Representation of the female body in Adalet Agaoglu's Olmeye Yatmak and Leyla Erbil's Tuhaf Bir Kadin

Akdogan S.

MIDDLE EASTERN LITERATURES, vol.23, pp.44-58, 2020 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 23
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/1475262x.2021.1876426
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, Arab World Research Source, Jewish Studies Source, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Religion and Philosophy Collection
  • Page Numbers: pp.44-58
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Adalet Agaoglu's olmeye Yatmak (Lying Down to Die, 1973) and Leyla Erbil's Tuhaf Bir Kadin (A Strange Woman, 1971) are significant examples of Turkish literature that situate the female body within Turkish national history and discourse. Their protagonists lock themselves in hotel rooms where they get closer to their body and sexuality, and reveal critical insights related to their society, particularly laying bare the intriguing relationships between different ideologies such as Islam, modernization project and socialism. I argue that these novels dauntlessly show the flawed, conflictual and oppressive nature of these ideologies in their attitudes towards women and their bodies, which is emphasized through the protagonists' problematic and unstable relationships with these discourses and their bodies. As the protagonists begin to voice their repressed sexual desires and reclaim the female body as a source of pleasure and autonomy, a space to break away from imposed configurations of womanhood is created.