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TASTE OF THE PAST > Exploring Istanbul in novels

Hürriyet Daily News

A new book recently published by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s cultural organization, Culture Inc, entitled ‘Türk Romanından Bir Demet Istanbul’ (A Selection of Istanbul from the Turkish Novel), includes descriptions of Istanbul selected from 25 Turkish novelists

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The book contains black-and-white images of unforgettable scenes in Istanbul, such as views of the Bosphorus, society and the city’s architecture.

The book contains black-and-white images of unforgettable scenes in Istanbul, such as views of the Bosphorus, society and the city’s architecture.

The cultural arm of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Culture, Inc., has published another work as part of its ongoing efforts to promote the city of Istanbul.

The next work “Türk Romanından Bir Demet Istanbul” (A Selection of Istanbul from the Turkish Novel) pulls together unforgettable descriptions of Istanbul from 25 19th- and 20th-century Turkish novelists.
In the preface of the book, Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Kadir Topbaş expresses hope that readers will find themselves able to imagine what Istanbul was once like with the selected writings. The book aims to awaken the spirit of those historical times in the mind of the reader and conceptualize human relations once again.

The selection of works to include was carried out with the advice of Professor Dr. İskender Pala under the editorship of poet and writer Ekrem Kaftan.

Among the works are Namik Kemal’s “Intibah,” Mahmud Ekrem’s “Araba Sevdası” (The Love of the Automobile), Halit Ziya Uşaklıgil’s “Mavi ve Siyah” (Blue and Black), Ahmed Hamdi Tanpınar’s “Huzur” (A Mind at Peace) and Peyami Safa’s “Canan.”

Language has changed

The choice of selected passages is quite interesting, although it seems a bit strange that a number of the readings had to be either simplified or translated into modern Turkish. It makes one realize that today’s Turk can barely understand the Turkish of a hundred years ago as the language has changed so much.

Turkish and English translations are given side by side in the book, but it is very sad that once again the municipality has not had a native English speaker edit the translations. Of course the English reader will be able to gain a general understanding of the works and, if necessary, can look to the Turkish for a more exact meaning. Still the poor translation detracts from the professional quality of the book.

The book also contains black-and-white images of unforgettable scenes in Istanbul, such as views of the Bosphorus, society and the city’s architecture. Many of these are engravings from the 18th and 19th centuries along with a few “modern” depictions that are thought to be by Count Amadeo Prezioso, the Italian painter who lived in Istanbul in the second half of the 19th century. Unfortunately, there is no list of illustrations provided.

Türk “Romanından Bir Demet Istanbul” is available at the municipal bookstore and other main bookstores in the city.

April/25/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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Bruce Humes

4/25/2012 7:30:42 AM

Great to see a book review that does more than praise.
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