TÜRK ROMANCILARI BİYOGRAFİLERİ 2. KİTAP ÇIKTI
Dlb 379: Turkish Novelist, Second Series (Dictionary of Literary Biography)
Burcu Alkan ve Çimen Günay Erkol’un hazırladığı “Dlb 379: Turkish Novelist, Second Series (Dictionary of Literary Biography)” adlı kitap geçtiğimiz yıl sonunda Cengage Gale yayınevince basıldı. Burcu Alkan, Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi’nden; Çimen Günay Erkol, Özyeğin Üniversitesi’nden…
Kitap henüz bana ulaşmadı. Elime geçtiğinde içeriği hakkında daha ayrıntılı tanıtım yaparım. Şimdilik bana gönderilen kendimle ilgili bölümü biraz kısaltarak sizlere aktarıyorum. Kitap kapaklarından da sadece birini koyuyorum. Benimle ilgili bölümün yazarları ise başlık altında belirtiliyor.
İnternette kitabı gösteren bağlantılardan biri:
Zeynep Arıkan and Esra Yıldız
Devrimciler (Istanbul: 1988-BDS);
Kimlik (Istanbul: 1989-Adam);
Çagrısız Hayalim (Istanbul: 1992- Adam);
Yanılmanın Gerçekligi (Istanbul: 1994-Ithaki);
Kisilikler (Istanbul: 1995-Adam);
Öteki Kayıp (Istanbul: 1998-Adam);
Intihar: Zamanımızın Bir Kahramanı (Istanbul: 1999-Adam);
Kus Bakısı (Istanbul: 2001-Ithaki);
Politik Psikiyatri: Yanılmanın Gerçekligi-2 (Istanbul: 2003-Ithaki);
Psikiyatri El Kitabı (Istanbul: 2003-Ithaki,);
Yoldaki Isaretler (Istanbul: 2004-Adam, !);
Futbolun psikiyatrisi: Sporun psikolojisi ve psikiyatrisi, by
Arslanoglu and Kaan Özkan (Istanbul: 2005-Ithaki);
Memleketimden Karakter Manzaraları (Istanbul: 2005-Ithaki);
Sessizlik Kuleleri (Istanbul: 2007-Ithaki);
5. Sanattan 5. Kola: Orhan Pamuk, by Arslanoglu and
others (Istanbul: 2007-);
Karsıdevrimciler: Devrimciler- 2 (Istanbul: 2008-Ithaki);
Evrim Açısından Devrim (Istanbul: 2010-Ithaki);
Reenkarnasyon Kulübü (Istanbul: 2011-Ithaki);
Kayıp Devrimin Öncesinde (Istanbul: 2013-Yazılama);
Evrimci Açıdan Din, Psikoloji, Siyaset (Istanbul: 2016- Ithaki).
Among the few trained psychiatrists who have achieved success in contemporary Turkish fiction, Kaan Arslanoglu is a novelist whose work not only shows his background in psychology but also his concern with socio-political issues. As a leftist he was tortured under the military regime following the 1980 coup, and, especially in his early novels, he has written fiction that treats the coup and its consequences. His continuing interest in the evolving social and political ethos of Turkey has shaped his subsequent career.
Kaan Arslanoglu was born in Bartın on 13th January 1959 ( to a family of Laz and Abkhaz origins). His father, Osman Cavit Arslanoglu, was a forest engineer,
and his mother, Kadriye Arslanoglu, was a housewife with some training in vocational evening schools organized especially for local women. He
has an older sister and an older brother. Because of his father’s job, the family often relocated, and Arslanoglu spent his childhood all around Anatolia,
living in Bartın, Karadeniz Ereglisi, Silifke, Bilecik, Hendek, Adapazarı, Sivas, and Bursa. Republican values such as the necessity of a good education and
scientific thinking were dominant in the family. He started primary school in Hendek. (…) When he became a third- grader, the family moved to Sivas; hence, he graduated from a primary school in this city.
Arslanoglu started reading by borrowing boks from the school library and his sister’s personal collection. His father also brought books to the house.
Although his brother, who had an extroverted and outdoors personality, distracted him, he developed an interest in reading while also enjoying the company of his brother in discovering the joys of life outside the house. The first book he read in his childhood was One Thousand and One Nights. In his
late childhood, Ömer Seyfettin’s stories, especially “Kasagı” (Currycomb) and “Diyet” (Blood Money), and Yahya Kemal Beyatlı’s poems were among his
favorites. In his reading endeavors, Arslanoglu not only read Turkish literature but also became familiar with Western works, thanks to his sister. In his late
childhood, he read Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, and The Razor’s Edge by Somerset Maugham.
Arslanoglu grew politically conscious at the age of thirteen or so through books and the influence of his sister, who in started her studies at the university in Istanbul. Spending two more years in Sivas, the family returned to Adapazarı (…) when Arslanoglu was in his second year at high school. He graduated from Atatürk High School in Bursa in 1976. (At the time he graduated,
he was already friends with some of the top cadres of the Marxist Leninist Türkiye Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi (People’s Liberation Party-Front of Turkey), or THKP-C, most of whom were his sister’s friends.
In his high-school years, Arslanoglu read Russian authors such as Lev Tolstoy, Ivan Turgenev, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. In 1977 he started his studies
at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of Uludag University in Bursa. He quit and a year later began studying medicine in Istanbul at Cerrahpasa
Faculty of Medicine, but he was more interested in becoming a revolutionary than a medical doctor.
During his university education, he was involved in political activities, while also diversifying his literary experience as a reader. He familiarized himself with
a variety of Turkish authors such as Sabahattin Ali, Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu, Resat Nuri Güntekin, and Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar.
Arslanoglu’s father passed away in 1981. In December of that year, he was taken into custody and held for fifty-three days in which he endured
maltreatment and torture. He experienced non-stop brutality, which, later when he decided to write, motivated him to create his protagonist Bedri in his first novel Devrimciler (1988 - Revolutionaries). In 1982 he stood trial with the members of the Türkiye Devrimci Komünist Partisi (Revolutionary Communist Liberation Party of Turkey), or TDKP/HK. His case lasted two years, and he was acquitted in 1984. In the same year, he graduated from the university and married Ilknur Küçükoglu, a medical student at the same faculty who was involved with a different leftist faction.
They became a couple in their last year at the university. Arslanoglu spent the next two years in Eskisehir completing his medical conscription, a service doctors in Turkey must perform before they can specialize. He also worked on his first novel during this time. He returned to Istanbul in 1986 and began his
specialization in psychiatry at Bakırköy Mental and Neurological Diseases Hospital.
In Devrimciler Arslanoglu focuses on the early post-coup Turkey and intertwines the stories of three characters, Aylin, Akın, and Bedri, all of whom
are politically active university students in the same leftist organization. Akın and Bedri are secretly in love with Aylin, whereas she is not concerned with a-airs of the heart. Arslanoglu sets up the love triangle as the framework for his novel; however, in essence it is about the quandary of leading a politically active life in those times. Aylin is arrested for hanging a political poster. Bedri, who is arrested a short time later, finds out that his friends from the organization gave his name to the police under torture. Because he refuses
to cooperate with the police, Bedri is tortured until near death, an ordeal described in meticulous detail.
Akın is not arrested and does not even know whether or not the police are looking for him. He flees Istanbul and lives in fear for a while at a friend’s house. In the end Bedri dies and Akın returns to Istanbul. He finds Aylin to profess his love, but she refuses him.
When he is walking around the university, two policemen approach him and ask him to go with them to the station—a scene chillingly reminiscent of how
Bedri ended up in custody.
Semih Gümüs, in his essay “Her Seyden Önce Roman” (A Novel Before All Else), notes that Arslanoglu questions Turkey’s young radical groups without blaming them and regards the novel as a selfcriticism of the revolutionist movement of the time.
Another favorable criticism came from Fethi Naci who observes that Arslanoglu was able to see and write as an insider; therefore, his novel reflects a selfcriticism rather than an accusation.
In Arslanoglu’s second novel, Kimlik (Identity), the narrator is a doctor at a mental hospital, who tells the story of the protagonist, Necati, a man who
was formerly a doctor himself but now is a patient. After his graduation from medical school, Necati goes to a small town in Anatolia for his medical conscription. (…)
During his four years at the Bakırköy facility, Arslanoglu contributed to literary journals such as Insancıl (Humanly) and Adam Sanat (Man Art). His aim was to record his resistance to oppression on paper, in both fiction and nonfiction. At the same time, he also actively worked toward finding solutions to the problems medical doctors face in their exhausting work routines. He left Istanbul again to perform his mandatory military service in 1990-1992. He continued to read and write under dificult circumstances during this period, as he was serving at a hospital in the middle of armed clashes between the
Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and the Turkish army in Agrı, a city in southeast Turkey. Upon discharge, he came back to Istanbul to work at Bakırköy Mental and Neurological Diseases Hospital, where he completed his specialization.
After the death of his chief professor, he did not want to stay at Bakırköy and left for Kartal Education and Research Hospital in 1992. Arslanoglu’s next novel, Çagrısız Hayalim (My Uninvited Dream), has political and psychological
themes similar to the previous ones. It concerns Ayhan and his two friends from a distant past, Esma and Ercan. One day Ercan, who has been on the run
for many years, unexpectedly shows up at Ayhan’s summerhouse and asks for his help. He explains that Esma, with whom they were once both in love,
has cancer and that in order to help her, he needs to find the money he had stolen during his revolutionary days. The problem is that he had hidden it away
before being caught by the police and cannot remember where. Ayhan grudgingly agrees to help Ercan as he is himself haunted by the years of their friendship, but they cannot find the money. (…) Ayhan gets him released
and takes him to the airport. As Ercan leaves for Germany, Esma decides to divorce her husband to join him abroad. Naci contends that the blending of reality and delusion is what makes Çagrısız Hayalim impressive and that Arslanoglu’s background as a psychiatrist underlies his successful depiction of Ercan’s delirium.
While working at Kartal Education and Research Hospital as a psychiatrist, Arslanoglu continued to write, bringing out his fourth novel, Kisilikler (Personalities), after his first nonfiction book, Yanılmanın Gerçekligi (The Reality of Being Mistaken), in which he discusses the individual within society from an evolutionary perspective. Kisilikler is about two middleaged men, Sinan and Sercan, whose paths never cross throughout the narrative but whose lives are analogical.
They both have decent jobs, journalist and academic respectively. They were both leftist activists in the 1980s, but since then have lost their drive and are
currently indiferent to the political climate of the country, remaining silent and seeking fulfillment in their relationships with women outside of their marriages.
The parallelism in their lives allows for an indepth exploration of the personal and the political. Sinan’s narrative is marked by his visits to his old friend Hülya, who has cancer and will die soon. Their conversations involve reminiscing, but they are also often rather uncomfortable for Sinan. Hülya, traumatized by her illness and impending death, is intense and at times aggressive. (…) When Umut is killed by the police, however, Sibel is left emotionally confused. The narrative ends with a vague romantic connection between Sercan and Sibel.
Naci argues that the two characters in this novel, Sinan and Sercan, display features that make them both types and characters. They are peculiar
in terms of their lives, and they reflect the typical characteristics of Turkey in 1995. ( The novelist stood for insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of
modern Turkey, in this novel, because a character remarks that Atatürk’s mother, Zübeyde, was a whore and therefore Atatürk was the son of a whore. Yet, he was acquitted in 1996.)
Arslanoglu’s novel Öteki Kayıp (The Other Loss) explores a variety of contemporary world issues through the protagonist-narrator, Musa, a Turkish
socialist sympathizer and a psychologist. A former refugee in England, Musa works for an office that helps refugees. Among many people that he aids, he
becomes particularly involved in the case of Gülsüm, a woman who does not remember her past because of severe brain damage. In trying to help her and
solving the mystery around her injury and memory loss, Musa deals with his internal dilemmas, reflecting upon his own life and place in a foreign society
and his feelings of estrangement from his native culture.
Calling Öteki Kayıp a “political crime novel,” Naci praises Arslanoglu not only for successfully combining the political novel with detective fiction but also for his willingness to address the political turmoil of his time.
The protagonist of Arslanoglu’s sixth novel, Intihar: Zamanımızın Bir Kahramanı (Suicide: A Hero of Our Times), is Erdem, a man who has grown jaded with the competitive environment of his Professional life and the monotony of his personal life. Deciding to climb a mountain in order to rethink and reevaluate his past and make plans for the future, he remembers his childhood and ruminates upon his troubled family a'airs that include both his own broken marriage and that of his parents. He also thinks about his old friendships and conflicts. On his first day at the mountain, he runs into an acquaintance
from his university, Murat. The two men grow agitated with one another and make a bet about who will be able to climb the mountain first, even though
each is fearful about the ascent. Erdem is able to win the bet as he slowly but determinedly climbs to the top and enjoys the amazing view.
In his review article in the book supplement of the Cumhuriyet (Republic) newspaper (March 2008, Sadık Aslankara suggests that Intihar: Zamanımızın Bir
Kahramanı is a transitional novel in Arslanoglu’s career. He contends that the novelist’s prose is smoother and more precise than in his earlier novels. For the critic, this transition hints at a transformation from the “yazının sıg sularından” (superficial waters of writing) to “romanın okyanusuna” (the ocean of the novel).
In his next novel, Kus Bakısı (The Bird’s Eye View), Arslanoglu’s main interest is the psychological states of the characters rather than political debates. The focus of the narrative is the psychiatrist Nihat and his meetings with his patients, who come from di'erent social classes and backgrounds. They
include a woman who feels guilty about cheating on her husband; a working-class man, whom Nihat thinks is dishonest; and a writer who feels dissatisfied
with the literary circles he attends for simple, quick fixes for his problems. During these therapy sessions, the stories told by the patients get mixed
up with Nihat’s own memories, and it grows difficult to distinguish which memory belongs to whom. The intertwining of the narratives reveals the instability of Nihat’s own mental health.
In his review, Aslankara posits that Kus Bakısı and the novels that follow it show
Arslanoglu’s attainment of maturity as a writer, for the language issues he notes in regards to his earlier works are “next to none” in them. He continues to praise the novelist in his (March 2008) review in Cumhuriyet Kitap (Republic Books), asserting that narrative complexity of the novels Arslanoglu has written
in the 2000s make them his finest achievement.
In 2001 Arslanoglu resigned from his post at the hospital owing to the increasing amount of work. With the intention of sparing more time for his writing, he established a private clinic, where he continued
working as a psychiatrist for a few more years.
In 2003 he brought out a second nonfiction book, Politik Psikiyatri: Yanılmanın Gerçekligi-2 (Political Psychiatry: The Reality of Being Mistaken-2). As is suggested by the repetition of title of his first nonfiction book as the subtitle for his second, Politik Psikiyatri is an elaboration upon the earlier book and discusses social and political problems through references to evolution.
The same year, he also published Psikiyatri El Kitabı (The Handbook of Psychiatry), in which he outlines topics on psychiatry, such as personality disorders, neuroses, and addictions for a general readership.
Like his other novels of 2000s, Arslanoglu’s next novel, Yoldaki Isaretler (Signs on the Way) is notable for its postmodernist elements. In fantastic fashion the narrator of the novel explores various narratives in di)erent periods, looking for an essence of storytelling. This narrator serves Necmi, the writer, and refers to what he does as a duty executed for him. As the narrator travels through such
places as London and Yugoslavia and across eras such as the medieval and contemporary periods, Necmi’s story is also inserted into the narrative while
he struggles to write. The stories of Necmi, the first narrator, and narrators introduced later intermingle as the exploration of storytelling is constructed. In
addition to his characteristic psychological analyses, Arslanoglu in Yoldaki Isaretler is preoccupied with the relationship of fiction writing to the patterns of narratives throughout the history of humanity.
In his review in Cumhuriyet (23 June 2004) Turgay Fisekçi observes that Arslanoglu in Yoldaki Isaretler is more interested in the existential nature of
human beings than in their political environments and notes that it differs from his previous novel in having a much broader scope. In his review in Kitaplar Adası (The Island of Books) Aslankara points out its rich visual depiction and cinematographic structure.
In 2005 Arslanoglu closed his clinic and started working as a consultant in a center that examines the driving capabilities of applicants for official approval. (…) Following this professional change, he was able to concentrate more on writing, and the year 2005 was a fruitful year. He wrote two nonfiction
books that touch upon psychology as well as sociopolitical issues: Futbolun Psikiyatrisi (The Psychiatry of Football) and Memleketimden Karakter Manzaraları (Character Landscapes from my Homeland). In the latter book he examines what being an intellectual means to thinkers such as Cemil Meriç, Necip Fazıl Kısakürek, Attilâ Ilhan, Niyazi Berkes, and Yalçın Küçük as well as the concept of the intellectual itself.
In 2007 Arslanoglu and his wife moved to Düzce, a town where his family comes from, upon the promotion of his wife to professorship at Düzce University Hospital. That year he contributed to 5. Sanattan 5. Kola: Orhan Pamuk (From the 5th Art to the 5th Branch: Orhan Pamuk), which consists of critical essays on Pamuk’s writing. It is a co-authored text by Arslanoglu, Nihat Ates, Ali Mert, and Ergin Yıldızoglu.
Also in 2007 Arslanoglu published Sessizlik Kuleleri (Towers of Silence), a novel about a new civilization founded by the survivors of a catastrophe that occurred in the beginning of the twentyfirst century. It is set in a technologically advanced society, in which the biological aspects of human
existence are outmoded and mainly weeded out from life. This new world appears to be digitally perfected,and advances in neuroscience have redefined
humanity. Moods, confusions, emotional states, and psychological fragilities are digitally rectified. Memories and other mental processes are centrally
recorded and filed. The protagonist and narrator is a woman, Feng, who was saved from the apocalyptic disaster when she was a child. In her work for the
state she comes upon a “person” who seems to bear digital glitches that make him imperfect like the human beings of old times. As the plot unfolds she
is embroiled in a conspiracy while searching for this manifestation of a glitch in the system. Traveling to the lands beyond her protected digital boundaries,
she is thrown into an identity crisis.
This novel follows in the tradition of classic science fiction such as H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine and George Orwell’s 1984 that envision technological advancement threatening humanity. In her May 2007 review in Varlık (Existence), Aysel Sagır observed that Arslanoglu presents a world in which human beings destroy themselves, while focusing on the humanity of the past. He describes a dark future and a struggle for salvation, using a language
reminiscent of the holy books. Fisekçi suggested in Cumhuriyet (7 March 2007) that the novelist is understandably pessimistic about the future, considering
the dehumanizing aspects of capitalism. He noted that Arslanoglu shows humanity’s awakening is possible only after its catastrophic destruction. In Kitaplar Adası (The Island of Books, ) (June 2008) Aslankara likewise emphasized Arslanoglu’s pessimism, pointing out that Sessizlik Kuleleri alienates the reader with its artificial language.
While he was still working as a consultant, Arslanoglu published his next novel, Karsıdevrimciler: Devrimciler-2 (Counter Revolutionaries: Revolutionaries
2). Although its title harkens back to his first novel, Karsıdevrimciler: Devrimciler stands as a separate novel in its own right, focusing on what has
become of the revolutionaries of old in contemporary times. The narrative follows former leftists and shows the ongoing change in the socio-economic
context. Formerly a Turkish citizen, the protagonist and narrator Erwin Atkins (Metin) is a professor visiting from England. He is a delegate of a political foundation that aims to improve democracy in countries in sociopolitical turmoil. He initially hides his Turkish identity and introduces himself with an English name. He meets many activists from different leftist groups, some of whom he personally knows from a long time ago. His narration is often interrupted by the inner voices of other characters, revealing their true feelings and opinions, which mostly contradict their direct statements. After a while, his real identity is revealed, and he is threatened by mysterious people who are connected to his former political faction. Through his return, Erwin Metin gets the chance to observe the changes that have taken place in the political circles that he used to be involved in, and he reflects upon this transformation to reevaluate his own past and current political position. His professional engagement in a way results in a settling of personal and political accounts. In his review in Cumhuriyet (7 March 2008) Fisekçi characterized the novel as argumentative because of its overly positive portrayal of the intellectuals of the 1980s. Despite what may be its argumentative tone, however, the novel is not suffocated by political rhetoric.
In 2010 Arslanoglu published another nonfiction book, Evrim Açısından Devrim (Revolution from the Perspective of Evolution). He discusses the left, socialism, communism, Marxism, Stalinism, and the foundations of scientific thinking. In 2011 he retired from serving as a consultant to concentrate on his writing.
The protagonist and narrator in Arslanoglu’s next novel, Reenkarnasyon Kulübü (Reincarnation Club), is in some respects autobiographical, as he is a psychiatrist who lives in a small town and often visits Istanbul. At the beginning of the novel, he meets Serhat, who is troubled by his relationship with his wife and haunted by memories that do not seem to belong to him. The narrator agrees to help Serhat on a voluntary basis, and he finds himself drawn into a complicated set of relationships between Serhat and his wife, Inci, and his friend Master Enver, a shoemaker. The psychological unreliability of the characters and their troubled relationships put the narrator in a diffcult position. Both Serhat and Enver believe that they are reincarnations of
other souls. Although Serhat does not know whose reincarnation he is, the narrator guesses that he is a revolutionary from his own generation, whereas Master Enver believes himself to be the reincarnation of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The narrator oscillates between believing them delusional and entertaining the possibility of reincarnation. Yet, beyond the question of what the truth is, the narrator is drawn to the narratives of Serhat and Enver, seeing in them the curious potential of storytelling. In Kitaplar Adası (December 2011) Aslankara praised Reenkarnasyon Kulübü as a successful political novel. In his review in Cumhuriyet (19 October 2011) Fisekçi noted that Arslanoglu explores the themes he is known for but also shows a sense of humor.
Arslanoglu’s Kayıp Devrimin Öncesinde (Before the Lost Revolution) is an experimental novel that was shaped by the details of real events as it was
being written and serialized in the newspaper Sol (Left). As every episode made use of current news in Turkey, the political and social atmosphere in 2012 and 2013 were directly included in the narrative, including the ethnic and political conflicts in Hatay and the war in Syria. The serialization continued during Gezi Park protests, in which there were mass demonstrations on the streets against the government. Consequently, the novel turned out to be a kind of a live broadcast of contemporary events. The episodes were brought together and published as a book at the end of 2013.
The narrator is the omnipotent cosmic consciousness that claims to evaluate every incident with pure objectivity. He travels through the minds of a
variety of ordinary people and influential political figures, such as a leader of a media corporation or the prime minister of a major European country. He
observes humanity at a grand distance and in a somewhat conceited tone. As this all-knowing, all-seeing, all-perceiving narrator travels through consciousnesses, seeking where the next “great leap” that will transfer humanity to its next stage will occur, he comments upon philosophies, ideologies, religions, society, international politics, sexuality, individuality, and
many other issues. Although there are small sections in which the narrator talks to an evasive Wise Old Man, most of the book is the narrator’s commentary.
In 2014 Arslanoglu started to write for a website that he co-founded, insanbu.com. The site grew into a collective effort as it accepted submissions for publication. He wrote a set of humor essays under the pseudonym T. Fikri, titled “Kemal, Carl ve Celalettin Bugünü Konusuyor” (Kemal, Carl, and Celalettin are Talking about Today), which presented conversations between Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Karl Marx, and Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi. Photographs of the three were also included in the pieces, resembling a comic book.
In 2016 Arslanoglu brought out another book of commentary, Evrimci Açıdan Din, Psikoloji, Siyaset (Evolutionary Perspectives on Religion, Psychology, Politics).
Throughout his writing career Kaan Arslanoglu has used his background in psychiatry to create multidimensional characters. He also has maintained an
interest in and concern about political issues. His narrators usually have strong opinions about social problems and are politically involved. In his early novels he created a haunting history of the Turkish Left. While socialist thinking has continued as a central point of interest in his works, in later novels he has broadened his scope to consider the sociopolitical consciousness
of Turkey in the present and the future.
Aysel Sagır (…), Fethi Naci (…), Semih Gümüs (…), Turgay Fisekçi (…) …
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