HALID ZIYA USAKLIGIL Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar Halid Ziya Usakligil is no more.

He was not only in the first ranks of the generation we call Edebiyati Cedide (The New Literature) but he was also one of its first writers. His long productive life enabled him to be the last of this generation too. His life is like a parenthesis that encloses an important period of our cultural and literary history. Our fiction truly starts with Halid Ziya. Namik Kemal had only experimented with this genre. Mithad Efendi who started his career about the same time as Namik Kemal undeniably instilled a taste for reading among the masses of people. But his writing was always devoid of form which is the first requirement in a work of art. Although in his work he dealt with certain problems, he had a grasp of the antagonisms in our life and occasionally he could even invent an engrossing plot he was not able to bring the warmth of life into his writings. Some of the local types he discovered could only be incorporated into the art of fiction after they were remolded in the hands of Huseyin Rahmi. Halid Ziya and his generation grew up in the first years of Abdűlhamid's reign. Around 1884 our literature had already separated itself from Namik Kemal with a new style and a view of life under the influence of the French realists. The writer who was the real lover of this realism was Besir Fuad

-- who is hardly remembered today; he was the one who persuaded Muallim (teacher) Naci -- a man open to great friendships and lived his emotions naively - to translate Therese Raquin. After his two books Hugo and Voltaire and his criticism attacking Namik Kemal type of literature a new movement was born. Sami Pasazade Sezai joined this movement with a style which was a fractured and affected form of Namik Kemal's style. Around the same time Nabizade Nazim's short stories were published; among them were "Zehra" and "Kara Bibik" which was a realistic depiction of rural life. Halid Ziya Usaklical's work, like all the novels and short stories of Edebiyati Cedide, presents the mature stage of a movement whose aim was to break away from Namik Kemal's school and style. Today it is hard to associate with it. Because the generation of Namik Kemal who had started out with a yearning for realism fell into a framework of arbitrariness and deluded themselves as soon as they broke away from the old literature. Those who separated themselves from Namik Kemal also became slaves of a new arbitrariness both in language and in the composition of their writings. This is reason why they were considered "Alla Franca” for a long period of time. If the conditions of Abdülhamid era and this ruler's omnipresent suspicions did not hinder this generation of writers from being openly involved in the problems and the turmoil in the country, would their work have been any different? It is hard to say. However, it is certain that the writers of Edebiyati Cedide not only identified themselves with a spirit in their society that gave direction to life but they were even guided by it. The westernization of Fikret, Halid Ziya and Mehmed Rauf was a social phenomenon; the wheel of historical necessities was behind it. Fikret who was more of a socially conscious man than his friends both before 1908 - as the conditions permitted - and after 1908 endeavored with all his might to synthesize the idea of westernization with the concepts of compassion,

humanity, freedom and justice. He actively searched for something beyond a rebellion of the victimized directed toward the self with all its force and turned into internal despair. Thus he managed to transform westernization that was a historic and social necessity into a cluster of well defined ideas, i.e., a system. Cenab could not do this; he toyed with rootless feelings and words in a sterile aesthetism. Halid Ziya takes his place between these two poles. His work does not crystallize around a clear and radical view of society. That is why we find in his work the dimensions of the real society only from time to time and in fragments, juxtaposed with the aspired modes of life. Halid Ziya is not the kind of writer who presents his time directly but rather in the absence of certain essential elements. Perhaps Mai ve Siyah (The Blue and the Black) has to be put in a different category though. This novel depicts the life of middle class intellectuals in a period of our h i s t o r y: t h e c o n t r a d i c t i o n s o f t h i s l i f e , t h e disparities in education, the yearnings, the sorrows and the hopes. But it must be emphasized that Mai ve Siyah depicts an artistic milieu; and this milieu is confined within the limits of school, printing house, bookstore, and the Babi Ali Avenue. The characters can be connected with real life only through their backgrounds. These are the most alluring aspects of the novel; i.e., the education of Ahmed Cemil, the story of his sister and Raci and his wife. Halid Ziya achieves a universality in certain passages. The novel does not deal with love as such. Ahmed Cemil's distant love for his friend's sister is more like a dream than love and is not the weak point of the novel as some had claimed but its strong point. Because, for Ahmed Cemil, this young girl is not exclusively a love object but a life style, a level of affluence he wants to achieve; in other words, it is the natural world of his dreams. I think Mai ve Siyah presents us with the indigenous story of our adventure. The only fault to be found in the book is its handling of this yearning for an ideal life in a narrow frame and hence its shallowness. Even in the days of Namik Kemal type of westernization, to write books like the westerners and to publish newspapers were considered to be very special, very progressive and open minded compared to listening to music.

Aski Memnu (The Forbidden Love) too like Mai ve Siyah is a novel that is bound by its own fate. Just as Ahmed Cemil is devastated by a few encounters with reality, Bihter (the heroine of The Forbidden Love) destroys the rich and elite household of Adnan Bey equipped with cooks, servants and a governess, and imbued with an odd kind of sensitivity. Bihter's beauty, her female instincts, her different family background, her sacrifice for her family for money present her as more alive and more powerful than the people around her. She enters this house like a lightning bolt striking the hothouse. Aski Memnu is a little hell within a family. A set of contrary situations bring out the strong points of the novel. Blood ties, love, lack of willpower, sin intertwine all the characters of the novel to each other; so much so that even death and separation cannot unravel these knots. It is perhaps a bit strange that both novels end up the same way. In Mai ve Siyah Ahmed Cemil and his mother and in Aski Memnu Nihal and her father stay together but reduced to ruins. The plot in Aski Memnu develops very fa st. Perhaps this is due to the weaknesses of the protagonists to bear the weight of their transgressions. In fact if we take away Bihter's presence that illuminates this crowd of weak creatures and enables them to look into their souls we have hardly anything left save a couple of names and a couple of masks. From today's point of view some of the most beautiful parts of the novel are the ones that give us the glimpses of a corner of Istanbul and the Bosphorus of that time. Halid Ziya depicts this Istanbul as it was lived then. Also The Notebooks of a Dead Man gives us the Bosphorus of that time -- perhaps as much as Eylül does -- with a flair that is enjoyable even today. This is a first in our literature. Halid Ziya was not one of the bold writers who perceived themselves inside life and opened a new road as in the Russian novel. He did not enter into life recklessly. We can even say that he did not even feel the fever of this life. He, like all his literary colleagues, adhered to the French novel that was the fashion of his time. The conditions of intellectual life in the country were not yet ready to surpass these models. Until the appearance of Yahya Ke mal the relationship of our literature with the west was a form of smuggling at the customs. Yahya Kemal taught us to understand the

west with an awareness beyond imitation. He was the one who introduced the authentic Turkish -- the one spoken in the street and at home -- into our literature. We learned the real value of ideas and the secret of relating the problems of the country with what we were reading. He was the one to introduce to us the authentic values of French culture with which we were in close contact for almost a hundred years. I am not claiming this opinion only for my generation; this is true for those who came before us too. Halid Ziya's generation lived in a limited circle of art. Even their language is the product of this circle. It was impossible to discover the real world with this language they had invented in their studios. Wherever we perceive the beginnings of a literature we see the street joining the desk of a writer. Malherbe had listened to the sounds of the street. Dickens had introduced the street into literature. The expression "The key to the street" in one of his books could perfectly explain this novelist. Pushkin too had possessed the key to the street. This magic key was never in the hands of Halid Ziya. But this is not his fault, nor his generation's either. This was a historical fact. We had entered into western culture carrying a very old and a very strong tradition. Because of this we started out with facile adaptations. We needed a different kind of athlete to break up all these encumbrances and plunge into the sea.

Throw your heart into the whirlpool, Go far in the deep, become a spirit. To utter this and to do it is a difficult lob. In an age when writers, coming from a certain class, lived like a froth above the society, it was not easy to encounter the life outside. One had to love this life and be acquainted with it, but we had our eyes set on different horizons. Halid Ziya did not open the road to our hearts for us, but he showed the way to notice those around us. It was thanks to him that we first came upon the outside world as we were supposed to do. We consider this a small matter now, but when he started it may have been the most important thing. Because it meant moving away from the world of abstractions into the realm of authentic feelings. We started seeing the objects and our surroundings with him. Halid Ziya was a born novelist. He possessed the most important qualities of the art of fiction such as inventing plots and creating characters. To understand him better one has to read Turkish fiction from its early beginnings. After seeing the attempts at fiction writing that did riot even have a decent dialogue prior to his writing, it is easy to r e a l i z e wh e n o n e s u d d e n l y c o me s u p o n h i s w e l l structured novels what an edifice he built in our literature. His head was not buzzing with great social problems. His main theme was individual happiness, but he stumbled in this because he could not treat social life in depth. With his style he put up a struggle to depict the environment. He made us see what we could not see and discern some of the nuances. Some of the passages in his work show how far he can reach if he

abandons his models and concentrates on observation of life. The Clock-Maker Brothers has this quality. This minor masterpiece is the beginning of short story in our literature. If Halid Ziya had been a man of sudden revolutions his work would have changed much after this story. But he had accepted the established order. Because of this in Ferdi & His Company he misses all the possibilities that social contradictions offer a novelist. Yet, we must not forget that it was only through him that we could attain the value of the universal in the art of fiction. Halid Ziya could not go beyond his epoch, but he represented it within certain limits he imposed on himself and he elaborated it. The continuance of some of the types he created through the lives of many generations shows that these types have a dynamism of their own. He was the man who introduced a certain kind of sensitivity and a way of seeing into our society. Halid Ziya's life is worthy of praise as much as his work. He was among those who dedicated their whole lives to literature. He kept working until the end of his life. Although his friends insisted on a strange denial of the new he tried his best to understand it and kept abreast with his times. The changes he made in the vocabulary of his early works prove his great attachment to these works. He was never a stranger to new movements around him. In his long and prolific life he witnessed some reactions against his work, but he knew that what was achieved with faith could not be obliterated. Perhaps because of this belief he faced all the objections calmly. Halid Ziya is the founder of the Turkish novel. He will have his share in each victory this tradition may achieve in our land.

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar. Edebiyat Uzerine Makaleler, pp. 296-300. Istanbul: Milli Egitim Basimevi, 1969. Originally published in Űlkű, #85, 1 Nisan, 1945, pp. 1-2.

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