Safa’s Translation and Its Remainders

Nergis Ertürk

in Grammatology and Literary Modernity in Turkey

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199746682
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918775 | DOI:
Safa’s Translation and Its Remainders

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Chapter Four examines another exemplary novel, Matmazel Noraliya’nın Koltuğu (“Mademoiselle Noralia’s Armchair,” 1949), by the journalist, novelist, and critic Peyami Safa. In a narrative and discursive idiom animated by regional colloquialisms, French medical and psychoanalytic terminology, archaic Ottoman Turkish, Arabic prayer words, and Kurdish borrowings, Safa’s novel provides yet another account of the failure of the nationalist phonocentric project to meet its ideal goal. Unlike The Time Regulation Institute, however, Matmazel Noraliya’nın Koltuğu (which is organized by scenes of the translation and rewriting of such texts as Rimbaud’s “L’Éternité” and Aldous Huxley’s The Perennial Philosophy), can be said to aspire to the transcendence of linguistic difference and the reconstitution of a new order of signification in the nationalization and Islamicization of ethnic and religious difference. My reading of Safa’s novel emphasizes the collapse of this assimilating authorial agenda, but affirms it, at the same time, as a mark of the ineradicable internal heterogeneity of the Turkish language.

Keywords: Peyami Safa; Matmazel Noraliya’nın Koltuğu; Arthur Rimbaud; Aldous Huxley; linguistic nationalism

Chapter.  13138 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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