Tales of Crossed Destinies

The Modern Turkish Novel in a Comparative Context

  • Author: Azade Seyhan
  • Pages: xii & 237 pp.
  • Published: 2008
  • ISBN: 9781603290302 (Cloth)
  • ISBN: 9781603290319 (Paperback)
Tales of Crossed Destinies Cover

“A stunning achievement. This book should be a major contribution to the teaching of world literature. Seyhan has, I believe, ‘reimagined’ the Turkish novel in a way that makes it accessible to classrooms.”

—Walter G. Andrews, University of Washington

“An excellent resource for comparative literature, Turkish and Middle Eastern literature courses.”


Azade Seyhan’s Tales of Crossed Destinies: The Modern Turkish Novel in a Comparative Context, second in the MLA series World Literatures Reimagined, offers a much-needed guide to the vast, underexplored territory of modern Turkish literature.

Seyhan situates the Turkish novel in relation to such influences as the poetic and oral traditions of Ottoman Islamic culture, the early Turkish Republic, and Western Romantic and Enlightenment thought. She demonstrates that the evolution of the Turkish novel is inseparable from that of the Turkish state.

Readers will discover a wealth of Turkish authors, from those with international renown, such as Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar and the Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, to others less widely read. Among them are Reşsat Nuri Güntekin, whose Autobiography of a Turkish Girl prompted thousands of young Turkish women to seek teaching posts; Halide Edib Adıvar, who envisioned a harmonious coexistence of Islamic spirituality with Western ideals; Aziz Nesin, Turkey’s master humorist, who instructs the reader in censor-resistant code; and Yaşsar Kemal and Adalet Ağaoğlu and their blendings of myth, memory, and politics.

Appendixes provide a chronology, a pronunciation guide to Turkish, and a list of modern Turkish novels in English translation, preparing readers to embark on further exploration.