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Novels of Turkish German Settlement

Novels of Turkish German Settlement: Cosmopolite Fictions

Tom Cheesman
Volume: 16
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 286
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  • Book Info
    Novels of Turkish German Settlement
    Book Description:

    Germany has become home to some 2.5 million people of Turkish background since mass recruitments in the 1960s and 1970s to man the "economic miracle." An increasingly settled Turkish German population now asserts a permanent placein Germany: over a third

    eISBN: 978-1-57113-705-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Prelude in the Television Studio
    (pp. 1-11)
  5. 1: Extending the Concept of Germanness
    (pp. 12-32)

    The preceding transcript merely documents the unprepared responses of a few politicians and select artists to a particularly provocative example of Feridun Zaimoglu’s early, quasi-documentary monologues. This dialogue, however, very strikingly demonstrates life exactly imitating art. Heide Simonis gives a splendid performance as a patronizing, would-be do-gooder, who seems complacent in the certainty of her own culture’s superiority, yet is also threatened by cultural difference. Zaimoglu’s characters use the terminology of militant leftist, antifascist, antiracist polemic to identify figures like her as “liberals.” She can only accept “others” in subordinate positions and condemns verbal and symbolic violence even as she...

  6. 2: Natural Born Cosmopolitans?
    (pp. 33-52)

    As soon as they are recognized as such, Turkish German writers are obliged to represent Turkish Germans and Turks to Germans; Turkish Germans and Germans to Turks; and all three to others, on international circuits (Cheesman 2006). Only a writer with few or no pretensions to “literary” status can escape this compulsory ethnicization: Akif Pirinçci, whose prolific and popular work since 1980 is discussed in chapter 3, is unique in enjoying this advantage. By making this point, I perpetuate the ethnically determined gaze on the other and the self that pins down Turkish German writers as a group. This goes...

  7. 3: Seven Types of Cosmopolitanism
    (pp. 53-81)

    This chapter assesses the specific forms of cosmopolitanism displayed in the work of seven Turkish German novelists: Renan Demirkan and Akif Pirinçci, who are the most widely read; Saliha Scheinhardt, who has a following among socially concerned, feminist readers; Selim Özdogan, who has a cult following among younger readers; Emine Sevgi Özdamar and Feridun Zaimoglu, who receive the most critical attention and have won prestigious national and international prizes for their work; and Kemal Kurt, who remains relatively unknown, but whose only published novel is a veritable cosmopolitan manifesto.

    All Turkish German novelists display cultural affinities that exceed the Turkish...

  8. 4: The Turkish German Novel since “It Always Ends in Tears”
    (pp. 82-97)

    The history of the Turkish German novel begins in 1979–1980 (Adelson 2004b). Its prehistory encompasses a vast terrain. It might include: the travel accounts or imaginary journeys written by both Turkish and German writers about the respective other land over the centuries; ballads and songs about the Crusades, or the “Terrible Turk” and the cruel infidel of the early modern Ottoman-Habsburg wars (Cheesman 2001); romances against the backdrop of the Berlin-Baghdad railway; or denunciations of and apologies for the massacres of Armenians during the First World War. Nazire Akbulut begins her study of the image of Turks in German...

  9. 5: In Quarantine: Zafer Şenocak
    (pp. 98-112)

    One of Şenocak’s fiction volumes — the novella Die Prärie (The Prairie, 1997) — appeared with Rotbuch, a leftist press with a strong tradition of publishing Turkish German writing, from Ören in the 1970s to Zaimoglu in the 1990s. All Şenocak’s other literary work appears with the small Munich publisher Babel Verlag, and is scarcely noticed by the German public. Yet, since the late 1980s, Şenocak has been in constant demand for newspaper articles, as well as contributing to or editing numerous books, magazines, and newspaper supplements. He is hardly an outsider on the national journalistic scene. His trenchant essays...

  10. 6: Gender and Genre: Testimonial and Parodic Cosmopolitanisms
    (pp. 113-144)

    This chapter considers cosmopolitan ideals and ideas in the context of the intertwined significance of genre and gender in Turkish German subgenres of testimonial fiction. It opens with a discussion of the role of female “victim testimonial” in current debates over domestic violence in Turkish families in Germany. Selma Ceylan’s Irrsinn der Ehre (Madness of Honor, 1998), an example of “victim testimonial,” is discussed in tandem with Kemal Kurt’s novel Ja, sagt Molly, a “virtual literary testimonial” that implicitly reflects the author’s experiences as a reader of both literature and newspapers. These two novels, which were published by the same...

  11. 7: Ali Alias Alien: Mutations of the UnCosmopolitan
    (pp. 145-182)

    This chapter tracks vicissitudes of the iconic figure of the male labor migrant through three decades of writing. “Ali in Wunderland” was Gail Wise’s apt title for her Ph.D. dissertation on German writers’ representations of foreign workers (1995). “Alle Türken heissen Ali” (All Turks are Called Ali) was the working title of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Angst essen Seele auf (Fear Eats the Soul, 1974), in which the actor El Hedi ben Salem plays a Moroccan called El Hedi ben Salem M’Barek Mohammed Mustapha, but known in Germany as Ali. As in Katzelmacher (Dago, 1969) (where the “Ali” figure is a...

  12. Postscript: Astronauts in Search of a Planet
    (pp. 183-196)

    Turkish German writing is a fast-moving target. Before this book appears, new works of fiction, some by new writers, will have changed the picture. By way of preliminary conclusion, this section briefly discusses some recent novels that focus on the premigration past, both in Germany and in Turkey. They testify to the increasing importance attached to constructing a history for the Turkish settlement that reaches back beyond the mass migrations of the 1960s. A controversy surrounding one of them indicates the baleful effects of cultural-political scrutiny in the guise of literary criticism.

    Selim Özdogan’s Die Tochter des Schmieds (The Smith’s...

  13. Works Cited
    (pp. 197-226)
  14. Index
    (pp. 227-232)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 233-233)