Turkish literature

The oldest known examples of Turkish writings are the Orhun inscriptions, which were written in the Gokturk alphabet in the sixth and seventh centuries.  These inscriptions are important not only because they describe the events of the age, but because they show that the Turks had a rich written language at this time.

The conversion to Islam at the start of the 10th century brought about radical changes to literature.  The Kutadgu Bilig was practically written in pure Turkish, and included views on state and religion.  Another important literary work written around this time was the Divan-i Lugat-it Turk (Dictionary of Turkish languages), which was written to show that Turkish was a language just as rich as Arabic.

The most important literary activity of the Ottoman period was Divan literature, which was mostly an adaption of Arabic and Iranian art and produced mostly poems.  Although initially it remained primarily as court literature, in time it developed and became more accessible to ordinary people.

The 19th century saw the introduction of Tanzimat (reformation) literature, which was developed under western influence.  Literature with a social context became the fashion, and literature and journalism became heavily interlinked.

The National Literature movement, which began at the start of the 20th century, was characterised by dealing with the problems Turkey was facing at the time.  Two of the best writers from this movement were Hakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu and Resat Nuri Guntekin, who wrote in simple and clear Turkish.

The first examples of social-realist literature appeared in the 1930s.  In poetry, a revolution was started by Nazim Hikmet, whose free verse poetry ignored the traditional concepts of rhyme, metre and measure.

Literary life was enlivened in the 1980s with the depoliticization of society, and hundreds of new writers emerged, including the internationally-renowned Orhan Pamuk and Yasan Kemar.

To read more detailed information about Turkish literature, click here



Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersintranslation/magazineofliteratureintranslat/turkey/turkishliterature/

About English PEN staff

This content is published by the English PEN staff.

View all posts by English PEN staff →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *