Essay Literature in Turkish Literature

Essay is a short literary composition in prose in which a writer discusses a topic that is usually restricted in its scope, or he tries to persuade the reader to accept a particular point of view. While reading an essay, we often feel as if the author is speaking directly to us. In the European literature, the term essai was first applied to the form by Montaigne. The word essay derives from the French verb essayer, which means “to try”. The essay, as a form of literature, was first encountered in Turkish literature after the Tanzimat. The Turkish equivalents of the term have been “tecrübe-i kalemiyye” and “kalem tecrübesi”. Finally, deneme, which corresponds to “to try” was put into use in Turkish literature after the Republic period. Therefore, the bibliographic works on essay were inaugurated at the end of the 1940s. While most of these works traced until the contemporary times are based on an “essay about essay” format, we also come across some articles and books written at the academic level. We can conclude that the authors have reached a consensus on some issues like an essay relating to an autonomous sphere with a sincere style and the essayist having to master a wide perspective to the world. However, there is also considerable dissent among them regarding the ethymology of the term “essay” and the question whether it has outlived its age as a genre or not.


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