Criticism in Turkish Literature

Criticism, which can be described as an attempt to reveal the genuine value of an artistic work, first showed its face during the Tanzimat period (1839). Initially revolving around the concepts of “old” and “new”, the discussions on criticism, regardless of their shortcomings, were based on their theoretical dimensions especially during the Servet-i Fünun era. However, ever since the Tanzimat, criticism in Turkish literature has been sustained by the subjective/impressionist perspective that relies on personal taste rather than the objective/scientific criteria that builds on theory and methodology. The objective criticism has gained significance especially after the 1950s, and thereby it has become fixed on a theoretical ground. Moreover, the social reality issue as a reflection of the Marxist criticism has found its place following the 1960s. Despite the predominant tone of subjectivity underlying the criticism in Turkish literature, there have also appeared works relying on the theories of criticism developed in the West such as “English-American New Criticism”, “Structuralism”, “Russian Formalism” and “Semiotics”. Moreover, more recent concepts paralleling the post-modernist literature after the 1990s including “metafiction” and “intertextuality” have had their repercussions in our critical thinking. Based on this background, this article will analyze the development of criticism in Turkish literature of the Republican era by detecting and evaluating the published articles and books in the field.


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