German Popliterature; Turkish Popliteratur? Hakan Günday’s Kinyas ve Kayra in view of the New [German] PopliteratureMax Florian Hertsch, Beste Hertsch
The so-called “New [German] Popliterature” (which has parallels with the “Beat Generation”) is regarded as a literary genre that is not clearly defined. Originating after the end of World War II, it experienced a renaissance in the 1990s. The work of Swiss writer Christian Kracht, whose debut novel Faserland (EN: Fatherland), published in 1995, led to a new turning point in the literary scene. Other works of New [German] Popliterature can be classified as such under certain categories. However, what about a New Popliterature in Turkey? Hakan Günday, who published his novel Kinyas ve Kayra eight years after Kracht, could be considered such a writer. In Turkey, Günday is often associated with so-called underground literature. This interesting term for a literary genre is not fully recognized yet, which is why a connection to pop literature, or better known from English as literature of the Beat Generation, appears here. In this article, the (western) characteristics of New Popliterature in Günday’s novel are examined using Kracht’s initial example. The article tries to determine whether Günday can be considered a pop literary writer and whether his work can be classified in this category. If the result can be verified, then it means that the western influence of New Popliterature would also have reached the Turkish literary scene.
Deutsche Popliteratur - Türkische Popliteratur? Hakan Gündays Kinyas ve Kayra im Angesicht der [Neuen Deutschen] PopliteraturMax Florian Hertsch, Beste Hertsch
Die Neue Deutsche Popliteratur gilt als eine nicht klar umrissene literarische Gattung. Mit ihren Ursprüngen nach Ende des 2. Weltkrieges erlebte sie in den 1990er Jahren eine Renaissance, unter anderem durch den Schweizer Schriftsteller Christian Kracht, dessen Debütroman Faserland 1995 führ einen neuen Einschnitt in der Literaturszene sorgte. Sein Werk und andere Werke der Neuen Popliteratur unterliegen klassischen Kategorien der Popart-Literatur. Diese werden als theoretische Grundlage für den vorliegenden Beitrag verwendet. Doch wie sieht es mit der Popliteratur in der Türkei aus? Hakan Günday, der acht Jahre nach Kracht seinen Roman Kinyas ve Kayra veröffentlicht hat, könnte als ein solcher Popliterat gelten. In diesem Beitrag werden die (westlichen) Merkmale der Popliteratur anhand des Ausgangsbeispiels von Kracht auf den Roman von Günday übertragen. Günday wird in der Türkei oft mit dem Begriff einer sogenannten Untergrundliteratur in Verbindung gebracht. Da dieser wage Begriff für ein literarisches Genre global nicht ganz anerkannt ist, erscheint hier eine Herleitung und Verbindung zur Popliteratur, oder aus dem Englischen eher bekannt als Literatur der Beat Generation. Der Beitrag versucht herauszufinden, ob Günday als ein Popliterat gelten kann und ob sein Werk in diese Kategorie einzuordnen ist. Sollte das Resultat verifizierbar sein, wäre dieser westliche Einfluss der Popliteratur auch in der türkischen Literaturszene angekommen.
The so-called “New [German] Popliterature” (more or less similar to the “Beat Generation”) is regarded as a literary genre that is not clearly defined. Originating after the end of World War II, it experienced a renaissance in the 1990s. The work of Swiss writer Christian Kracht, whose debut novel Faserland (EN: Fatherland), published in 1995, led to a new turning point in the literary scene, What about a New Popliterature in Turkey? Hakan Günday, who published his novel Kinyas ve Kayra eight years after Kracht, could be considered such a writer. In this article, the (western) characteristics of New Popliterature are examined in the novel by Günday using Kracht’s initial example. The article attempts to determine whether Günday can be considered a pop literary writer and whether his work can be classified in this category. If the result can be verified, then it means that the western influence of New Popliterature would also have reached the Turkish literary scene.
In this work, the motifs from New Popliterature that were specific to the literary period of the 1990s in Germany were identified in the works of Günday. The main starting points for New [German] Popliterature were Kracht’s novels Faserland and 1979; the solo album by Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre; and Tristesse Royale from the pop cultural quintet Joachim Bessing, Christian Kracht, Eckhart Nickel, Alexander von Schönburg, and Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre. These authors reflect attitudes toward life—in particular, the intermedia staging of the authors as ‘pop stars’, ‘pop music as a theme’ and as a template for literature, youth and their ‘generational conflict’, social criticism through ‘apolitics, gender trouble’, ‘ironic use of language’, illness and ‘death’ (the last things), the ‘desire to travel’, ‘brand fetishism’, drug consumption, and also the hopelessness of the young generation in the 1990s. Similar trends can also be found in Turkish literature, especially in the works of Günday. Similar to New Popliterature figures like Kracht, Bessing, and von Stuckrad-Barre in Germany, Günday stands for a new kind of Turkish literature, a kind that follows the visions of the New [German] Popliterature and lets the author rise to the state of a staged “idol”. Günday’s bindings also refer to record covers of the music industry, and the author himself likes to be different and does not mind if you portray him with a cigarette, thus reflecting a new kind of Turkish literature that is developing in popularity.
In Günday’s work Kinyas ve Kayra, the reader may often find descriptions of music that underline the scenes of the everyday world of the protagonists. In contrast to the musical characteristics of New Popliterature, which were consolidated by pop and techno music of that time, characteristics of reggae music and jazz music appear in Günday’s work. Günday also uses brand names, especially for alcoholic beverages. “He took a bottle of vodka next from his foot and put it on the table. He smiled. We both had stories about Absolut Vodka.
Ayağının yanında duran bir votka şişesini alıp masaya koydu. Gülümsedi. İkimizin de Absolut’le ilgili hikayeleri vardı” [Kinyas ve Kayra, p. 13]. Günday also uses the language of the youth and ironic statements about politics to describe his view of the world. In contrast to the style of New [German] Popliterature, Günday criticizes the welfare state through the protagonists’ own view of the world. Kinyas ve Kayra also exhibits clear openness with regard to sexuality. Travel literature is important as a stylistic device, similar to the features of the New [German] Popliterature. This paper posits that pop literary tendencies can be found in Turkish literature. On the basis of text passages on the central motifs of pop literature, these tendencies are shown and confirmed in the result of this study.