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Ceylan, Mevlut (2014)
Languages: English
Types: Other
In writing this thesis I decided to move from the general to the particular, beginning with various definitions of poetry and the roles it has played in society at different times in history. I describe how, latterly, it impinged on my own life as a response to certain existential challenges in the environment in which I grew up. This made for an antipathetic atmosphere ruled by philistines whose values—propagated through a deliberately distorted education system and a supine media—and the effects of that atmosphere had to be negated before Turkish society could move on to a different level of self-awareness.\ud So much for theory, which I explore in some detail in first chapter. From theory I move onto practice, specifically my own experience, whilst seeking to avoid the seductions of an ego trip. To this end I selected three of my published works, which had received critical acclaim in significant quarters. These are succeeded by the two fields of activity that have absorbed the most part of my energies, namely translation and anthologisation. Both these activities entail an almost insupportable responsibility. Have I captured the meaning correctly whilst overcoming the linguistic barrier that might impede the translation of the meaning? Would the author be satisfied or dissatisfied with what I have done? Similarly, anthologisation activity bristles with challenges no less formidable, albeit of a somewhat different nature. These were the same challenges as confronted Palgrave when compiling the most famous of all English poetry anthologies, The Golden Treasury. How to choose a poem that relates to a time and reflects the preoccupations as well as the fashion of that time? How to select poems that exemplify a movement in the way that Lyrical Ballads did for the Romantic generation, turning its back on heroic couplets and the artifices of an artificial society, so the individual may relate once more to nature as the primary source of poetic inspiration. This has echoes, no matter how remote, of Turkish literature when people abandoned Divan poetry for modernisation, largely under imported (especially French) influences. In doing this I settle for a definition of Turkishness in its broader sense, that is, Rumelian Turkey as well as Anatolian Turkey.\ud Some of the issues affect and afflict present-day Turkey. Our country stands at a crossroads in its history. This has impacted on my life here in London, where I had sought safety in exile. I learned from bitter experience what William Empson meant when he referred to his life as a university lecturer in Japan as ‘the same war on a different foot’. My experience differs only in terms of location. I was working in an extraterritorial branch of Turkish academy, and the problem with this is that the Ottomans inherited more than a city when they conquered Constantinople; they inherited the tradition of Byzantine intrigue. I promptly became a victim, and am only now beginning to recover, with a bruised ego.
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