Cumhuriyet öncesi kadın yazarların romanlarında toplumsal cinsiyet ve kimlik sorunsalı (1877-1923)
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Womanhood and gender relationships have been one of the first questions taken up as the natural extension of the modernization paradigm between the declaration of the First Constitution and the Republic. Even though womanhood was declared to be a project, the fact that gender issues were never re-examined in a fundamental manner led to new problems vis-à-vis gender and identity. Opened up by the press, the new public sphere offered women the opportunity to discuss the woman question through articles and novels, and the most significant examples of inquiries concerning identity were expressed through one of the branches of traditional literature and through women‟s novels, a sub-genre that newly came into existence. The questioning of the oppressive mechanisms working on women and created by the responsibilities of the new female identity that went beyond the limits of the family, along with the male point of view floundering in face of this new identity, reflects a common female sensibility and sets forth the essence of this literature. The new female identity emphasizes rationality and the resilience of women, taking certain values of womanhood as its basis, and the female viewpoint is used to demonstrate the consequences of the dissonance between this “new” identity and the expectations of the male identity that represented the mindset of society in general, as personified by husbands, lovers, fathers, and relatives. The image of the isolated and struggling girl, who becomes more profound as she becomes more educated, is the symbol of the newly emerging intellectual woman of the Ottoman society. Opposite this woman in transition are the Ottoman men who are either already “impressed” or ready to be impressed. In short, the female novelists of the era express the need for a social transformation that would have to start at the very foundations of society and restructure the relationship between woman and man, i.e., sexual identities. In discussing the common themes, motifs, and sensibilities of women‟s novels, the dissertation examines the following works: Aşk-ı Vatan (1877) by Zafer Hanım; Muhâdarât (1892), Levâyih-i Hayât (1897-98), Refet, (1898), Udî (1899), and Enîn (1910) by Fatma Aliye Hanım; Uhuvvet (1895) by Selma Rıza Feraceli; Terbiye-i Etfale Ait Üç Hikâye (1895), Hiss-i Rekabet (1896), Bîkes (1897), Mükâfat-ı İlâhiye (1896), Sefalet (1897), Muallime (1899-1901), and Gayya Kuyusu (1920) by Emine Semiye Hanım; Dilharâb (1896-97) by Fatma Fahrünnisa Hanım; Münevver (1905- 06), Ölmüş Bir Kadının Evrak-ı Metrukesi (1905), Yaban Gülü (1920) and Nedret (1922) by Güzide Sabri Aygün; Heyûlâ (1908), Raik’in Annesi (1909), Seviyye Talip (1910), Handan (1912), Yeni Turan (1912), Son Eseri (1913) and Mev’ud Hüküm (1918) by Halide Edib; Şebab-ı Tebah (1911) by Nezihe Muhiddin; Aydemir (1918) by Müfide Ferit Tek; Kara Kitap (1920) by Suat Derviş and Sisli Geceler (1922) by Halide Nusret Zorlutuna.
KeywordsPre-Republic women‟s literature
mechanisms of oppression
isolation of women