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The balkan war (1912-1913) and visions of the future in Ottoman Turkish literature

Engin Kiliç defended his thesis on 11 june 2015

E. (Engin) Kiliç
11 June 2015
Leiden University Repository

The corpus of the Ottoman Turkish literary utopias is little known. It has not received its due share of attention in Ottoman Turkish literary history, and many works of this kind have sunken into oblivion. The present dissertation aims at unearthing these works and at performing a comprehensive examination of this corpus which furnishes valuable insight into the Ottoman Turkish political, cultural, and literary history in the 19th and 20th centuries. It also demonstrates that the Balkan War of 1912-1913 represents a significant rupture in the trajectory of this literature. This dissertation argues that the catastrophic defeat suffered by the Ottomans in the Balkan War, along with its tragic consequences, produced profound shock and trauma in the Ottoman Turkish public and intelligentsia. The state’s teetering on the brink of collapse transformed and radicalized political and ideological positions on the country’s future. At the same time, this extreme setback transformed literature as well, assigning to it the mission of narrativizing this trauma and envisioning a future for Turkey. Accordingly, in the period following the Balkan War, many utopian works were produced in Ottoman Turkish literature, and some of these works have been helpful in the creation of new categories of identity.

Promotor: Prof. dr. E.J. Zürcher, Co-promotor dr. P. de Bruijn

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