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Pasaj Edebiyat Eleştirisi Dergisi

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Turkish literature, Nationalism, National characteristics


The article is written in Turkish.

Written for the special issue of the journal Pasaj Edebiyat on the canon of Turkish literature, the article explores the relationship between the formation of the literary canon and the forging of the national identity. It argues that the modern canon of Turkish literature, much like other national literatures in the Balkans and the Middle East, has been politically constructed after the break with the Ottoman past. Turkish literature has been fashioned through a "literary exchange," much like the 1924 “population exchange” between Greece and Turkey, insulating and sanitizing it from other literary traditions by deselecting ethnic and religious roots unfit for the nation in return for selecting those viewed as "indigenous." The family of Anatolian and Balkan literatures, which have been cross-bred and cross-fertilized with each other for centuries, have been compartmentalized, sanitized and insulated from each other during the nation-building process of the late-nineteenth and early twentieth-centuries. Inspired by the significance Benedict Anderson ascribes to print-capitalism in the imagining of national communities, the article suggests that re-imagining the nation as a more inclusive community might require the recognition of these cross-bred origins and the opening up of the literary canon to works excluded from the national literature due to their authors' ethnic (non-Turkish) and religious (non-Muslim) backgrounds.


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