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Journal Article

“Wandering on the peripheries”: The Turkish novelistic hero as “Beautiful Soul”

F. Meltem Gürle
Journal of Modern Literature
Vol. 36, No. 4 (Summer 2013), pp. 96-112
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/jmodelite.36.4.96
Stable URL:
Page Count: 17
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“Wandering on the peripheries”: The Turkish novelistic hero as
“Beautiful Soul”
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The Turkish formation story does not follow the pattern of the classical Bildungsroman. Neither does its protagonist. As opposed to his Western counterpart, who usually ends up as a “reformed idealist,” the Turkish novelistic hero, failing to overcome the dichotomy of tradition and modernity, sets on a journey in search of authenticity and gets stuck at the end. His “becoming,” if there is any, is not reminiscent of Hegelian Bildung. Being trapped in a schizoid dividedness of interiority and outside reality, the Turkish Bildungsheld becomes a purist obsessed with the idea of an “immediate meaning,” which he cannot get hold of. Instead of “actively” taking part in social reality and going through a process of maturation, he steps back and seeks transcendence in pure contemplation, which turns him into a spiritual dandy, i.e. “the Beautiful Soul.”

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