The Individual and the Desire of Escape in Bilge Karasu’s TextsAtaberk Hacımale
Explorations in form and language are prominent features of the post-1940s Turkish Literature generation. Bilge Karasu, one of the most remarkable names of this generation, is known for his experimental practices with the image and utterance of a literary work. This article aims to take a holistic approach to Karasu’s texts and address his literature from a different perspective. The texts of Bilge Karasu were analyzed based on the psychology of escape that the author experienced, and we reviewed how the shadow of Karasu’s life and his approach to literature affect his works. The article is divided into three parts: the explanation of the psychology of escape, which is a subject that directly affects the life of the person; the place of escape psychology in Turkish literary tradition; and the explanation of Bilge Karasu as a fugitive writer based on his life and nonfiction writings and an explanation of the writer’s texts from this perspective.
Bilge Karasu’nun Metinlerinde Birey ve Kaçış ArzusuAtaberk Hacımale
Edebi eserin biçimi ve dili üzerine yaptıkları yeni arayışlar, 1940 sonrasında yetişmiş olan Türk Edebiyatı kuşağının en çok göze çarpan özelliklerinden biridir. Bu kuşağın önde gelen isimlerinden olan Bilge Karasu, edebi metnin biçimi ve diline dair yaptığı arayışlarla bu çabanın ciddi takipçilerinden birisi konumundadır. Yine de Bilge Karasu’nun metinleriyle onun edebiyata katkısı nispetinde ilgilenilmediği ve edebiyat araştırmacılarının bu konuya hak ettiği ağırlığı vermediği açıktır. Bu makale, Karasu’nun metinlerini farklı bir açıdan ele almayı ve eksik kalmış bu alana bir katkı sunmayı amaçlamaktadır. Bilge Karasu’nun metinleri, yazarın içinde bulunduğu firar psikolojisinden yola çıkarak yakın okumaya tabi tutulmuş, Karasu’nun hayatının “gölgesinin” ve edebiyata olan yaklaşımının eserlerini ne şekilde etkilediği açıklanmıştır. Makale, temel olarak üç bölümden meydana gelmektedir: Birinci bölüm, kişinin yaşantısını doğrudan etkileyen bir konu olan firar psikolojisinin, meselenin çeşitli boyutlarıyla birlikte ele alınarak açıklanmasına ayrılmıştır. Yenilikçi yazarların metinlerinde kendisini gösteren kaçış anlatısının modern Türk Edebiyatında ne şekilde bir eğilim meydana getirdiği, makalenin ikinci bölümünde ortaya konmuştur. Üçüncü bölüm, çalışmanın temel konusu olan Bilge Karasu’yu yaşamı ve kurgu dışı yazılarından yola çıkıp firari bir yazar olarak ele almaya ve yazarın metinlerinin bu perspektif üzerinden açıklanmasına ayrılmıştır.
Bilge Karasu has been a part of the literary canon for many years as a leading figure in Turkish literature. However, in literary studies, Karasu’s texts are not given as much importance as they deserve. One clear reason is that the language of his texts is difficult to understand, and his ambiguous style may deter literary researchers. However, as anyone who has read Karasu’s texts will attest, the individual and his fragmented world are always at the center of the author’s works.
The psychology of the modern individual has a very fragmented structure. The state of the individual is directly related to the knowledge that he has. The world view, education, value judgments, and experiences of the individual directly affect his life practices. It is obvious that the individual will feel like a stranger to his cultural values if he does not comply with the community in which he lives. The alienated individual is inevitably driven to escape. It is natural for people who have failed to build a healthy self, due to their childhood experiences, to encounter bonding problems in their adult lives. Individuals whose psyche has been hurt turn to various defense mechanisms to avoid injury in their relations with the society. Turning toward defense is a sign of the individual’s escape from society and indicates that the person is in the psychology of escape. Escape can arise from the inner self, or it can develop as a result of pressure from the society to the person.
The exploration of escape is prevalent in literature. The entire literary history, from Lucretius to Lübeck, from Novalis to Hesse, has been a field where fugitive characters show themselves. From the beginning of modern Turkish literature, fugitive individuals have stood out. The fugitive writers’ distance from traditional narrative techniques paves the way for the theme of escape to be addressed more widely in literary works. The fugitive writers, who put the fugitive individual at the center of the text, do not stay away from people’s problems as it is thought. On the contrary, the writer touches on the issues of society when describing the problems of the fugitive. That is exactly makes the theme of escape in modern Turkish literature meaningful.
The first representative of fugitive writers in the modern period is Beşir Fuad, a person whose entire life was defined by escaping from his society and world. He spent his whole life with pursuing a new identity. This search ended with suicide. The theme of escape has perhaps most clearly manifested itself in the works of the Servet-i Fünun group. All members of the Servet-i Fünun ensemble deeply felt the desire to escape and reflected this in their literature. Tevfik Fikret, exhausted from the oppressive environment of Istanbul, retreated to voluntary exile in Aşiyan. The most competent example of the fugitive characters in literary texts until the new era is Ahmet Cemil in Halit Ziya’s novel Mai ve Siyah. The escape of Ahmet Cemil, the protagonist of the novel, aligns with the escape of a whole generation of Servet-i Fünun. Fugitive writers and poets continued to produce works during the republican period, and the fugitive characters followed each other on a line in literary works.
Bilge Karasu has given some of the most competent examples of fugitive characters in modern Turkish literature. Karasu, who reveals a fugitive personality with his life and identity, has put the modern individual’s escape at the center of his literary works. Karasu, who comes from a Jewish family and identifies as homosexual, lived a life limited to a narrow circle of friends to avoid scandal. He has been a person whom in the psychology of escape throughout his life for the reasons we have stated. When viewed from this point of view, the writer’s texts are both a continuation of the fugitive characters line in modern Turkish literature and a reflection of the author’s life itself. He wrote many texts in different literary genres, and although each of these texts is shaped around different topics, the theme each has in common is the issue of escape. The individual is at the center of these texts and is written from the perspective of the desire to escape. The main subject of Karasu’s texts is the individual’s psychology of escape.