EUME Berliner Seminar
Mi 26 Jun 2024 | 17:00–18:30

Editorial Politics and Choices: The Translation of Yakup Kadri’s novel Yaban (The Stranger) in Nazi-Fascist Europe

Lea Nocera (University of Naples L’Orientale / EUME-DAAD Fellow 2024), Chair: Çiçek İlengiz (BEYONDREST / Forum Transregionale Studien)

Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

This research focuses on the translation and editorial process of the Turkish novel Yaban (The Stranger) by Yakup Kadri (Karaosmanoğlu) in Nazi-Fascist Europe. The novel, generally acknowledged as a masterpiece of 20th-century Turkish Literature, was published in Turkey in 1932 and translated first into German in 1939. After the German translation was published, the author had to respond to harsh criticism in his home country, despite having been generally acclaimed in Europe’s literary and academic circles. At that time, Yakup Kadri, who also was the founder and leading figure of the leftist Kadro movement, due to internal political differences within the Kemalist front was appointed as Turkish ambassador, first to Albania (1934), then Czechoslovakia (1935), the Netherlands (1939-1940) and Switzerland (1942). Yaban was translated from German into Italian in 1942 by a prestigious publishing house that at the time was fighting for translating foreign literature in spite of fascist constraints. The novel became the very first Turkish novel of the 20th century to be published in Italy. My research on the editorial choices and politics of translation of Yaban addresses still overlooked intellectual correspondences, entanglements and perspectives on cultural exchange between Turkey, Germany and Italy during WWII, and refers to broader political issues of the period, and to the political engagement of the author. It also reveals new aspects in the reception of Turkish literature in Europe and the connections between Turkology as a branch of Oriental Studies and fascism.

Lea Nocera is Associate Professor in Turkish Studies at University of Naples L’Orientale. Her research covers topics such as political and social history of the Republic of Turkey and Turkish migration to Europe. Her current research deals with political and cultural interconnections between Turkey and Europe in the WWII.She is deputy president of the Italian Association of Women Historians and member of the CEST – Consortium of European Symposia on Turkey. She is also a radio host and editor for a broadcast on culture&society in the MENA area of the Italian National Broadcast (RAIRadio3), a contributor for Italian media on Turkey’s current affairs, and the founder and director of, an independent online magazine on Turkish cultural and social issues.

Çiçek İlengiz works at the intersection of memory studies, politics of emotions and critical heritage studies. Her current research project "Inheriting Anatolia: Representation, Knowledge Production and Imagination" asks: ‘how do we inherit what belongs to everyone’ and aims to answer this question through ethnographic, archival and legal research. Her recent publications have engaged with inheritance, temporality and mourning in the fields of memory and heritage. She is currently revising her book manuscript for publication, tentatively titled The Healing-Injury: Revolutionary Mourning in Post Genocidal Turkey.

Please note that the Berliner Seminar will take place on-site at the Forum Transregionale Studien. We kindly ask for prior registration via eume(at) Depending on approval by the speaker(s), the Berliner Seminar will be recorded. All audio recordings of the Berliner Seminar are available on SoundCloud.

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