Types Of Approaches To Historicity In Turkish Novel

What Novel is, and is not?

What is the art of novel? What it is not? There cannot be a unique, embracing and clear answer that can be given to such a question. Nevertheless, we always have explicit views about what a novel is not. Even if the impressionist narrative in the early and rising period of the art of novel caused the perception of this genre to be a fair literary form, revealing reality through an omniscient wisdom; even the ones who have a mediocre level of literature knowledge know that novel is a fictive creation in its essence. It cannot be expected from a fictive creation to represent the reality perfectly. In the art of novel too, just like in the other branches of art; perspectives presenting us different synthesis and doors leading us to the perceptions of different directions of life are developed through the partial distortion, disregard or replacement of different elements of reality.

This very fact is what renders the art of novel magnificent: venture of the destruction of reality with a godlike state of being indebted! Also its bestowing the mankind who reflect upon his fate helplessly a new way of seeing, its offering new vital perceptions and presenting new models of existence…

In fact this is no different from assuming a non-existing factorial to reach logical solutions of a numeric equation. Thus, the art of novel renders possible for us to get new vital guides for our little, sad and tragic lives through an adaptation of the world that is constructed by human instances tested by the problematics of a burlesque world constituted through abstract assumptions and presuppositions. It makes possible for us to learn different aspects of life and various perspectives. Through this, it makes us wiser, improves us and enriches our imaginary world and also renders us more resistant to troubles of life.

These abstract worlds at hand may sometimes present a significant part of the reality; or, may have started out by an attitude as if they are narrating directly the real world. Even this does not change the result. Because the world being narrated is the world of the narrator. Hence, it cannot be identical with reality. Namely, even a narrator claiming himself telling the reality, consciously or unconsciously narrates his own subjective world and this is different from the “real” reality for anyone who is other than himself because every single man grasps reality in a particular manner.

If we suspect even the creation of a writer who has started off to narrate completely the truth and consider his work as a production of a mortal who depicts another dimension of reality; then where is the real?!.. Another question which is more piquant is this: Historical novel which enables a resultant force to our formation of historical awareness that shapes our ideas about our civilization and past falls within where in the reality?

And there is another question: To what extent the Turkish novelist with his history of more than a century has been remained loyal to historical facts, has added his interpretations, has he altered and what are the reasons and aims for all these alterations? What may be his artistic intentions while deforming and curving the history and equipping it with brand new fictitious characters?! What in fact is the reflective path behind his mind during all this process?

In order to be able to analyze this, we shall establish a pattern by systematizing the ways of approaches to historicity in Turkish novel and shall try to draw a conclusion and review the subject matter. We will attempt to figure out how the Turkish novelist has approached the history and how he has got in touch with the reality…

Ways of approaches to historicity in Turkish novel

Novel is the art of bourgeoisie. Don Quixote of Cervantes that is accepted as the origin of the art of novel by many notable critiques coincides with the first explorers who are considered as proto-capitalists too. The art of novel has reached its magnificent period with the development and expansion of capitalism and bourgeoisie’s taking over the power after the American and French Revolutions and 19th century has become the age of the art of novel.

It has taken more than a century for the waves of the French Revolution to arrive in Turkey. At the end of this process that ended up with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, everything has turned upside down and thousands of people have perished. In this period of catastrophes, which had begun in 1911 and ended up in 1923, Turkish novel has risen. Therefore, this period of collapse is intensively handled in Turkish novel and the first examples of our Historical novel consist of the narratives of this period.

Romancı, öykücü ve hiciv yazarı Hikmet Temel Akarsu 1960 yılında Gümüşhane'de doğdu. Dokuz yaşında ailesiyle birlikte İstanbul'a yerleşti. İTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi'ni bitirdi. Mimarlık yapmayıp, kendini yaşam düşü olan yazarlığa adadı. Roman, öykü, deneme, makale, eleştiri, oyun ve senaryo yazarlığı da dahil olmak üzere edebiyatın hemen hemen her alanında ürün verdi. Sanatçı Pen Club, Türkiye Yazarlar Sendikası ve Mimarlar Odası üyesi olup halen İstanbul'da Sanat Ekibi'nin Sanat Danışmanlığı'nı sürdürmektedir.

Hikmet Temel AKARSU

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