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Dark knowledge befits dark color: Turkish novelists interrogate the ideology of light

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2015

Jale Parla*
Affiliation:
İstanbul Bilgi University, İstanbul, Turkeyjparla@bilgi.edu.tr.

Abstract

The Republican discourse of progress has established a strong link between Turkey's modernization and the absolute power of light. As the Turkish word aydin (enlightened) replaced the Ottoman münevver (intellectual), the obligation to be enlightened along the dictates of Kemalist precepts became a national imperative. This over-valuation of light in the cultural and ideological spheres has provoked some Turkish novelists to interrogate the clichés of the symbolism of light versus dark, by obscuring their writing with the twilight colors of shadowy zones. Their texts challenge the reader to dig up what lies beyond the shadows and behind the mists with which these writers have chosen to darken their tales. As the intellectual tradition of modern Turkey has evaded doubt, uncertainty, and indeterminacy, the majority of Turkish novelists have opted for novels of clarity, sited on the axis of conviction and invested with moral certitude. The genealogy of the writers of the dark and dim zone of doubt, disillusionment, and frustration, however, has generated the more intriguing, if not more interesting, novels.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © New Perspectives on Turkey 2009

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