Author(s): Tülay GENÇTÜRK DEM?RC?O?LU

Being a well-known intellectual and activist of the Tanzimat (Administrative Re-organization) period, Fatma Aliye is regarded in Turkish literature as the first woman novelist who produced five novels as well as numerous articles which appeared in newspapers and magazines addressing to women readers. Articulating women’s problems at all levels, her novels, articles, poems and conferences can be considered as solid examples of a struggle of a well-educated figure for the progress of Ottoman women who were suppressed and hence marginalized in the social life with no right for self-decisions to take her place alongside her male partner in the public and private realms. This paper attempts to make an in-depth approach to Fatma Aliye’s four novels, Levâyih-i Hayât, Enin, Refet and Udi, all of which are engaged powerfully in women’s problems at the level of literary text or subtext, bringing to the forefront the themes such as early or forced marriage, husband-wife relations, love, extra-marital relations, cheating, loyalty, men’s disrespect to women etc. What seems interesting is the narrative strategy she sets up between these novels as inter-textual links which include a series of textual relationships and borrowings leading apparent references from one novel to another. Thus, she creates cyclical inter-textuality by way of generating identical protagonists and characterization framed within analogous lives. Hence, the paper will focus on the question of why these novels appear as texts consisting of apparent links to other novels of the author, claiming that inter-textuality serves as a narrative tool for strengthening public awareness on women’s problems in the Ottoman public and private domain of the late 19th century, and for creating an impression of reality through conveying from life to fiction actual life experiences of women.


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