SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Social And Political Trends In 19th Century Turkish Literature

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2020/21

This course covers the impact of western thought on Turkish intellectual life during the Tanzimat period and the emergence of a new social and political order in the Empire, as seen in the writings of the period. Literary works of the era 1860-1920 are read for their linguistic content, social and historical interest and literary merit.

This course shares teaching hours with the BA course in Turkish literature of the Tanzimat and late nineteenth century.


The prerequisite is an appropriate level of competence in Turkish language.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course students will be able to:

  1. evaluate and analyse the intellectual history surrounding the development of modern Turkish literature from the 1950s onwards
  2. apply a range of critical and theoretical approaches to the textual analysis and interpretation of specific texts from Turkih literature
  3. analyse and interpret specific works of Turkish literature against the socio-historical and cultural context of the time in which the works were produced, as well as against present day academic contexts
  4. evaluate the role of literature in Turkish society and culture
  5. demonstrate critical insight into the formation of the literary canon both within the nation-state and post-national contexts


Two hours of teaching are shared with BA students and there is one additional hour of Masters-tailored tuition per week.

Scope and syllabus

The course starts with a survey of the impact of the Tanzimat reforms on Ottoman society and institutions. The impact of newspapers on literary life and individual writers is examined in conjunction with the adaptations of Western style literary genres such as the novel and drama. The transitional nature of the poetry of the time is studied extensively. The emergence of the movement for a simplification of the language is studied through works in both prose and poetry.

Method of assessment

Assessment is by coursework and written examination in May-June.

Suggested reading

Basic bibliography
  • Akyüz, K., 1970. Bat∫ Tesirinde Türk SÇiir Antolojisi. Ankara. 
  • Bailey, F. E., 1942. British Policy and Turkish Reform Mobement: A Study in Anglo-Turkish Relations 1826-1853. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 
  • Ersoy, Mehmed Ak∫f, 1989. Safahat. (ed. E. Düzda©). Ankara: 
  • Kültür Bakanl∫©∫ Yay∫nlar∫. Tevfik, Fikret, 1984.
  • Bütün Eserleri. 3 vols. (Ed As∫m Bezirci). Istanbul: Can Yay∫nlar∫. 
  • Finn, R. P., 1984. The Early Turkish Novel: 1872-1900. Istanbul: ısis. 
  • Heyd, Uriel, 1950. Foundations of Turkish Nationalism: The Life and Teaching of Ziya Gökalp. London: 
  • Luzac. Kaplan, Mehmet, 1971. Tevfik Fikret: Devir-SÇahsiyet-Eser. Istanbul. 
  • Kaplan, Mehmet, 1978. SÇiir Tahlileri. Vol. 1. Istanbul: Dergâh Yay∫nlar∫.
  • Kudret, C., 1979. Türk Edebiyat∫nda Hikâye ve Roman. Vol. 1. Istanbul: Varl∫k Yay∫nlar∫. 
  • Kushner, D., 1977. The Rise of Turkish Nationalism: 1876-1908. London:
  • Cass. Mardin, SÇerif, 1962. The Genesis of Young Ottoman Thought: A Study in the Modernization of Turkish Political Ideas. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 
  • Sönmez, E., 1969. Turkish Women in Turkish Literature of the 19th Century. Leiden: Brill. 
  • Tanp∫nar, A. H., 1982. 19 As∫r Türk Edebiyat∫ Tarihi. Istanbul: CÇa©layan Yay∫nlar∫.
  •  Ãœlken, H. Z., 1966. Türkiye'de CÇagdasç Düsçünce Tarihi.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules