's servile lovers. ' isak Ferera Efendi. "ìsminden utanan Yahudiler", Mir'àt, 2, 14 §ubat 1324: 22. Orner Seyfettin, "Bahar ve Kelebekler", Butiin Eserleri 9: A$k Dalgasi, Bahar ve Kelebekler, ilk Diigen Ak, Ankara: Bilgi, 1988: 53-64. 3 Ahmet Hagim, "Gurabahàne-i Laklakan", Butiin Eserleri: Gurabahane-i Laklakan Diger Yazilari, Ed. Inci Enginiin & Zeynep Kerman, Istanbul: DergSh, 1991:7-14 ^Irene L. Szylowicz, Pierre Loti and the Oriental Woman, London: Macmillan Press, 1988: 118. 2

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Nazim Hikmet wrote not less than three epic poems that aimed at developing an "occidentalist" vision of European Imperialism. The theme of love plays a central role in two of them — Gloconda and Si-Ya-U (Jokond ile Si-Ya-U 1 , 1929) and Why Did Banarjee Kill Himself? (Benerci Kendini Ni§in Oldiirdii? 2 , 1932). The third one Letters To Taranta Babu (Taranta Babu'ya Mektuplar 3 , 1935) consists of the observations of an Ethiopian student living in Italy during the early 1930s, on Italy, capitalism, fascism and imperialism. Though they were in the form of letters written to his wife, the theme of love is quite marginal in these remarkable poems and are of little relevance for this present study. Gioconda and Si-Ya-U can be read as a poem, this time of an cpic dimension, that celebrates the themes of love and political engagement side by side. In a review published in Resimli Ay (The Month in Pictures) in D e c e m b e r 1929, Peyami Safa praised, a m o n g others, N a z i m Hikmet's combination of the language of traditional folk tales with modern urban speech and identified the symbolic nature of the tale. According to Safa the love and the ideals of the characters were the love and the ideals of the poet. 4 Combining elements of folk tales, classical prosody and futurist poetry and a complex narrative structure, the poem tells the love story of M o n a Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting and Si-Ya-U, a Chinese socialist student. The latter character was based on Emi Siao, a Chinese student Nazim Hikmet had befriended in Moscow. In 1924, Emi Siao had left Russia and Nazim H i k m e t believed him to have been killed in the same year after antiCommunist repression had reached its peak in China. 5 In the poem, Gioconda is bored to death hanging on the walls of the Louvres museum in Paris. She falls in love with a Chinese student called Si-Ya-U who is also a socialist militant. Si-Ya-U is arrested during a political demonstration and deported to China. The Gioconda decides to follow him. She breaks out of the museum and manages after a long and eventful journey to reach Shanghai, where she witnesses the execution of her lover. She loses her smile, but regains it when she is condemned to death by burning by a French military court. She smiles during her barbaric execution because she is dying for the f r e e d o m of the Chinese people. Love that was once directed towards a particular human being has been transformed into love for the Chinese people and Si-Ya-U's struggle has genuinely become hers. ^Názim Hikmet, "Jokond ile Si-Ya-U", 835 Satir giirler 1, Istanbul: Yapi Kredi Yayinlan, 2002:

959-93.

Nàzim Hikmet, "Benerci Kendini Ni^in Oldiirdii", Benerci Kendini Nigin Oldürdü $iirler 2, Istanbul: Yapi Kredi Yayinlan, 2002: 7-90. Näzim Hikmet, 'Taranta Babu'ya Mektuplar", Benerci Kendini Nif in Oldürdü §iirler 2, 179220. ^Peyami Safa, "Jokond ile Si-Ya-U" in Ergun Göze, Peyami Safa Nazim Hikmet Kavgasi, Istanbul: Bogazigi, 1995:109-13. 5 Saime Göksu and Edward Timms, Romantic Communist, London: Hurst & Company, 1999:90. 3

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The poem's particular importance comes to the fore when we take into consideration that Nazim Hikmet subverted an important motive of western colonial literature, where the woman of the colonised country falls in love and is "conquered" emotionally and sometimes sexually by the Western hero. Gioconda, not only a white European woman but also a symbol of western culture, is seduced by an Asian student, goes native, and sacrifices her life for his people after following him to China. Her sacrifice is particularly meaningful because at the beginning of their story, Si-Ya-U asks her whether she has been created by the same people who are oppressing the Chinese: "Tanklannm kirk ayakli tekerlekleriyle pirin9 tarlalarimizi e/enler, gehirlerimizde cehennem imparatorlari gibi gezenler: SENiN seni YARATANIN nesli mi?" 1 ("Those who crush our rice fields/ with the caterpillar treads of their tanks/ who stroll in our cities/ like emperors of hell/ are they of YOUR race/ the race of the one who CREATED you?") The Gioconda does not know how to answer. Western imperialism and culture are mentioned side by side and their relationship is questioned by the poet. Hence, Si-Ya-U's "conquest" of Gioconda is meaningful and an act of political resistance. Arguing like Saime Goksu and Edward Timms that "Jokond ile Si-Ya-U subverts traditional gender roles by emphasising the involvement of women in the revolutionary struggle" 2 is problematic, because the political engagement of the Gioconda is only a consequence of her love for Si-Ya-U. It is not the product of a reflection on the nature of imperialism. She does not act of her free will but under the spell of the emotions felt for her lover. Nazim Hikmet is far from challenging patriarchal gender roles, but nonetheless has created a response to Aziyade. It is interesting to note that there may be a hidden reference to Nazim Hikmet's appropriation of Gioconda in the title of Sezai Karako§'s mythical poem Monna Rosa (1952-3), that the poet defined as a modern mystical epic. 3 Sezai Karako§'s Monna Rosa is transformed into an object of mystical longing, whereas Nazim Hikmet's Mona Lisa is converted to anti-imperialism after witnessing colonial terror in China. Such a political reading of Karako§'s 1

Nazim Hikmet, "Jokond ile Si-Ya-U", 71. Goksu and Timms, Romantic Communist, 91. Turan Karata§, Sezai Karakog: Dogu'nun Yedinci Oglu, Istanbul: Kakniis, 1998: 214.

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poem is not so far-fetched since the Islamist poet was known f o r his anticommunism. If the title was meant as a reply to Nazim Hikmet, the ironic consequence would be that an episode of the major ideological struggle that shaped the political evolution of Turkey was fought in front of a painting in the Louvres museum. Why did Banarjee kill himself?\& another epic love story, where a western woman falls in love with an Asian revolutionary. This time, however, the relationship threatens the nationalist struggle and the English lover has to be eliminated. Unlike in the previous poem, love becomes an obstacle to political engagement. The story takes place in colonial India. Banarjee, an Indian nationalist, falls in love with an English woman who turns out to be a police informer. Several of Banarjee's nationalist friends are arrested during a secret meeting, but, unlike his comrades, Banarjee is not detained. This situation leads to suspicions and he is ostracised by his comrades. Finally Banarjee realises that his lover is a spy and kills her. He reintegrates the secret nationalist organisation, but is later arrested. After years of imprisonment he is finally free and becomes the leader of the resistance movement. In the end he commits suicide for unclear reasons. In another inversion of the usual pattern of colonial literature, Nazim Hikmet warns against associating with the women of the colonisers. Unlike some colonial writers who perceived a sexual liaison with the "native" as a potential risk of contamination of the pure stock of the vigorous civilised race, Nazim Hikmet's caution is against the political consequences of such a relationship and does not have any racial or racist dimension. Colonial India had already been the scenery of other Turkish literary works. Abdiilhak Hamit (Tarhan) also explored love relationships in a colonial background in four plays: The Hindu Daughter (Duhter-i Hindu, 1876), Finten (1912), The Insanity of Love (Ciinun-i Ask, 1925) and Foreign Friends (Yabanci Dostlar, 1925). The plays were set in India and England. Though Abdiilhak Hamit perpetuated western colonial stereotypes on Indians and depicted them as primitive and irrational, English society too was criticised in his works. English social rules were seen as artificial and unnatural since they crushed the individuals. Abdiilhak Hamit was critical of British colonial rule, and depicted it as ruthless, racist and cruel. 1

l o r a discussion of the four plays see tnci Enginün, Abdiilhak Hamid Tarhan, Ankara: Kultur ve Turizm Bakanligi, 1986: 65-74. See also Niiket Esen's article on Abdiilhak Hamit's occidentalist discourse: "Bati Hakkinda bir Dogulunun Eseri Olarak Finten" in Inci Enginiin, Vefattmn 60. yihnda Abdiilhak Hamid Tarhan Sempozyumu Bildirileri: 12 Nisan 1997, Istanbul: ISAR, 1998:21-27.

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One could argue that Nazim Hikmet's most effective response to the orientalisation of Turkish and Asian women was his depiction of Piraye in his poetry, since her portrayal was in complete opposition to the submissive image of Pierre Loti's Aziyade. Throughout the correspondence he exchanged with Memet Fuat, Piraye's son, during the years 1943 to 1950, while he was imprisoned in Bursa, Nazim Hikmet emphasised Piraye's influential role in his literary development: I was somehow sectarian in matters of content before I met your mother. For instance, I never wrote about love relationships between human beings. I was saved f r o m this attitude by the creative influence of your mother. I love and appreciate a love poem, but a true love poem, as much as I love and appreciate a politically engaged p o e m . '

His meeting with Piraye and the poetry that was the product of their relationship brought profound changes to the theme of love in Turkish poetry. In his essential essay on Turkish love poetry, Cemal Siireya points to two important novelties regarding the treatment of the theme of love in the poetry of Nazim Hikmet: He wrote love poems about and to his wife and he depicted the beloved as a friend and a solidary companion. 2 There had been poets before Nazim Hikmet who had written love poems for their wives, for example, "The T o m b " (Makbcr, 1886), Abdiilhak Hamit's famous elegy written lor his deceased wife, or the confidential prose poems written by the obscure Turkish writing Armenian author Garbis Fikri for his late wife. 3 Those poems were stylised elegies and did not have the confessional dimension of Nazim Hikmet's short poems. However Cemal Siireya does not acknowledge the third important aspect of Nazim Hikmet's love poetry; his introduction of ordinary life into love poetry. The price of coal and sudden outbursts of sciatica are now new themes that are also dealt in poems about love. Those three aspects are the founding stones of a new realism in Turkish love poetry. Meanwhile the novel image of the beloved in those poems can also be read as a response to the orientalist fantasies since the beloved woman is an active character rooted in everyday reality and not a wish-fulfilling fantasy in an orientalised universe.

'Nazim Hikmet, Oglum, Canim, Memedim: Mektuplar, Ed. Mehmet Fuat, Istanbul: De 19681

88. 2

Cemal Siireya, "Sevginin Halleri", §apkam Dolu QiQekle, Istanbul: Qizgi, 1985: 33. I have come across two collections of texts by Garbis Fikri which were dedicated to the soul of Agavni, his late wife: Yapraklar DokulUrken, (When Leaves Are Falling), Istanbul: Edeb Matbuasi, 1910-1 and Garbis Fikri, Agkimiz, (Our Love), Istanbul: Edeb Matbuasi, 1910-1. 3

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The relationship between Piraye and Nazim Hikmet was the real life experience that triggered the development. But a love poem, even if inspired by a particular experience, is never a literal record of a relationship; it is an imaginative reshaping of reality. Nazim Hikmet's poems for Piraye are especially noteworthy because their primary audience was the beloved herself. The poems were love letters in verse. They were either included in letters that were sent to her or they were sent instead of letters. The close intermingling of reality with Nazim Hikmet's love poetry is highlighted by the following event: Towards the end of 1941, Nazim Hikmet wrote a letter to Piraye in which he told her about his wish to versify and publish her letters to him. 1 According to Memet Fuat, who collected and edited the letters, Piraye did not accept the poet's proposal. This did not stop Nazim Hikmet who continued to work on the project between 1942 and 1943. He then sent the poems to her, as he usually did, in order to get her opinion. 2 We learn from a letter, written by the poet to Piraye on 13 November 1943, that although she liked the poems, she was distressed that other people could have read them. She believed that some of the details were too personal and that some of the verses included references to difficulties and arguments she had had with some friends and relatives, and asked him not to publish them 3 . The poet complied but later included the poems in the third volume of his famous epic Human Landscapes of my Country (Memleketimden Insan Manzaralari) after considerably transforming them. The fact that Nazim Hikmet rewrote the poems, leaving out the parts that upset Piraye, shows that despite their autobiographical content, the poems were certainly not simple depictions of aspects of their relationship. It is always necessary to differentiate between the poet and his persona in poems, especially in the case of the works of poets such as Nazim Hikmet, where literary development and personal life are closely linked. The beloved in the poetry of Nazim Hikmet is usually his wife. Several poems dedicated to Piraye were directly sent to her, usually accompanied by a note: The poet wrote the poem entitled "(,'ankiri, 2 July 1940" (1940 Temmuz 2, Cankiri), after Piraye visited him in prison. He put the following words over the poem " M y dear wife, this time, I will start the first letter that I write to you with a poem." From that day onwards, all the letters written by the poet from Rankin prison were to be preceded by a few notes for his wife, starting with the words "My dear wife". However, they 'Näzim Hikmet, Nazim He Piraye, Ed. Mehmet Fuat, Istanbul: De, 1976: 152-153. ^Näzim Hikmet, Näzim ile Piraye, 153. ^Nazim Hikmet, Nazim. ile Piraye, 195.

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should not be seen as exaltations of wedded life, that would be considered as superior to free love. Nazim Hikmet tried to bring a new definition to marriage as a partnership between two equals that were both friends and lovers. Indeed Piraye is depicted as more than a wife in his poems. She is a lover, a partner, a friend, a critic and, to a certain extent, a comrade, but above all she is an independent human being with her own spiritual and material needs. In the first letter Nazim Hikmet wrote to Piraye after he had been transferred to Bursa prison, he added an untitled poem dated "17.12.1940" in which he emphasised his closeness to her and expressed that she was more than his lover. She was a friend of indistinct age or sex who fought on his side. The following verses, excerpted from the poem, emphasise that particular feeling: Sen ya§i ve cinsiyeti olmayan arkada§imsm Buyilk kavgamda beraber dovii§tugum; bana nasihatlann en dogrusunu veren ve tehlikelerde kanatlarini iistiime geren. 1 (You are my ageless and sexless companion / who fights on my side in my great struggle;/ the one who gives me the best advice / and spreads her wings over me in dangerous times.) Such verses allow us to situate Nazim Hikmet in the tradition of socialist literature. Dependence and submission of the narrator to the beloved as seen in the above verses is a rare occurrence in the poetry of Nazim Hikmet. On the other hand Louis Aragon, a poet with whom he shared more than a common political agenda, celebrated his suprahuman love for Elsa and her greatness. Poems such as "Prose du Bonheur et d ' E l s a " (Prose of happiness and of Elsa) or "Entre Assieds-toi Soleil" (Come in, sit down sun) are poems where the narrator acknowledges his debt to his muse and completely submits himself to her. This is a major difference between Aragon's and Hikmet's approach to the theme of love. Hikmet's narrator and the beloved are equal, whereas Aragon's narrator is more submissive and dependent on the love of the beloved. "17.12.1940" also deals with the beloved as a comrade who shares the poet's ideals, which was one of the great themes of socialist love poetry. Pablo Neruda, for instance, addresses his beloved in "El Monte y el Rio" (The Mountain and the River) and asks her to accompany him on his struggle: 1 Nazim Hikmet, untitled, Yatar Bursa Kalesinde giirler 4, Istanbul: Adam, 1995: 79.

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Oh tú, la que yo amo, pequeña, grano rojo de trigo, será dura la lucha la vida será dura pero vendrás conmigo. 1 (O you that I love,/ dear little one, / red grain of wheat, // hard will be the struggle/ life will be hard / but you will come with m e . ) It is a theme that is not restricted to poetry and that can also be found in socialist novel writing. T h e Russian socialist feminist and activist A l e x a n d r a Kollontai (1872-1952)'s novel Red Love ( 1 9 2 7 ) , d e s c r i b e s Vasillissa's quest for both love and social justice in the early years of the socialist revolution in Russia. Alexandra Kollontai dealt with the difficulties of combining political activism and private life in this novel, a theme that was not unknown to Hikmet. Throughout the novel the author insists that the spouse should be a friend and a comrade as well as a lover. Just like N á / i m Hikmet, she writes that a lover and a communist ought to share the same qualities. In this context it is worthwhile remembering that Názim Hikmet had similarly stressed in a letter to Piráye that his political belief and his love for her were "two loves, two beliefs, two realities that completed each other".2 Unfortunately, we have no documents that would reveal whether Názim Hikmet had actually read Kollontai or what he thought about her. Alexandra Kollontai's more daring writings were censored and probably unavailable at the time Názim Hikmet was in Moscow. Her unorthodox stance on f r e e love and on the supremacy of love to social conventions led to unfounded accusations of libertinage. 3 In the poetry of Názim Hikmet the friendship and the comradeship between husband and wife is also expressed through continuous references to ordinary life and through a genuine concern for the well-being of the beloved. T h e poet refers to the material needs of the beloved, just as in this poem entitled "14 December 1945" (14 Aralik 1945): Ipablo Neruda, "El monte y el río", The Captain's Verses: Los Versos del Capitán, Transí. Brian Cole, London: Anvil Press, 1997: 128. ^Näzim Hikmet, Näzim ile Piräye, 201. ^Bookmarks publications have published a pamphlet with three of her more controversial essays on gender and sexuality: Alexandra Kollontai, Alexandra Kollontai on Women's Liberation, Ed. Chanie Rosenberg, London: Bookmarks, 1998. On her life, see Barbara Evans Clements, Bolshevik Feminist: The Life of Aleksandra Kollontai, Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1979 and Beatrice Farnsworth, Aleksandra Kollontai: Socialism, Feminism, and the Bolshevik Revolution, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1980.

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Hay aksi lanet, fena bastirdi kis Sen ve namuslu Istanbul'um ne haldesiniz kim bilir? Odun alabildin mi? Camlarin kiyisina gazete kaadi yapi§tir. Gece erkenden yataga gir. Evde de satilacak bir gey kalmami§tir. Yari ag, yari tok iisumck: diinyada, memleketimizde ve §ehrimizde bu i§te de fogunluk bizde... 1 (Damned, the winter has hit us badly... / W h o knows how you and my honest Istanbul are? / Were you able to buy firewood? / Put some newspaper sheets around the window panes. / Go to bed early / There isn't anything left to sell at home, I guess./ T o freeze, half hungry and half fed: / in the world, in our country and in our city / we have the majority in these matters too...) By mentioning a difficult winter and asking whether the beloved has been able to buy firewood — thus mentioning the ordinary troubles of an ordinary woman — the poet humanises the beloved and uses a language that is striking in its simplicity. It is as if the poem consists of an excerpt taken f r o m real-life dialogue. It expresses genuine concern. The poem ends with a generalisation w h e r e the narrator points to the larger context of the relationship. The fate of the cold and hungry lovers is shared by the majority of humanity. The link between love of the beloved and human solidarity is a motif that appears in several of his poems. It is a motif he shared with contemporary socialist poets abroad, but it was rather unique in Turkey at the time. Didn't he tell his friend Vala Nurettin that "life was not worth living unless one was in love with one person and also with millions of people" in a letter in 1947? 2 The poet evokes private events in his poems and introduces realistic elements such as flannel underpants and an outburst of sciatica into poetry. Such a focus on ordinary life would have been inconceivable before Nazim Hikmet, though it is true that the Garip group, advocates of subjective realism, were also advancing on a similar path:

'Nftzim Hikmet, "14 Aralik 1945", Kuvayi Milliye $iirler 3, Istanbul: Adam, 1988:116. ^Nazim Hikmet, Bursa Cezaevinden Va-Nu'lara Mektuplar, Ed. Vala Nureddin, Istanbul: Cem, 1970: 57.

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Paran varsa eger bana bir fanila don al, tuttu hacagimin siyatik agrisi!... Ve unutma ki daima iyi §eyler dii§unmeli bir mahpusun karisi!... 1 ( I f you have money / buy me a pair of flannel underpants, / the sciatic pains of my leg have started again!.../ And don't forget that a prisoner's wife/ should always think positively!....) This excerpt f r o m the poem "Letter to M y Wife" ( K a n m a mektup), dated 11 November 1933, was written after his first imprisonment in Bursa, when a death sentence against the poet was a serious threat. The verses express intimacy between the lovers and it is as if the reader was intruding on the confessions of the two partners. It is also indicative of a new conception of love, drawn f r o m everyday reality. The poet bases most of his verses on personal elements and it is possible to draw parallelisms between his poems and his correspondence or the recorded reminiscences of fellow inmates. Sexuality is more prominent in the poetry of Nazim Hikmet as a direct result of the increased realism of his verses. Sexuality was still very stylised in the poetry of Yahya Kemal and he shared with the Turkish advocates of art for art's own sake an interest for the aesthetic beauty of the female body. In the poetry of the Five Syllabists sexuality was part of the love game. Sexual desire in Nazim Hikmet's prison verses is not part of the love game, it is a physical craving that can be independent of love. In the poem "Lodos", written in Bursa prison, the narrator highlights his fate and the fate of fellow prisoners who are unable to satisfy their sexual cravings (Biz alti yiiz adet kadinsiz erkegiz / W e are six hundred men without women). The beloved is not the only female presence in the poetry of Hikmet. In the epic Human Landscapes of my Country (Memleketimden Insan Manzaralari), the reader encounters several female characters of major or minor importance. Most of them are ordinary women: peasants, workers and housewives. When writing about them, Nazim Hikmet occasionally focuses on female physical characteristics such as hips and breasts. His depiction of women is deliberately made with the eyes of a male narrator. H e eroticises the body of ordinary women, who were mostly ignored in poetry which is part of his project to give a holistic, realistic picture of women in poetry.

' Nâzim Hikmet, "Kanma mektup", Benerci Kendini Niçin Öldürdü §iirler 2, 169.

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On the other hand, he writes more tender verses directly addressed to the beloved where erotic desire and love are merged, like in the poem "My Wife's Eyes Are Hazel" (Hatunumun gozleri eladirda), written in 1947: Hatunumun gozleri cladir da iginde hareler var yegil yegil altin varak iistiine ye§il yegil menevi§. Karde§lerim, bu ne bigim is su dokuz yildir eli elime degmeden ben burada ihtiyarladim. 1 (The eyes of my wife are hazel/ with various shades of green, / green silk on a golden leaf. / Brothers, what's the meaning of all this / 1 have grown old in nine years / without her hand touching mine.) In the above verses the narrator longs for the touch of her finger, for holding her hands. A similar theme is developed in one of his rubai (quatrain), where the narrator opposes the remembrance of the beloved to her real presence. Her material presence is referred to in erotic terms — red lips, submission like wild water and the whiteness of her skin: Sanlip yatmak mumkiin degil bende senden kalan hayale Halbuki sen orda, schritnde gergekten varsm etinle kemiginle Ve bahndan mahrum edildigim kirmizi agzin gozlerin gergekten var Ve asi bir su gibi teslim olu§un ve beyazligm ki dokunamiyorum artik. 2 (I can't lie down embracing the illusion you left on me /But you exist with your flesh and bones, there, in my town/ And your red mouth whose honey I am deprived of, your eyes do really exist / So is your submission like wild water and your whiteness that I cannot touch anymore) The opposition between his remembrance and the physical existence of the beloved is one of the central devices in Nazim Hikmet's quatrains, that oppose material reality to mental or spiritual projections. The poet's aim is to subvert the mystical nature of rub&is, a classical form of the divan tradition, by exploring his materialist conception of love, which is reflected in references to details of everyday life and, occasionally, sexual cravings, within the updated formal conventions of the genre. In a letter to his wife, he outlined the project in the following terms: ^NSzim Hikmet, "Hatunumun gozleri eladir da", Yatar Bursa Kalesinde, 144. Nazim Hikmet, "Rubailer", Sefme $iirler, Ed. Ulkii Tamer, Istanbul: Ararat, 1976: 348.

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Trusting your love, I will try to realise something that nobody has done yet in the W e s t or in the East. I will try to c o n v e y the essence of dialectic materialism with rubais. I am sure that I will be successful because what Mevlana did, trusting the love of God and taking strength f r o m it, I will d o with my faith in your love. I will do exactly the contrary of what he aimed at: I will go in search f o r reality. 1

The focus on reality in love poetry was a novelty that transformed Turkish poetry. But the rejection of mystical cravings in the quatrain, although not a novelty, could also be read as a response to the orientalist discourse on a mysterious and mystical Orient. Obviously, Nazim Hikmet's focus on everyday reality is much more far-reaching than a refutation of orientalist literature. He is redefining the thematic boundaries of poetry, to which the following generations of poets would be hugely indebted. Even so his exploration of ordinary life and the new image of the beloved, read in parallel with his anti-imperialist epics, are a striking rejection of Pierre Loti's depictions of strange and secret lands and submissive oriental women. Indeed the Piraye in Nazim Hikmet's poems might well have been one of the riders reaching out to the sans-culottes of Europe, in his poem "Pierre Loti": Ben elimi size verdim Size verdik biz elimizi kucaklayin bizi Avrupa'nm san-ktilotlari... Siirelim yan yana bindigimiz al atlart! Menzil yakin Bakin kurtulu§ giinii arttk saytli. Onumtizde §arktn gelecek inktlap yih bize kanli mendilini salliyor. Al atlarimiz emperyalizmin gobegini nalliyor. 2 (I gave you my hand/ To you we gave our hand/ Embrace us/ Sansculottes of Europe/ Let's ride our red horses side by side/ The destination is close/ Look/ The days to liberation are numbered/Ahead of us the year of the future revolution of the East/ is waving its bloody rag at us/ Our red horses are treading on the belly of imperialism.)

^Nâzim Hikmet, Nâzim ile Pirâye,235. Nâzim Hikmet, "Piyer Loti", Benerci Kendini Niçin Öldürdü Çiirler 2, Istanbul: Yapi Kredi Yaymlari, 2002: 177. 2