Research Article


DOI :10.26650/jos.1229692   IUP :10.26650/jos.1229692    Full Text (PDF)

Religion and Myth in the Poetry of Yūsuf al-Kḫāl

Gamze Yücetürk Kurtulmuş

Yūsuf al-Kḫāl is one of Lebanon’s leading poets as well as one of the five poets of the Tammūzī Movement. Al-Kḫāl guided the foundations of this movement with his translations of the poetry of American and Western poets. The Tammūzī poets viewed the similarities in the sociopolitical depression situation with that in the Arab world as well as ways to be free from this situation, especially in T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land,” and they were hopeful for the future. Thus, belief in resurrection was the most prominent feature in al-Kḫāl’s poems, and the function of the myth of the fertility god Tammūz in al-Kḫāl’s poems was, similar to others’ works, seen to express resurrection and rebirth. They blended this myth with legends from their own cultures under the leadership of Western names such as Eliot and Sir James Frazer and gave new meanings to mythological elements. References to the Old and New Testaments are frequently seen in Yūsuf al-Kḫāl’s poems, which are fed by the myths of Assyrian, Babylonian, and Greek civilizations. Especially in his poetry collection Al-Bi’r al-Mahjūra [The Abandoned Well], which this study will discuss, al-Kḫāl reveals the relationship between religion and myth by equating humans with the messiah and Tammūz with God. The concepts of bread and wine are frequently seen in al-Kḫāl’s poems, sometimes to criticize and sometimes to give hope. This study will briefly mention al-Kḫāl’s life and the poetry movement in which he took place before going on to interpret within the scope of the concepts of death, resurrection, rebirth, and fertility such religious symbols such as the Messiah, bread, wine, Abel, Cain, and Abraham and mythological elements such as Tammūz, Adonis, Astarte, and Baal that are found in al-Kḫāl’s collection that was later published in 1958.

DOI :10.26650/jos.1229692   IUP :10.26650/jos.1229692    Full Text (PDF)

Yûsuf el-Ḫâl’in Şiirlerinde Din ve Mit

Gamze Yücetürk Kurtulmuş

Lübnan’ın önde gelen şairlerinden Yûsuf el-Ḫâl, Temmûzî şiir hareketinin beş şairinden biridir. O, Amerikan ve Batılı şairlerin şiirlerinden yaptığı çevirilerle bu hareketin temellerinin atılmasında yol gösterici olmuştur. Arap dünyasının içinde bulunduğu sosyo-politik çöküntü durumunun benzerlerini ve bu durumdan kurtulmanın yollarını özellikle T.S Eliot’ın The Waste Land (Çorak Ülke) şiirinde gören Temmûzî şairler, geleceğe dair umutludur. Böylece şiirlerinde yeniden dirilişe inanma, en belirgin özellik olmuştur. Diğerlerinde olduğu gibi el-Ḫâl’in şiirlerinde de bereket tanrısı Temmûz mitinin işlevi; diriliş ve yeniden doğuşu ifade etmek olarak görülmüştür. Temmûzî şairler, bu miti Eliot, Sir James Frazer gibi Batılı isimlerin öncülüğünde kendi kültürlerinden efsanelerle harmanlayarak eserlerine konu edinmişler ve mitolojik öğelere yeni anlamlar yüklemişlerdir. Asur, Babil ve Yunan medeniyetlerine ait mitlerden beslenen Yûsuf el-Ḫâl’in şiirlerinde Eski ve Yeni Ahit’e göndermeler de sıkça görülmektedir. Özellikle bu çalışmada ele alınacak olan el-Bi’ru’l-Mehcûra (Terk Edilmiş Kuyu) adlı şiir seçkisinde İnsan-Mesih-Temmûz-Tanrı denklemi ile din ve mit ilişkisini ortaya koyar. Bunun yanı sıra şiirlerinde sıklıkla görülen ekmek ve şarap kavramları kimi zaman eleştiri kimi zaman umut vermek amacıyla kullanılır. Çalışmada el-Ḫâl’in hayatı ve içinde yer aldığı şiir hareketinden kısaca söz edilecektir. Ardından 1958 yılında yayımlanmış söz konusu seçkide geçen Mesih, ekmek, şarap, Habil, Kabil, İbrahim gibi dinî semboller ve Temmûz, Adonis, Astarte, Baal gibi mitolojik unsurlar; ölüm, diriliş, yeniden doğuş ve bereket kavramları kapsamında yorumlanacaktır.


EXTENDED ABSTRACT


Born to a Christian family in the Nasara region of Syria in 1917, Yusuf al-Kḫāl went to Beirut for university education and studied philosophy there. He founded his first magazine Al-Funûn [The Arts] while he was a student, and his passion for journalism, which had started in this way, continued for many years with various responsibilities such as editor and magazine founder. Adonis, Badr Shakir al-Sayyab, Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, and Ḫalīl Ḥāvī gathered around Al-Shi’r [The Poetry] magazine that he founded in Beirut in 1957 and called themselves a poetry community in reference to the magazine. However, one of them, Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, used the title of Tammūzī for these poets. They saw man and nature as alike and thought that their productive power comes from water and soil. While highlighting these motifs in their poems, they included the Sami-origin Tammūz myth, a symbol of continuity and protector of rural life, in Arabic poetry for the first time. The function of the Tammūz myth was to signify resurrection and rebirth in the poetry of these poets, who draw attention to the socio-politically depressing situation in the Arab world and focused on ways to be free of this situation. The Arabs, who’d entered a state of death and sleep, would be resurrected and regain their former glory, just like this mythological hero who was resurrected by the spring rains. These poets found something similar to their own situation in T.S Eliot’s poem The Waste Land, in which he showed the ways to remove the spiritual depression of the West and how he was not pessimistic about the future. These Tammūzī poets took influence from Eliot while processing religious and mythical elements in their poems. The point where al-Kḫāl differed from Eliot was his feeling of pessimism and hopelessness. Although the existential philosophy of both poets influenced their poems, the strength of Eliot’s belief in God was reflected in his poems as a sense of hope, while al-Kḫāl’s belief in God was sometimes in doubt. However, references to the Old and New Testaments are frequently seen in al-Kḫāl’s poems. Especially in his poetry collection Al-Bi’r al-Mahjūra, which this study will address and in which he reveals the relationship between religion and myth by equating humans, the Messiah, Tammūz, and God. The three main sources of Tammūzī poetry were mythology, religious narratives, and English poetry led by Eliot. In addition to these sources, al-Kḫāl’s poems also contain the thoughts of Anṭûn Sa‘âde, the founder of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP). Sa’âde’s view toward Syrians as carriers of Mediterranean culture and separate from other Arab nations were influential in shaping al-Kḫāl’s poetry. For this reason, his most frequently used symbols are sea, water, sand, and ship, as if he wanted to emphasize that his roots belong to the Mediterranean civilization. These also point to rebirth, productivity, civilization, movement, and backwardness. In addition to the myth of Tammūz and other mythical elements that he worked into under the influence of the West, he made legends of folk heroes such as Gamal Abdel Nasser in his poems and turned them into symbols. He also wanted to reflect the universality of poetry by sometimes bringing together figures from Akkadian, Sumerian, Phoenician, Babylonian, Egyptian, and Greek mythologies in the same poem.


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APA

Kurtulmuş, G.Y. (2023). Religion and Myth in the Poetry of Yūsuf al-Kḫāl. Journal of Oriental Studies, 0(42), 133-154. https://doi.org/10.26650/jos.1229692


AMA

Kurtulmuş G Y. Religion and Myth in the Poetry of Yūsuf al-Kḫāl. Journal of Oriental Studies. 2023;0(42):133-154. https://doi.org/10.26650/jos.1229692


ABNT

Kurtulmuş, G.Y. Religion and Myth in the Poetry of Yūsuf al-Kḫāl. Journal of Oriental Studies, [Publisher Location], v. 0, n. 42, p. 133-154, 2023.


Chicago: Author-Date Style

Kurtulmuş, Gamze Yücetürk,. 2023. “Religion and Myth in the Poetry of Yūsuf al-Kḫāl.” Journal of Oriental Studies 0, no. 42: 133-154. https://doi.org/10.26650/jos.1229692


Chicago: Humanities Style

Kurtulmuş, Gamze Yücetürk,. Religion and Myth in the Poetry of Yūsuf al-Kḫāl.” Journal of Oriental Studies 0, no. 42 (Jul. 2024): 133-154. https://doi.org/10.26650/jos.1229692


Harvard: Australian Style

Kurtulmuş, GY 2023, 'Religion and Myth in the Poetry of Yūsuf al-Kḫāl', Journal of Oriental Studies, vol. 0, no. 42, pp. 133-154, viewed 20 Jul. 2024, https://doi.org/10.26650/jos.1229692


Harvard: Author-Date Style

Kurtulmuş, G.Y. (2023) ‘Religion and Myth in the Poetry of Yūsuf al-Kḫāl’, Journal of Oriental Studies, 0(42), pp. 133-154. https://doi.org/10.26650/jos.1229692 (20 Jul. 2024).


MLA

Kurtulmuş, Gamze Yücetürk,. Religion and Myth in the Poetry of Yūsuf al-Kḫāl.” Journal of Oriental Studies, vol. 0, no. 42, 2023, pp. 133-154. [Database Container], https://doi.org/10.26650/jos.1229692


Vancouver

Kurtulmuş GY. Religion and Myth in the Poetry of Yūsuf al-Kḫāl. Journal of Oriental Studies [Internet]. 20 Jul. 2024 [cited 20 Jul. 2024];0(42):133-154. Available from: https://doi.org/10.26650/jos.1229692 doi: 10.26650/jos.1229692


ISNAD

Kurtulmuş, GamzeYücetürk. Religion and Myth in the Poetry of Yūsuf al-Kḫāl”. Journal of Oriental Studies 0/42 (Jul. 2024): 133-154. https://doi.org/10.26650/jos.1229692



TIMELINE


Submitted05.01.2023
Accepted13.02.2023
Published Online28.04.2023

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