Kuvâyi Milliye ve Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı'nda halk edebiyatının dönüşümü
In this thesis, Nâzım Hikmet’s (1902–1963) approach to folk literature as well as his relationship to oral tradition are discussed via a focus on his works Kuvâyi Milliye (1965) and Simavne Kadısı Oğlu Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı (1936). In both of these works, the relation of the work to folk literature is in the foreground, and it is the nature of this relationship that this thesis sets out to explore. In the period prior to Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı, we can see Nâzım Hikmet holding a rather negative attitude towards folk literature. However, both Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı and Kuvâyi Milliye are among the earliest of Nâzım Hikmet’s works to reveal his later drift towards folk literature. In this study, while investigating the transformation of folk literature in both of these works will be examined, it is also argued that there is a problematization at work, of the national epic form in Kuvâyi Milliye and of the position of folklore against political authority in Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı. The first chapter of the thesis explains how the folkloric elements found in Kuvâyi Milliye should be interpreted, and the conclusion reached is that the fact that the characters in the text represent peasants and working class people serves an important diversion from the conventions of epic tradition, which depends primarily on narratives produced by the ruling upper class. It will be seen that, in these works, the love and heroism present in folk stories is approached in terms of social struggle. Motifs and narratives borrowed from folk literature are aggregated in the form of a national epic in this text. Though it includes influences taken from Soviet folklore, Nâzım Hikmet’s model for national epic as employed in this work entails a different outlook on Turkey’s nation state-oriented definition of folklore of the time. In this thesis, it will thus be demonstrated that, while transforming the elements of folk literature in the context of national epic, Nâzım Hikmet also reinterpreted the conception of national epic. In the second chapter of the thesis, the relationship between folklore and governing power as interpreted in Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı is explored. It will be seen that Nâzım Hikmet introduces Şeyh Bedreddin’s rebellion, which occurred in the fifteenth century, as a class struggle by prioritizing the dissident attribute of folk literature in the narrative. In the construction of Şeyh Bedreddin as a socialist hero, the dynamics of the folk tradition are observed by making associations with the phenomenon of social banditry. In this respect, Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı employs a discourse and a subject matter parallel with the Köroğlu narratives, in which concepts of justice and equality are emphasized under the theme of banditry. It will be demonstrated that, in the transformation of folk literature, Nâzım Hikmet mythologizes Şeyh Bedreddin as a bandit representing socialism. Thus, this study will demonstrate that Kuvayi Milliye and Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı reveal different approaches in regard to folk literature in terms of their discourse and subject matter. In the third chapter of the thesis, by applying the method of intertextuality, it will be demonstrated that both of these works employ a common manner of formally transforming the folk tradition. Nâzım Hikmet, by employing various narrative techniques in both works, created a modern narrative form associating epic structure with the genre of novel, and succeeded in creating a dialogic discourse akin to that of the novel genre within the monologic discourse of traditional epic narration. As a result, this study concludes that Nâzım Hikmet constructs a dialogic epic narrative in which diverse and varying discourses confront each other in the two works studied in this thesis. This thesis concludes that Kuvâyi Milliye and Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı, though having differing positions in terms of their discourse and subject matter as borrowed from Turkish folk literature tradition, exhibit a common character in their formal structure and the narrative techniques they employ.