A Mind at Peace, originally published in 1949, is a magnum opus, a Turkish Ulysses and a lyrical homage to Istanbul. With an innate awareness of how dueling cultural mentalities can lead to the distress of divided selves, Tanpinar gauges this moment in history by masterfully portraying its register on the layered psyches of his Istanbulite characters. Set on the eve of World War II in the “city of two continents,” this literary feat is a narrative of duality: a historical novel and a love story (of the senses and the mind), language and music, tradition and modernity, East and West—and of the vital juncture where one young man must attempt to bridge all of these worlds at once.
Surviving the childhood trauma of his parents’ untimely deaths in the early skirmishes of World War I, Mümtaz is raised and mentored in Istanbul by his cousin Ihsan and his cosmopolitan family of intellectuals. Having lived through the tumultuous cultural revolutions following the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of the early Turkish Republic, each is challenged by the difficulties brought about by such rapid social change.
The promise of modernization and progress has given way to crippling anxiety rather than hope for the future. Fragmentation and destabilization seem the only certainties within the new world where they now find themselves. Mümtaz takes refuge in the fading past, immersing himself in literature and music, but when he falls in love with Nuran, a complex woman with demanding relatives, he is forced to confront the challenges of the World at large. Can their love save them from the turbulent times and protect them from disaster, or will inner obsessions, along with powerful social forces seemingly set against them, tear the couple apart?
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.70(d)|
About the Author
Ahmet Hamdi Tanipar (1901-1962) was a poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, literary historian, member of the Turkish parliament, and professor at Istanbul University. Deeply influenced by Valéry and Bergson, he created a cultural universe in his work, bringing together a European literary voice and the sensibilities of Istanbul cosmopolitanism. His work, notable for its aesthetic complexity and its vivid descriptions of a lost Ottoman world, was rediscovered a decade after his death. He is considered one of the most significant Turkish novelists of the 20th century and is credited as an influence on many Turkish writers, including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk. His work has been translated into more than 25 languages.
Translator: Erdag Göknar is an assistant professor of Turkish Studies at Duke University. He is the translator of Orhan Pamuk's historical novel, My Name is Red, which received the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2003. He is also the recipient of an NEA translation grant for A Mind at Peace.
Read an Excerpt
Mu?mtaz had not set out on a long walk since his paternal cousin I?hsan, a brother to him, had succumbed to illness. Aside from tasks like summoning the physician, taking prescriptions to the pharmacist, and making calls from the neighbor’s telephone, he’d whiled away the measure of the week at his cousin’s sickbed or in his own room perusing books, reflecting, or attempting to console his niece and nephew. I?hsan had complained of backaches, fever, and fatigue for about two days before pneumonia heralded its onset, sudden and sublime, establishing a sultanate over the household, a psychology of devastation through fear, dread, rue, and endless goodwill scarcely absent from lips or glances.
Excerpted from "A Mind at Peace"
Copyright © 2011 Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar.
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