Leyla Erbil, translated by Arzu Eker Roditakis
This dossier presents three translated essays, by Leyla Erbil (1931–2013), Şavkar Altınel (1953–), and Ataol Behramoğlu (1942–), that inquire into the question of authenticity as related to tradition, individuality, and artistic creativity. The authors try to define what these concepts mean in the Turkish literary field. Prof. Sibel Erol’s essay serves as both an editorial introduction to these translations and an investigation in its own right into the question of whether there is a real Turkish literature. She engages with the heart of the debate through an analysis of the Turkish writer Erbil’s essay titled “On the Question of an Authentic and Original Turkish Literature.” Altınel’s “Yahya Kemal, T. S. Eliot, and the Force of ‘Tradition'” and Behramoğlu’s “Organic Poetry,” while not written directly in response to Erbil’s essay or the question she raises, are in conversation with each other, enriching the debate on literary tradition in general and the state of Turkish literature in particular.