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OTTOMAN NEW LITERATURE  (EDEBIYAT-I CEDIDE)  وطن، ياخود، سلستره : درت فصل، تياترو [Fatherland or Silistra. Theatre in Four Acts] Zoom

OTTOMAN NEW LITERATURE (EDEBIYAT-I CEDIDE) وطن، ياخود، سلستره : درت فصل، تياترو [Fatherland or Silistra. Theatre in Four Acts]


An uncommon first edition of the radical modern Ottoman theatre play Vatan (Fatherland), for which its author Namık Kemal was exiled and imprisoned eight days after its premiere. 

From the library of Edward Heron-Allen.

Author: Namık Kemal (1840 –1888).
Place and Year: Istanbul: [S. n.] 1289 [1873].
Code: 68391

12°. 168 pp. contemporary original binding with lettering, brown cloth spine, pink pastedowns, old bookplate by Edward Heron-Allen on the inner side of the cover (a partly uncut example, tiny tears in margins, one sheet with a V-shaped tear in the text, title page loose, old manuscript on the inner side of the front cover, binding slightly stained and rubbed, mostly on the spine, altogether a good used example).


This is a first edition of the Ottoman controversial theatre play in four acts Vatan (Fatherland), which is known as the first romantic theatre piece of the Ottoman literature. The story, set in the time of the Crimean War of 1853, is about the girl who disguises herself as a male soldier and enters the war, to be together with her beloved man.
After the first edition of the book the play was due to the censorship renamed from Vatan, The Fatherland, into Silistre, Silistra, a region and a port town in north Bulgaria, where the main characters were from.  

Later the piece became known under the joint names Vatan Yahut Silistre (Fatherland or Silistra).  

Eight days after the play’s premiere in 1873, the author Namık Kemal was sent to the prison to Famagusta, but the play continued successfully performing and was staged almost 550 times in the next three years.  

Namık Kemal (1840 –1888) is known as one of the pioneers of the modern Ottoman literature, who influenced a new generation of writers. Mehmet Kemal was of Albanian origins, born to chief astrologer in the Sultan’s palace Mustafa Asım Bey and Fatma Zehra.

Namık was forced to leave his first job at the governmental translation office due to his radical political views. He joined a secret group the Young Ottomans, seeking further modernizations and reforms, which as they believed were not achieved by the Tanzimat. Namık Kemal was also writing for the newspaper Tasvir-i Efkar ("Herald of Ideas"). In 1867 he was exiled to Paris, where he stayed until 1869 or 1870. 

Upon his return Namık Kemal continued working on the newspaper and was active as a writer, playwriter and a poet. His works were modern, idealistic and patriotic. In 1973 he wrote his most famous play Vatan Yahut Silistre, (Fatherland or Silistra). Eight days after its premiere at the theater, on April 1, 1873, Namık Kemal was sent to prison to Famagusta, Cyprus, until 1876. Under the rule of Abdul Hamid II Namık Kemal was exiled as many other members of the Young Ottomans, this time to Chios, where he lived until his death in 1888. 

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk later often pointed out, he was inspired by the Namık Kemal‘s work. 

This example comes from a library of Edward Heron-Allen (1861 – 1943), a British scholar, scientist and translator from Persian. The translation of the title on the inner side of the cover was possibly written by Heron-Allen and his book-plate is mounted on the inner side of the back cover. 

References: OCLC 236004948, 859616118, 282992396, 630522098, 949453638.

Availability: In stock

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