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
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.