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Grammatology and Literary Modernity in Turkey$
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Nergis Erturk

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199746682

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746682.001.0001

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Nâzım’s Ghostwriting

Nâzım’s Ghostwriting

(p.159) 5 Nâzım’s Ghostwriting
Grammatology and Literary Modernity in Turkey

Nergis Ertürk

Oxford University Press

The book concludes with an analysis of language politics in the work of Nâzım Hikmet [Ran]. Affiliated with the post-revolutionary Soviet Futurists, Nâzım distinguished himself from both Safa and Tanpınar in his embrace of vernacularization. We should not, however, take Nâzım’s embrace of vernacularization for an embrace of official state nationalism. Where nationalist phonocentrism sought to control writing for the production of a pure national essence, Nâzım’s vernacular writing aimed to expand and augment the revolutionary power of communication without any compensation in or by cultural essentialism. In an analysis of scenes of reading, writing, and translation in Nâzım’s extended prose poems from the 1930s and 1940s, “Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı” (1936; “The Epic of Sheikh Bedreddin,” trans. 2002), “Taranta Babu’ya Mektuplar” (“Letters to Taranta-Babu,” 1935), and Memleketimden İnsan Manzaraları (Human Landscapes From My Country, trans.2002), I show that vernacularization, for Nâzım, is the opening up of the omni-directional travel of writing, across different languages and linguistic registers, for the formation of an impure and boundless collectivity.

Keywords:   Nâzım Hikmet, “The Epic of Sheikh Bedreddin”, Human Landscapes From My Country, literary communism, translation, avant-garde

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