State Theatre revived Kenan Işık’s adaptation of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s Huzur, or A Mind at Peace for the season, in a production. A review, and links to other information about and reviews of A Mind at Peace by Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar. Turkish title: Huzur; Translated by Erdağ Göknar. Buy Huzur by Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders.

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Translations from 20th-century Turkish literature are scarce. The history and culture of modern Turkey are not immediately familiar to readers in Haamdi They felt oppressed and humiliated by the power of the industrialised west and urgently sought to match it.

It did not matter that their countries lacked the human material — self-motivated and rationally self-interested individuals — apparently necessary for the pursuit of national wealth and power.

A robust bureaucratic state and ajmet suitably enlightened ruling elite could forge citizens out of a scattered mass of peasants and merchants, and endow them with a sense of national identity.

But there was a tragic mismatch between the intentions of these hasty modernisers and the long historical experience of the societies they wanted to remake.

Time, in fact, was rarely conceptualised as a linear progression in Asian and African cultures. Nevertheless, scientific and technological innovations, as well as the great huuzr of western imperialism, persuaded many Asians that they too could manipulate their natural and social environment to their advantage.

For, as Dostoyevsky warned: Dostoyevsky was speaking from the experience of 19th-century Russia, the first society to be coerced by its insecure rulers into imitating the west: Japan had then followed Russia — and preceded Turkey — in trying to do in a few decades what it took the west centuries to accomplish.


There is much literary, historical and sociological evidence of the spiritual and psychological as well as political damage caused by top-down modernisation. These reflexive and unexamined prejudices emerge, understandably, from the exceptional experience of western Europe and America. It taninar sympathy with the trauma of writers who witnessed the devastation of their familiar landmarks, hamddi whom the new world conjured into being by their great leaders remained agonisingly meaningless, denuded of the consolations of tradition and heaving with the tawdry illusions of modernity.

He hoped for a synthesis of past and present that went beyond secularist slogans and state plans for modernisation. In opposition to a parochial nationalism, he invoked the cosmopolitanism of Istanbul.

He lingers defiantly on classic Istanbul scenes: This literary archaeology seeks to excavate different histories and memories buried within the old city. Most characters seem paralysed by their inability to transcend their divided selves. Next to these books, in laid-out hawker cases, were lapfuls of testimonials to our inner transformation, our desire to adapt, and our search for ourselves in a new context and climate: As if all the detritus of the mind of mankind had to be hastily exposed in this market ….

The suicide of Suad, who hangs himself while listening to Beethoven, further hints at the impossibility of synthesis.

A Mind at Peace – Wikipedia

The Orient is doomed to inauthenticity, to be forever seeking fragments it can shore against its ruins. The Time Regulation Institutepublished inconfirms this despairing vision. The continuity between past and present dreamed of by Tanpinar seems no longer possible. The onwards-and-upwards narrative of progress, dictated by the state and embraced by a gullible people, has contaminated everything.

Confusion marks almost everything he does: As they swirled around my feet I moved forward, and with every step I felt the coil of unfounded beliefs, ungrounded frustrations, and unending despair tightening around my chest and arms.


His clock towers not only cheaply propagandised the virtues of regularity, constancy, punctuality and precision; the western-style workday, which divided life into compartments — time carefully allocated for work, study, recreation, and the rest — promised greater economic productivity and endowed time itself with monetary value.

A Mind at Peace by Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar

Irdal, however, has savoured another kind of life, one in which idleness, tanpiar wasting time, is a source of happiness. As in A Mind at PeaceTanpinar again evokes the modernism of the everyday — one opposed to the alienated linear time of top-down modernity. But the setting is pastoral rather hamsi urban, and the mood is nostalgic as Irdal contrasts the easy luxuries and fulfilments of his childhood with the individual liberations promised by the modern state.

He dates his fall from this Huaur to the time he is given tanlinar watch: Tanpinar uses Irdal tanipnar take aim at many aspects of Kemalist Turkey: There is, however, a problem: Like Tagore and Tanizaki before him, Tanpinar upheld the felt experience of ordinary life against the dehumanising abstractions and empty promises of modern ideologies.

Tanpinar presciently feared that to embrace the western conception of progress was to be mentally enslaved by a whole new epistemology, one that compartmentalised knowledge and concealed an instrumental view of human beings as no more than things to be manipulated. The Time Regulation Institute explodes that presumption by showing us, in our postmodern cages, glimpses of another kind of civilisation.

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