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On Adalet Agaoglu

by Prof. Sibel EROL
Middle Eastern Studies, NYU


"Philosophical", "innovative", "playful" are some of the adjectives that immediately come to mind in describing the general features of Adalet Agaoglu's works. She is one of the most prolific authors of our time. She has so far published eight novels, plays (which were recently put together in one volume), three short story collections, one memoir which she describes as memoir-novel, and a book of dreams. Her essays are published in several volumes. 

One striking characteristic of these works is their very diversity. In fact, Agaoglu undertakes each work as a challenge for technical and thematic experimentation that extends her discoveries in writing her previous books. However, despite this variety, there are also features that can be called Adalet Agaoglu trademarks. One of the most important of these trademarks is the creation of a delicate balance between the depiction of external social reality that grounds, motivates and explains the plot and characters, and an internal poetry of emotions, ideals and music that both complements the social framework, but also rejects and transcends it.  

Since 1973, Adalet Agaoglu has published eight novels. These, in order of their publication, are: Ölmeye Yatmak (Lying Down to Die-1973), "Fikrimin Ince Gülü" ("The Delicate Rose of My Thought"- 1976), Bir Dügün Gecesi (The Night of a Wedding- 1979),  Yazsonu (Summer's End 1980), Üç Bes Kisi (Curfew- 1984), Hayır (No- 1987), Ruh Üsümesi ( Shivering of the Soul 1991) and Romantik: Bir Viyana Yazi-  A Romantic Vienna Summer-1993). Lying Down to Die, The Night of a Wedding and No are parts of a trilogy which were recently released together under the title of Dar Zamanlar- (Narrow Times), which emphasizes the tightness of space, time and opportunity that the characters in these novels experience. The allusion is both to the stressful times she depicts, which could be described as Hard Times and the shortness of the actual duree of external events in the novels.

Agaoglu accords to the novel the privileged function of bringing life and thought together. She has defined the novel as "the form" where life and thought find unity, making it an indispensable weapon against fragmentation in human life. Each novel is a gesture of defense and resistance against threats to humanness, that is to human dignity, consciousness, love and dreaming. She claims that the novel will cease to exist only when life will gain an inherent unity. This ambitious project of connecting life and thought accounts for both the strong anchoring in external, social and historical reality and the abstract looseness, the lyricism, the evocative poetry of dreaming, thinking internal voices in her novels.

_ . _


About Prof. Sibel EROL:


Sibel Erol is teaching Turkish and Turkish Literature at NYU. She has a Ph.D.in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She works on nationalism, the novel and women authors. One of the authors she works on is Adalet Agaoglu. She has published the following pieces on Adalet Agaoglu: "Toplumsal Dis Gercekcilik ve Kisisel Ic Siir: Adalet Agaoglu'nun Romanlarindaki Ince Ayar" in Hayata Bakan Edebiyat edited by Nuket Esen and erol koroglu; a biographical entry on Adalet Agaoglu in Who's Who in Contemporary Women's Literature edited by Jane E. Miller and a review of Curfew (the English translation of Uc Bes Kisi) in the Middle East Studies Association Bulletin (35).



-- For the Media Release of Three Lectures by Adalet AGAOGLU

-- For On the Changes of 1970-80 in the Turkish NOVEL by Adalet AGAOGLU

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