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Fictional Encounters with Rumi: The Presence of the Sufi Poet in the Turkish Novel, 1990-2010

Altay, Pürnur (2019) Fictional Encounters with Rumi: The Presence of the Sufi Poet in the Turkish Novel, 1990-2010. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Altay, P. PhD Thesis Final Copy.pdf - Examined Thesis (PDF)
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The foundation of the Republic of Turkey, and the Republic’s subsequent reforms, have marked an era from 1923 onwards where not only politics, but also many aspects of quotidian life have been defined according to a division of secular Left versus religious Right. Adherents of both views have since been living within these constructs whereby the other end of the spectrum is viewed as an enemy. Yet from the 1990s onwards three novels have been published, which transgressed this binary regardless of their authors’ leftist alignment. These are Orhan Pamuk’s The Black Book (1990), Elif Shafak’s The Forty Rules of Love (2010), and Ahmet Ümit’s The Dervish Gate (2008). In order to do so, these texts revisited the life of a thirteenth-century Sufi poet, Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi. Providing a brief history of the transition from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic of Turkey, I turn to these novels and ask why, and how, these three prominent Left-aligned novelists write about Rumi’s life in their major novels. I argue that their engagement in this rewriting is a self-reflection of the camp they identify with, and that they use Rumi’s life as a platform to criticise the Republican ideology and its reforms. In my close reading of the novels, I apply theories of allegory, metaphysical detective fiction, crime fiction, epistolarity, the fantastic mode, Rebecca Walkowitz’s coinage of “born translated”, and the concepts of conviviality and pluralism. These concepts and theories have either never been considered in depth or have been overlooked by existing criticism on the novels. Reading against the grain in this way, I not only make use of the political ideas of the novelists and the history of the Turkish Republic, but also explore the references the authors make to the Qur’an and to Rumi’s major works and teachings.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Depositing User: Dr Pürnur Altay
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2019 10:44
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 10:44
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24872

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