STOUTHEARTED TYPE AS THE DESCRIPTION OF IDEAL PERSON IN MINSTREL LITERATURE

Abstract

Author(s): Cafer ZDEM?R

The minstrel literature, which is based on a traditional structure, has continued to exist for long years as a representation of Turkish social life, point of view, types of entertainment and education. Minstrels, the performers of the above-mentioned tradition, have become the voice of the societies which they live in, and they have concretely illustrated their points of view in life. They have traveled numerous places together with their traditional musical instrument (baglama), and they have gone beyond the borders of the places where they live to perform their professions. By this way, they have established communication with the people living in different regions, and they have had the chance to know about their feelings and thoughts. Consequently, they have gathered important information which may reflect the value judgments and the behaviors of Turkish society. The minstrels have processed these materials with their own artistic skills; they have integrated them with their literary personalities, and they have poetized them as common value judgments of their societies.

The reality of “ideal person” mentioned in the description of society and value judgments is depicted as a concept the borders of which are predetermined in the poems of minstrels. In fact, all cultures possess similar distinctive characters, and the societies establish their educational systems, oral and written norms, and their social lives on the appearance of the ideal person since this type is considered as a guarantee for the sustention of the culture and the future existence of the society. Also, the minstrels have described the ideal person whom the Turkish society wishes to raise with the concept of “stouthearted (yi?it) type”. The word of “yi?it” (which literally means “stouthearted” in English) has been used in the meaning of “young” since 11th century. Since the young are considered as a significant actor in the determination of the future in a society, the stouthearted type and the features of this type in Minstrel literature have gained great importance in the construction of the future.

As a reflection of their societies, the minstrels have also mentioned about the actions not to be taken by the ideal person by narrating the types of bad characters such as “dishonorable and despicable persons”. By this way, they have introduced certain models in terms of the behaviors not to be exhibited by the people in the sight of the society, and they have reflected these models in their poems within the scope of stouthearted type. In our study, we analyzed the features of the stouthearted type in the poems of the minstrels living in 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Thus, we tried to form the framework of the characteristics of the ideal person in Turkish society. Consequently, we may say that the stouthearted type is quite similar to the type of ideal person in today’s world in terms of cultural continuity.

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