What if one day things go mad?: The unruly objects of Tanpınar's modernism
Irzık, Sibel (2017) What if one day things go mad?: The unruly objects of Tanpınar's modernism. Middle Eastern Literatures, 20 (2). pp. 198-214. ISSN 1475-262X (Print) 1475-2638 (Online)
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1475262X.2017.1345380
Objects of everyday life spinning out of control occupy an important place in modern Turkish narratives. From the prodigal sons of the first Turkish novels to the shanty town dwellers of contemporary Istanbul narratives, many characters suffer from the same malady: an inability to master, possess, and derive pleasure from objects, and a tendency to be menaced by them even as they fall under their spell. This tension between subjectivity and the everyday world of objects constitutes a prominent thematic structure in modern Turkish narratives and Tanpınar is pivotal for considering its significance and formal repercussions. His works register the cultural traumas of modernization and Westernization through his characters’ impotence in their practical, symbolic, and affective relations with objects that dominate them. They also propose and perform certain modes of aestheticizing everyday life as an antidote to this impotence. The purpose of this article is to delineate how Tanpınar’s novels dramatize crises of personhood in relation to objects and what these crises might reveal about the affective dimensions of “belated modernity.” Such a consideration underlines the importance of cultural and historical contextualization in object-oriented criticism.
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