Volume 11, Number 10
23 November 2004

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This Week

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An Interview with
Prof. Talat Halman on JTL


Prof. Halman: The Journal of Turkish Literature hopes to reach the community of scholars active in the field of Turkish literature. One of its purposes is naturally to feature new findings and critical evaluations. Its target audience includes individuals in Turkey and abroad who are interested in gaining insights into the literature of the Turks from its origins until the present time. JTL explores literary aesthetics and social values, thus enabling students and scholars in many academic fields to acquire insights.

Bilkent News: Does JTL focus on any literary periods in particular? What areas will be covered in future issues?
Prof. Halman: JTL hopes to cover the entire Turkic area from Central Asia to Anatolia and beyond in all epochs from the Orkhon inscriptions to Orhan Pamuk. Each issue will have a variety of articles. Conceivably some future issues will be devoted to a unitary theme, a genre or a single era. The first issue contained such articles as "Stepping Aside: Ottoman Literature in Modern Turkey" (by Prof. Walter G. Andrews); "Tempomorphoses: Tick-Tocks of the Clock and Tactics of the Novel" (by Prof. Jale Parla); a long special feature on Mihri Hatun, an Ottoman woman poet who died in the early 16th century (by the Russian-American scholar Nicholas M. Martinovitch); reviews of Aziz Nesin's autobiography and a Nazım Hikmet biography; and an insightful article on Turkish poetry by the late Prof. Orhan Burian. This type of diverse coverage will be true of most of the future issues as well.

Bilkent News: How do scholars in the field of literature regard this journal?
Prof. Halman: Since JTL has just started its maiden voyage, it is too early to tell what its critical reception is. Some prominent scholars in the field have sent us enthusiastic notes. The Canadian scholar Prof. Eleazar Birnbaum wrote: "Not only are the articles interesting and valuable but the physical appearance and the typography of its multilingual pages and the strikingly attractive cover design make the volume easy on the eye and a pleasure to read." The enthusiastic interest in the Turkish media (dozens of pieces in newspapers and magazines as well as references on TV that displayed the colorful cover) made the editorial board very happy.

Bilkent News: What are the advantages and disadvantages of JTL's being published in English?
Prof. Halman: Since English is already a universal scholarly language, the JTL will thus reach a wider audience. The disadvantages are that non-English speaking people will not be able to read it, and the translation of especially poetic passages quoted in the articles usually proves quite difficult.

Bilkent News: What will we find in the upcoming issue of JTL? Will it be similar to the first issue?
Prof. Halman: The second issue, which we hope to publish by the middle of 2005, will feature a long article by Prof. Halil İnalcık entitled "The Poet and the Patron"; two articles on Erendiz Atasü's novel, "The Other Side of the Mountain" (by Prof. Dilek Doltaş and Dr. Yasemin Oğuzertem); a review article on Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar's work in English translation (by Prof. Ahmet Evin); and other pieces. JTL's concept - scholarly and critical analysis of the entire spectrum of Turkish literature - will not change in the second issue.

Bilkent News: Have your expectations for JTL come true?
Prof. Halman: Our fondest hope is that JTL will make an impact, at least a major difference in the field. Of course we hope that sales will be substantial. I appeal to everyone at Bilkent and outside, in the field of Turkish culture or in any field, to support, disseminate and purchase the Journal of Turkish Literature.

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