Sürgün yolunda bir yenileşme serüveni : Mihnet-Keşan
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Literary histories are seen to have confined their horizon of Ottoman poetry of the 19th century, a century marked by the revolutionary changes in literature, mainly to the post-Tanzimat period, where the process of Westernization reached its momentum. This thesis, however, focusses on the highly disregarded literary “revival” in the first quarter of the 19th century through the analysis of a major work of the period, Keçecizade İzzet Molla’s Mihnet-Keşan. With a heightened sense of “individuality” and “reality”, this masnavi diverges notably from traditional masnavi narratives which tend to represent types rather than individuals and legendary, supernatural events. This divergence, which is closely related with the fact that Mihnet-Keşan was inspired by a real event, İzzet Molla’s exile to Keşan in 1823, constitutes the main axis of study of this thesis. This masnavi of autobiographical character depicts the “individual” and represents the author’s life in exile with a strong sense of atmosphere, time and milieu. In this view, the thesis firstly discusses the problematic issue of the literary genre of Mihnet-Keşan, and then gives a closer look at the emergence of the “individual” as an existential matter in the masnavi, taking as its departure point a well-known passage, where the poet, on his way to Keşan, has a conversation with his reflection on the rearview mirror of the coach. The thesis also treats the nature of traditional versus modern narratives and the question of approaching Mihnet-Keşan as a modern narrative; as well as the deviant character of the masnavi in terms of the presentation of love relationships. The last discussion this thesis carries out, is on the way the system of patronage in the Ottoman State is interpreted from the perspective of a poet in enforced exile.