Selected Topics in 20th Century Turkish Literature

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level

Module overview

The module examines literary works from different schools of Turkish writing in the 20th century. Thus the interaction between the literary and historical and political developments throughout the century is studied through selected texts.


The prerequisite is an appropriate level of competence in Turkish.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The module aims to equip the students with a solid understanding of the interaction between literature and history and politics. The main political events of the century are studied through the works selected. By the end of the module students should be able to make a comparative assessment of the literary developments of the periods studied and relate these to the political developments of the time. Students should also be able to view the works within the framework of specific literary theories. With a focus on changing forms of prose and poetry students should be able to demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of relevant literary forms as they are theoretically formulated and more fundamentally, how they are manifested in the Turkish political, economic and social contexts.


This module is taught over 11 weeks with 2 hours of classroom contact per week, consisting of a 1-hour lecture and a 1-hour seminar.

Scope and syllabus

The module charts the progression of modern Turkish literature and brings to the fore the interaction between politics and literature. It focuses on the novel, the short story and the poem and aims to explore how these types of literary representation can be understood in terms their contemporaneous society. Various aspects of Turkish society –for example, women, the ‘gecekondu’ movement and other political and social movements are discussed through their representation in literary works.

This module shares teaching hours with the BA module 20th Century Turkish Literature I or II. There is one additional hour of Masters-tailored tuition per week.

Method of assessment

One essay of 3,000 words to be submitted on the last Friday of term 2 (50%); one essay of 3,000 words to be submitted on Friday, week 1, term 3 (50%).

Suggested reading

  • Adak, Hülya. 2003. "National Myths and Self- Na(rra)tions:Mustafa Kemal’s Nutuk and Halide Edip’s Memoir and The Turkish Ordeal" in South Atlantic Quarterly. 102, no 2/3.  Eds. Sibel Irzık and Güven Güzeldere. Durham: Duke University Press: 509-527.
  • Akı, Niyazi, 2011.  Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu, Insan-Eser-Fikir Üslup. İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları.
  • Almond, Ian, 2003.  “Islam, Melancholy and Sad, Concrete Minarets: The Futility of Narratives in Orhan Pamuk’s Black Book” in New Literary History, 34: 75-90.
  • And, Metin, 1963-1964.  A History of Theatre and Popular Entertainment in Turkey.  Ankara: Forum Yayınları.
  • Atış, Sarah Moment. [1983] Semantic Structuring in the Modern Turkish Short Story. Social, Economic and Political Studies of the Middle East, 34. Leiden: E.J.
  • Aykut, Ebru, 2007. "Constructing Divisions Between City and Countryside: On Fertile
  • Dino, Güzine, 1986.  "The Turkish Peasant Novel, or the Anatolian Theme."  World Literature Today, 60: 266-75.
  • Enginün, İnci Doç. Dr. Halide Edip Adıvarın Eserlerinde Doğu ve Batı Meselesi. İstanbul: Edebiyat Fakültesi Matbaası, 1978.
  • Erol, Sibel, 2007. “Reading Orhan Pamuk’s Snow as Parody: Difference as Sameness” in Comparative Critical Studies, 4: 403-432.
  • Finn, R. P., 1984.  The Early Turkish Novel: 1872-1900.  Istanbul: İsis.
  • Göknar, Erdağ, 2003. “Ottoman Past and Turkish Future: Ambivalence in A.H. Tanpınar’s Those Outside the Scene in South Atlantic Quarterly. 102, no 2/3.  Eds. Sibel Irzık and Güven Güzeldere.  Durham: Duke University Press: 647-661.
  • Göknar, Erdağ, 2006.  “Orhan Pamuk and the ‘Ottoman Theme” in World Literature Today 80, 6: 34-38.
  • Göksu, Saime and Edward Timms, 2006.  Romantic Communist, The Life and Work of Nazım Hikmet. London: Hurst & Company.
  • Gün, Güneli, 1986.  "The Woman in the Darkroom: Contemporary Women Writers in Turkey."  World Literature Today, 60: 275- 79.
  • Güntekin, R. N., 1968.  Anadolu Notları. 2 vols. Istanbul: İnkilap Kitabevi.
  • Gürbilek, Nurdan. [2003] “Dandies and Originals: Authenticity, Belatedness, and the Turkish Novel” in South Atlantic Quarterly. 102, no 2/3.  Eds. Sibel Irzık and Güven Güzeldere. Durham: Duke University Press Spring/Summer: 599-628.
  • Halman, Talât Sait, 1982.  Contemporary Turkish Literature: Fiction and Poetry.  Edited by T. S. Halman.  Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.
  • Halman, Taliat Sait, 1989.  Living Poets of Turkey:  An Anthology of Modern Poems.  Istanbul: Dost Yayınları.
  • Irzık, Sibel. [2003] “Allegorical Lives: the Public and the Private in the Modern Turkish Novel”, in South Atlantic Quarterly. 102, no 2/3.  Eds., Sibel Irzık and Güven Güzeldere, Durham: Duke University Press, Spring/Summer: 551-566.
  • Jacobson, J. S., 1971.   Occidental Elements in Yakup Kadri’s Novel, Yaban. University of Utah.
  • Kaplan, M., 1978.  Şiir Tahlileri.  2 Vols. Istanbul: Dergah Yayınları.
  • Kaplan, Mehmet, 1976.  Yeni Türk Edebiyatı Üzerine Araştırmalar. Istanbul: Dergâh Yayınları.
  • Kaplan, Mehmet, 1990.  Cumhuriyet Devri Türk Şiiri. Ankara: Kültür Bakanlığı Yayınları.
  • Karaomerlioglu, Asim. "The Peasants in Early Turkish Literature", East European Quarterly XXXVI, No. 2 (June 2002)
  • Karpat, Kemal, 1960-1.  "Social Themes in Contemporary Turkish Literature."  The Middle East Journal, 14: 29-44 (1960); 14: 153-168 (1961).
  • Kaviraj, Sudipta. [2003] “Outline of a Revisionist Theory of Modernity” in European Journal of Sociology, 46 no. 3: 15-36.
  • Kemal, Orhan, 2010. In Jail with Nazim Hikmet. Trnsl., Bengisu Rona (with an essay on Orhan Kemal's work). London: Saqi, 2010.
  • Kudret, Cevdet, 1970-71.  Türk Edebiyatında Hikâye ve
  • Kurdakul, Şükran, 1987.  Çağdaş Türk Edebiyatı: Cumhuriyet Dönemi.  Istanbul. Lands and Distant". Journal of Historical Studies, 5 (2007) 69-82.
  • Mitler, Louis, 1988.  Contemporary Turkish Writers.  A Critical Bio-Bibliography of Leading Writers in the Turkish Republican Period up to 1980. University of Indiana Uralic and Altaic Series.   Bloomington.
  • Moran, Berna, 1983.  Türk Romanına Eleştirel bir Bakış. , Ahmet Mithat’tan A.H. Tanpınar’a.  Vol 1. Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları.
  • Moran, Berna, 1990.  Türk Romanına Eleştirel bir Bakış. Sabahattin Ali’den Yusuf Atilgan’a.  Vol 2.  Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları.
  • Moran, Berna, 1990.  Türk Romanına Eleştirel bir Bakış. Sabahattin Ali’den Yusuf Atilgan’a.  Vol 2.  Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları.
  • Öztürk, M. Orhan. [1980] “Yaşar Kemal’s Social Psychology”, in Edebiyat: A Journal of Middle Eastern Literatures, 1/2: 131-133.
  • Rathburn, Carole, 1972.  The Village in the Turkish Novel and Short Story: 1920-1955.  The Hague: Mouton.  Roman.  2 vols.  Istanbul.
  • Stirling, Paul, 1965.  Turkish Village.  London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules