Subversive women writers: Turkish female gothic 1920-1958
Even with the increasing interest in Turkish Gothic literature, the number of studies is still limited due to realistic literature being at the center of literary production, and literary criticism generally overlooking the originality of the Gothic genre. This dissertation intends to be the first to focus solely on Turkish female Gothic with the aim to investigate why certain female writers have written novels in the Gothic convention. To this end, the scope of the study is limited to the Gothic novels published as books between 1920-1958 by Suat Derviş, Nezihe Muhiddin, Peride Celal, and Kerime Nadir who have been considered as women writers in the same period by various literary circles. Contrary to the general hesitation in the Turkish academia to relate the Gothic mechanisms in novels to historical contextualizations, these writers’ works are analyzed with reference to paratexts and intertexts situated in socio-cultural contexts. The textual analyses in this study show that women have written in the Gothic genre for its plurality of meaning, discreetly subverting orders established in private and public spaces. In an attempt to illustrate the originality of this genre, this study thus puts forth an analysis of the interaction between instances of the Turkish female experience and Gothic literature via subversive readings of themes of Romanticism, incest, necrophilia, live burial, and the female vampire.