|When:||Wednesday, April 18, 2012|
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
|Where:||1902 Sheridan Road,
Evanston, IL 60208 map it
|Audience:||- Faculty/Staff - Student - Public|
|Group:||Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies|
|Category:||Lectures & Meetings|
“Wandering on the Peripheries”: The Turkish Novelistic Hero as “Beautiful Soul”
Meltem Gürle, Boğaziçi University
The Turkish formation story does not follow the pattern of the classical Bildungsroman. Neither does its protagonist. As opposed to his western counterpart, who usually ends up as a “reformed idealist,” the Turkish novelistic hero, failing to overcome the dichotomy of tradition and modernity, sets on a journey in search of authenticity and gets stuck at the end. His “becoming,” if there is any, is not reminiscent of the Hegelian Bildung. In fact, being trapped in a schizoid dividedness of interiority and outside reality, the Turkish Bildungsheld is more akin to the world of Kant. He becomes a purist obsessed with the idea of an “immediate meaning,” which he can neither get hold of nor return to. Instead of “actively” taking part in the collectivity characteristic to the highly normative western society, he steps back and seeks transcendence in pure contemplation, which turns him into a spiritual dandy, i.e. “the Beautiful Soul.” As a result, he either stumbles over a lifeless world of appearances, as Kemal does in Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence, or fails to represent the universality he claims to bear within himself, as in the case of Mümtaz in Tanpınar’s A Mind at Peace. However, as he veers towards a metaphysical question rather than social reconciliation in his pursuit of authenticity, the Turkish novelistic hero also comes to challenge the limits of the novel of formation and presents us with new ways of approaching the genre.
Meltem Gürle has an MA in philosophy and a PhD in literature. She is an assistant professor at Boğaziçi University, School of Foreign Languages. She is a comparatist with a special focus on modernism, especially the way it manifests itself in non-western cultures. This concern is reflected in her doctoral dissertation entitled “Oğuz Atay’s dialogue with the western canon in The Disconnected.” In addition to her interest in Turkish literature, her research areas include nineteenth century German philosophy, theory of the novel, and James Joyce. She has spent 2010-2011 academic year in UC Berkeley as a visiting scholar, and is presently working on the Turkish Bildungsroman.