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Biography of Oğuz Atay Wiki

Oğuz Atay was a pioneer of the modern novel in Turkey. His first novel, Tutunamayanlar, appeared in 1971-72. Never reprinted in its lifetime and controversial among critics, it has become a best-seller since a new edition came out in 1984. Wikipedia

Born: October 12, 1934, İnebolu, Turkey
Died: December 13, 1977, Istanbul, Turkey
Spouse: Fikriye Atay (d. 1961–1967)
Influenced by: Franz Kafka, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar
Children: Özge Atay

Life of Oğuz Atay

Oğuz Atay was born on October 12, 1934 in the Turkish town of İnebolu, in the province of Kastamonu. His father, Cemil Atay, was a judge and also a member of the Parliament of the Republican People’s Party (Turkey). He attended primary and secondary school in Ankara, completed his secondary education in Ankara Maarif Koleji and his undergraduate degree at the ITU School of Civil Engineering. He joined the same university as a faculty member and became an associate professor in 1975. [1]

His most notable novel, Tutunamayanlar, was published in 1971-72, and his second novel, Tehlikeli Oyunlar, was published in 1973. He wrote several plays, short stories, and a biography. He died of a brain tumor on December 13, 1977 before he could complete his final big project “Türkiye’nin Ruhu”.

Oğuz Atay Works

The literary works are now all published by Iletişim.

Topoğrafya (Topography) (1970) – a textbook for surveying students)
Tutunamayanlar (1971-1972) – (novel: The Disconnected)
Tehlikeli Oyunlar (1973) – (novel: Dangerous Games)
Bir Bilim Adamının Romanı: Mustafa İnan (1975) – (biographical novel: The life of a scientist: Mustafa İnan. German translation as Der Mathematiker (Unionsverlag, 2008)
Korkuyu Beklerken (1975) – (stories: Waiting for fear). Translations: French, such as En guettant la peur (L’Harmattan, 2007); Italian, like Aspettando la paura, with a brief epilogue by Orhan Pamuk (Lunargento, 2011); German, as Warten auf die Angst (Binooki, 2012).
Oyunlarla Yaşayanlar (play: Those who live from games)
Günlük (his diary, published with a facsimile of the manuscript)
Eylembilim (Unfinished Fiction: Action Science)
What he expected to be his masterpiece, “Türkiye’nin Ruhu” (The Spirit of Turkey), was interrupted by his death. It is not known what form he intended.

 

Oğuz Atay Influences and achievements

The secondary literature, mainly in Turkish but also in German and English, is very extensive. See, for example, the report of a conference on his work, Oğuz Atay’a Armağan (2007), with some 150 contributions and a bibliography of more than 500 articles. This short story does not attempt to summarize this material.

Atay belonged to a generation deeply committed to the Westernizing, scientific and secular culture encouraged by the revolution of the 1920s; He was not nostalgic for the corruption of the late Ottoman Empire, although he was familiar with its literature and, in particular, was well versed in Divan poetry. However, the Western culture he saw around him was largely a form of colonialism, which tended to squash what he saw best in Turkish life. He had no patience with the traditionalists, who countered Western culture with improbable stories from early Turkish history. He soon lost patience with the underground socialists of the 1960s. And while some good writers, such as Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, had written fiction about the modernization of Turkey, there were none who came close to treating life as he saw it live. . In fact, almost the only Turkish writer of the republican period whose name appears in his work is the poet Nâzim Hikmet.

The solution was to use the West for his own ends. His subject is often the debris of Western culture: translations of 10th category historical novels, Hollywood fantasy films, trivia from encyclopedias, Turkish tangos. To the fracture of Turkish life corresponds the fracture of language: the flowery Ottoman, the artificially purified Turk, the stale colloquialism. Atay took from the West one of his favorite motifs, but so changed as to be new, the exchange of people as games: the free games of love and friendship, the ritualized games of superficial knowledge, the rides of bureaucracy.

Since the publication of Tutunamayanlar, many Turkish novelists have departed from traditional styles, first the slightly older writer Adalet Ağaoğlu, then others like Orhan Pamuk and Latife Tekin.

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