Journal of Turkish Language and Literature
Some Memoirs and Notes of Yahya Kemal Previously Unrevealed on Recent Turkish Politics and LiteratureMehmet Samsakçı
Yahya Kemal, one of the founding writers of 20th-century Turkish poetry, soon established his ideas, taste and aesthetics with his conversations, lectures, poems and articles which he published shortly after his return from Paris to Istanbul in 1912. Although he passed away at the age of 74, which meant he had had a long life, he did not publish a book when he was alive. Yahya Kemal, who experienced the years of the occupation, the National Struggle and the Republican period, focused on newspaper articles during those years. His books, handwritten manuscripts, poems and articles published in the newspapers of that time, and also the documents and letters he sent to his friends, form the corpus of his writing. As is well known, Yahya Kemal did not publish a book while he was alive. These poems, writings or notes were published by the Yahya Kemal Institute, which was established within the Istanbul Conquest Society, after the death of the poet, and the same Istitute signed an agreement with his heirs. However, this collection of 12 books has been enriched and expanded by several researchers at various times since new research, studies and archives have continued to reveal the writings and verses belonging to Yahya Kemal. This article contains the transcriptions of 18 articles and memoirs of Yahya Kemal in the Taha Toros Archive, which has recently been accessed and shared by Istanbul Şehir University.
Yahya Kemal’in Yakın Dönem Türk Siyaset ve Edebiyatına Dair Gün Yüzüne Çıkmamış Bazı Hatıra ve NotlarıMehmet Samsakçı
20. yüzyıl Türk şiirinin kurucu kalemlerinden birisi olan, 1912’de Paris’ten İstanbul’a döndükten çok kısa bir süre sonra sohbetleriyle, dersleriyle ve az sayıda da olsa neşrettiği şiirleriyle tefekkür, zevk ve estetiğini kabul ettiren Yahya Kemal, 74 yaşında vefat etmiş olmasına yani uzun sayılabilecek bir ömür sürmesine rağmen sağlığında kitap yayımlamamıştır. Mütareke / Millî Mücadele ve Cumhuriyet dönemlerini idrak eden, bu yıllarda özellikle gazete yazılarına ağırlık veren Yahya Kemal’in kitapları, terekeden çıkan el yazısı müsveddeleri, devrin gazete ve dergilerinde yazdığı yazı ve şiirleriyle dostlarına gönderdiği mektup vs. belgelerin oluşturduğu bir külliyât teşkil etmektedir. Bilindiği gibi Yahya Kemal, hayattayken kitap yayımlamamıştır. Bu şiir, yazı ya da notlar, şairin vefatından sonra İstanbul Fetih Cemiyeti bünyesinde kurulan ve şairin vârisleriyle bir protokol imzalayan Yahya Kemal Enstitüsü tarafından yayımlanmıştır. Fakat 12 kitaplık bu külliyât, çeşitli zamanlarda, çeşitli araştırmacılar tarafından zenginleştirilmekte, genişletilmektedir. Zira yeni araştırmalar, yeni taramalar, gün yüzüne çıkan yeni arşivlerde Yahya Kemal’e ait yazı ve mısralar ortaya çıkarmaktadır. Bu yazı da bir süre önce İstanbul Şehir Üniversitesi tarafından erişime ve paylaşıma açılan Taha Toros Arşivi’nde bulunan ve Yahya Kemal’e ait olan 18 adet yazı ve hatıranın çeviriyazısını içermektedir.
One of the significant personal traits of Yahya Kemal in the history of Turkish literature is his perfectionism and the fact that he did not publish any books while he was alive. Yahya Kemal, who frequently reflected upon and edited his writings , especially his poems, even continued to work on his finished works. Before he passed away at the age of 74, Yahya Kemal increased his studies on his books towards the end of his life, having been persuaded by his friends, followers and readers to publish books throughout his life. He even made three poetry books ready for publication with his friends namely Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar and Nihad Sami Banarlı. It is also well known that he even brought special papers from Europe for those books. However, it was not possible to publish the books. The Yahya Kemal Institute, which was established following his death under the Istanbul Conquest Society, signed an agreement with the legal heirs of the poet and began publishing the books one after the other. The first book, Kendi Gök Kubbemiz, was published in 1962. Those books, four of which are poetry and eight are prose, consist of poems and articles published by Yahya Kemal in magazines, newspapers or anthologies and also include his handwritten manuscripts. The authorities and employees of the Institute examined the magazines and newspapers he wrote until 1958, the year of his death, and his poems and writings were classified according to their subjects and then published in book form. However, the fact that dozens or even hundreds of magazines and newspapers were published between these years made it difficult or even impossible to form a complete list. Because Yahya Kemal, especially during the National Struggle, concentrated on prose, he published dozens of articles on history, politics, culture and literature. In fact, some of them were not published in his own name but under pseudonyms or nicknames due to the strict censorship of the occupation forces. In short, it is not possible to form a comprehensive collection even of the writings published by Yahya Kemal under his own name. In addition, the necessity of determining whether some writings belong to Yahya Kemal or not poses separate problems. Despite all the well-intentioned efforts and the use of opportunities provided by technology, and even taking into account the various collections and catalogs that have been available for access, nonetheless a comprehensive catalog of the author’s periodical publications has not yet been put together in Turkey. Some collections are also quite old and incomplete. Therefore, a complete list of the works of many poets and writers such as Yahya Kemal cannot be made. Throughout all the years that have passed, the fact that many archives, both individual and institutional, have been brought to light and opened to access has enabled many a deficiency to be eliminated. Large collections such as the Atatürk Library and Hakkı Tarık Us Library’s Newspaper and Magazine Catalog have been opened on-line. In addition, it is a great benefit that the archive of Taha Toros, a researcher, has been digitized and shared by Şehir University. In this way, the documents that have been entered into the Taha Toros Archive at various times and in various ways are made available to the public. 18 writings and notes of Yahya Kemal, which the reader will see in their transcribed versions in this article, have been made available from the Taha Toros Archive. Those writings, written by the poet at various times in different cities and even in different countries, are mainly about politicians, poets and writers whom he had the chance to meet. Yahya Kemal’s observations on the political characteristics of the Young Turks, whom he knew about when he was in Paris between 1903 and 1912, provide valuable data for today’s researchers studying the period in question. Some of those 18 writings include the findings and evaluations of Yahya Kemal, whose historical knowledge is extremely advanced. The historical events and personalities that the poet thinks of while passing by the Prut Plain particularly provide us with very original perspectives. Some of these writings provide vivid lines directly about Yahya Kemal’s personal development in poetry and literature. Yahya Kemal studied politics and history in Paris, but in those years he was more interested in poetry and literature than perhaps his subjects. During those 9 years, Yahya Kemal benefited from one of the largest libraries in Paris. He studied important sources of Turkish history and literature and acquired a very deep and original background. He soon shared them with the Turkish public. These articles contain important clues about Yahya Kemal’s poetic career. In addition, it is possible to observe where a young poet candidate sought poetry and how he formed his own poetry universe. In these articles, published for the first time in this study, it is revealed who Yahya Kemal reads, which art and literary circles he is part of in Paris and in which European schools of poetry and art he is interested.