Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel


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Kamala Harris Won in Miami, but Vladimir Putin Won in Osaka

His study situates Pamuk in the Turkish historical, cultural, and literary context that has not only informed him as a writer, but which is also necessary for understanding his novels. First, Pamuk has stated that his book Snow English translation, was his first and only political novel, and as such, he does not view himself as a political writer. In the now famous interview from with the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger , Pamuk continually strives to position himself as a world writer, not simply a Turkish author, thus attempting to break free from a label of provinciality this eventually led to charges of denigrating Turkishness being brought against him.

In many ways, what makes Pamuk so interesting is that he is a writer of dualities—a political writer who strives to be non-political and the Turkish author par excellence who positions himself in the European tradition. In his memoir Istanbul: Memories and the City , he repeatedly writes of his interest in how others particularly Europeans view Turkey and Istanbul in particular.

He traces both known and lesser known writers and artists who travelled to Istanbul in the 19 th century and who became the best chroniclers of the city.

My Name Is Red

In fact, Pamuk writes, most Turkish writers are not interested in being contemporary archivists, thus the task has traditionally fallen to outsiders. In much the same way, Pamuk sees himself as a critical outsider all the while being the ultimate insider with insight into his native land and peoples. To be sure, there are other paths to exploring Pamuk and his literary influences—his essays and memoirs are full of references to and reverence for European literature and modernity, so to ignore them would be a disservice to any scholarly reading.

Book Review and some Quotes from “ My name is Red” written by Orhan Pamuk

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This is what Pamuk intends as he skillfully intermingles textual traditions and historical time periods, establishing the trademark intertextuality and intertemporality of his fiction. This account is cleverly contrasted with that of Oedipus. The final scene in My Name Is Red , for example, depicts the portrait of a mother the savvy woman Shekure nursing the child the author-figure Orhan as a kind of iconic union. The ghost of the traditional Ottoman-Islamic father, however, is always near, haunting the secular modern son and protagonist.

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The Islamic extremist Blue recounts the Rostam story as a parable to Ka, the secular, modern intellectual:. In this exchange, an association is made between an Islamist worldview and the Rostam story; meanwhile, Western-style modernity is linked to the Oedipus myth. Each story stands in for conflicting political imaginaries. Blue is later assassinated by operatives of the secular Turkish deep state.

A Strangeness in His Mind: Orhan Pamuk on his Novels, Istanbul & the Preservation of Memories

In vengeance, Ka is killed by Islamist supporters of Blue. Both myths maintain political force in the novel. Pamuk relies on the myths of Rostam and of Oedipus to provide cultural maps for two positions of political power. The conflict between these distinct cultural formations of Islamic tradition and secular modernity leads to an unlikely outcome: the production of a contemporary, global novel.


  1. Nomadologies;
  2. Wherein the Lilies Grow.
  3. Nomadologies | Ingram Academic.
  4. Fragile Heart.

The Red-Haired Woman is structured in three parts. Turkey has just experienced a major military coup in In the background, a military base reminds the reader of the ongoing threat of intervention.


  1. 3 editions of this work.
  2. Geochemistry of Epigenesis (Monographs in Geoscience).
  3. Erdağ Göknar - Google Scholar Citations.
  4. THE HOBBY HORSE: An Enigma?
  5. Racial Borders: Black Soldiers along the Rio Grande (South Texas Regional Studies).

The master well-digger, the devout Mahmut, becomes something of a surrogate father to Cem, and he recounts Koranic parables to him in the evenings. The gender norms of s Turkey are set up as follows:. The red-haired woman is a libertine member of a left-leaning, traveling theater troupe, and Cem loses his virginity to her. When Cem accidentally drops a bucket down the yard-deep well at the bottom of which Master Mahmut is working, he flees assuming the worst — that he has killed him.

Meanwhile, the well symbol of the womb , takes on a further metaphorical significance, suggesting the archeological metaphor that Freud relied on in explaining his model of the psyche.

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Part Two follows Cem, who first aspires to be a writer, in Istanbul from to the mids. He becomes a geological engineer and contractor as well as a successful, secular purveyor of modernity. In an otherwise faithful translation by Ekin Oklap, the narrative flags here due to summary description. To the degree that they name their joint construction company Sohrab, the Shahnameh hero who is fated to be killed by his father.

Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel
Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel
Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel
Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel
Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel

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