Masks Or Souls?: Halide Edib's Politics and Her Pacifism as a Playwright

Ezer O.

ARIEL-A REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH LITERATURE, vol.43, no.4, pp.97-122, 2012 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 43 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, Humanities Abstracts, International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance (IBTD), MLA - Modern Language Association Database, DIALNET
  • Page Numbers: pp.97-122
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


In this article, I discuss Halide Edib's play Masks or Souls? (MOS) as anti-war literature by a Turkish female intellectual and activist who lived between the two World Wars. The article provides a more complete portrayal of Edib, who has often been reduced to a nationalist novelist. I also argue that MOS contains autobiographical insights. There is evidence in MOS, for example, that Edib became a pacifist on the eve of the Second World War. Another war Edib fought was against the ideas and ideologies within the military and intellectual circles of Turkey. Through the actions and comments of several characters in the play, Edib also criticizes the reforms and westernization processes that took place immediately after the declaration of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Finally, I counter the neglect this play has suffered by calling into question some of the nation- and region-based hierarchies prevalent in literary studies.