SOCIAL LIFE IN ISTANBUL THROUGH THE EYES OF GERARD DE NERVAL

Abstract

Author(s): Funda APAN ZDEMR

In this article, Gérard De Nerval’s (1808-1855) sights of Istanbul in his travel book Voyage en Orient (DouyaSeyahat) are being studied.These observations not only reflect the political, social and economic status of the Ottoman Empire but also present the intellectual and social quests that took place in the Tanzimat Era. Istanbul is a city where many nations with different features live together. That Turks, Armenians, Greeks and Jews live together catches the writer’s attention. The issues that Nerval focus on are many: Social life in Istanbul, palace life in the Ottomans, non-Muslim minorities living in Pera and Galata, slaves, newspapers people read in Istanbul, animal welfare organizations, appearance/fashion of the Tanzimat Era, Turkish art that changed in the Tanzimat Era, theater and entertainment. Throughout history, the works about Istanbul and Turks have been penned both objectively and non-objectively. Gérard De Nerval is a writer who has many different points of view apart from the single/narrow-minded discourses. We partially compared what Nerval wrote with the works of other Western writers who have come to Istanbul.

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