The Turkish Novel: From Tanzimat until Constitutional Period

The Turkish novel flourished in the beginning of the 19th century as a genre composed of both translations and traditional narratives. This influence continued until the emergence of the novel samples during the Servet-i Fünun era. Since the theory of the genre was given more thought after the literature of the Servet-i Fünun, there rose also the opportunity to encounter mature writers and their works. Therefore, it is possible to categorize the progression of the novel until the constitutional monarchy (Mesrutiyet) under two periods of literature; the Tanzimat and Servet-i Fünun. This classification is also valid from the perspective of their thematic inclinations at about the same period. The Turkish novel, which developed during the Tanzimat era, first tried to find its way among the western, eastern and the domestic elements. Its great leap in these years was due to its success in grasping realism more successfully than in the previous periods of literature. In fact, this point signifies the greatest point of transformation. The writers of this era had also taken over the role of social guidance for their audience. As such, the novel served as a means to evaluate a new world of values with a criticism of its offers and disadvantages. In this sense, the Turkish novel emerged as an intellectual genre. The novel attained its ideal form during the literature of the Servet-i Fünun era. Some of the leading reasons for this success were the accomplished transition from romanticism to realism and the maturation of the writing process. The repressive political regime of the period prevented the penetration of literature into the social life as well as their affiliation in later years. With a closer zoom on itself, literature had the chance to develop itself artistically. In the end, the novel of Servet-i Fünun emerged as a well-thought and an aesthetical genre not only thematically but also in terms of its world of fiction.


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