On the short but eventful life of Abdulhalim Memduh

Wasti S. T.

MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, vol.56, no.3, pp.469-481, 2019 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 56 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00263206.2019.1696314
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.469-481
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Reforms introduced in 1839 (known as the Tanzimat) which were intended to modernize the Ottoman political and administrative structure, led inevitably to movements which introduced new literary ideas into the Ottoman cultural sphere. One of the first writers who wished to see Ottoman literature catch up with developments in Europe was Abdulhalim Memduh (1866 - 1905). His contributions covered the areas of poetry, prose, drama, journalism and political activism. Memduh was not content with using classical chronicles; he published at the age of 22 the very first History of Ottoman Literature in Turkish, which served as the model for subsequent literary histories. Later, in his short life, he collaborated with Edmond Fazy, a Swiss writer, to publish a book in Paris titled Anthologie de l'amour turc, which contains Turkish love poems in French translation for the first time. This article evaluates the contributions of Abdulhalim Memduh in order to give him a place among the pioneers of 20th century Turkish literature.