New translation Shakespeare's poems represents a Turkish watershed
Talat Halman is currently dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Letters and serves as chairman of the Department of Turkish Literature at Bilkent Univeristy. He had been appointed as Turkey's first culture minister in the technocrat cabinet created after the 1971 military coup. AA PhotoProfessor Talat Halman, Turkey’s first culture minister (1971), has published a large new volume, “William Shakespeare: Aşk ve Anlatı Şiirleri” (Poems of Love and Narration), in honor of the 450th anniversary of the English bard’s birth.
The bilingual book, published by Türkiye İş Bankası Kültür Yayınları, features Halman’s verse translations of such long poetic tales as “Venus and Adonis,” “The Rape of Lucrece,” “A Lover’s Complaint,” “The Passionate Pilgrim” and “Shall I Die?” The volume runs to nearly 4,000 lines in meter and rhyme in the original and in Halman’s Turkish versions.
The poems include romantic narratives of unrequited infatuation, a desperate rape, and an infamous betrayal. Many of them also glorify or bemoan love, although all have Shakespeare’s iconic lyrical power.
The book constitutes a Turkish literary landmark. With all of Shakespeare’s 37 plays and 154 sonnets having previously been translated and published in Turkish, Halman’s book now completes the publication of all of Shakespeare’s works in Turkish.
Halman is dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Letters and serves as chairman of the Department of Turkish Literature and acting chairman of the Department of English Language and Literature at Bilkent University. He is a noted Shakespeare scholar/translator. In the early 1950s, he translated “Macbeth” using “aruz” meters (classical Turkish prosody), and in the 1960s, dozens of Shakespeare’s sonnets in meter and rhyme. He published his book of the complete sonnets in 1989. He has also given numerous lectures and published articles on Shakespeare in the United States and Britain, as well as in Turkey.