19 yüzyıl Osmanlı-Türk edebiyatında öykü
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In this study, the works Letaif-i Rivayat by Ahmet Mithat (1844-1912), Müsameretname by Emin Nihat (?), Küçük Şeyler by Samipaşazade Sezai (1860- 1936), and Karabibik by Nabizâde Nazım (1862-1893), which all have a number of aspects in common and are considered by Ottoman-Turkish short story critics to be among the first examples of the genre, will be examined by means of close reading, by interpretation of the effects of extra-literary conditions, and in comparison with Eurocentric approaches to the short story. In the critical writings on the above short stories that were produced in the post-Tanzimat era, allegations of imitation similar to those directed at the novels of the same era were put forward. A short story standard defined by Western literatures has been introduced into Ottoman-Turkish literature as the ideal formula. As a result of this approach, when the works in question are found to contain any aspects that do not fit such criteria, they are harshly denounced for their lack of skill, of competence, and of sense. However, as will be demonstrated in the second chapter of the study, there is in fact little agreement about the criteria themselves, as they continue to be debated and criticized from a variety of perspectives even within the context of Western literature. Nonetheless, quite dramatically, such criteria have been established as an unshakable foundation in Turkish short story criticism. A number of problems, particularly the classification of the genre, arise within this Eurocentricoriented critical approach insofar as such an approach neglects these works’ local background and the unique circumstances under which they were produced. In addition to the above considerations, this study aims to point out certain basic deficiencies detectable in previous criticism, such as the insufficient emphasis on the difference between the short story as a genre and narration as a means of expression. The study will also attempt to emphasize, in regard to the writing of the literary history of the Ottoman-Turkish era, the importance of defining these preliminary examples of the genre as well as their interactions and changes, and thus aims to underline the significance of these works’ local background as against the Western criteria forced upon them in previous criticism. Bearing in mind all of the above considerations concerning the Eurocentric critical approach and its deficiencies, the last chapter of the study will focus on the short stories themselves, and the data collected from these works will be interpreted inductively in an attempt to emphasize the idea of the locality and originality of Ottoman-Turkish literature. Ultimately, it will be shown that, unlike the general suppositions made in previous criticism, the aim of the writers of these short stories was not mere imitation, and that even the alleged Western influences on these works were reshaped and transformed in accordance with the uniqueness of the texts. Consequently, the study aims to contradict previous approaches, which support the idea that the short story, as a genre, originated wholly in Western literature.