Turkish Delight

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As you may or may not be aware, Orhan Pamuk, a visiting prof at our fair institution, just netted ol’ Alma another Nobel, this time for literature.

Though there is some speculation as to what exactly Pamuk does around here, (this says he will have a MEALAC position, which is news to those who spend way too much time in Kent) Bwog correspondent Chris Szabla offers this contextualization/legitimization:

“He also spent time here for a number of years in the 80s while his ex-wife was getting her doctorate; he actually wrote one of his books, Kara kitap (“The Black Book”) in Butler. Tenuous connections maybe, but he does have a longstanding relationship with the university.

Pamuk attended the Iowa writing school and taught a Turkish language class, but mostly he occupied a small room above the Columbia library where he began work on The Black Book, the contemporary story of a lawyer searching Istanbul for his lost wife. ‘My cubicle was above three million books and I was very happy there,’ he says. ‘There was a good collection of Turkish books going back to the 1930s and many of them had not even had the pages cut. No one had ever looked at them before me.’ “

[From here]

And offers a global perspective:

“Second, nationalists in Turkey who have not quite been fans of Pamuk since his Armenian genocide comments are convinced the prize was awarded to him as a snub to them. On top of that, France just became anti-Turkey when its National Assembly passed a law this morning making it illegal to deny the Armenian genocide.

Ironically, the bill only passed because most delegates left the chamber in protest over what they said were attempts to pander to ethnic Armenian voters in France

More here.

Finally, a choice quote from the New York Times:

“Pamuk, currently a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he was overjoyed by the award, adding that remarks he made earlier this year referring to the Nobel literature prize as ”nonsense” were a mistranslation.”

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  1. chris szabla  

    just to add to this, professor andreas huyssen, who is a close friend of pamuk's, told the class that pamuk called him during his trial in turkey to ask for a "quiet room" to write his next novel. huyssen recommended deutsches haus, where pamuk has been quietly working on the novel for months. next year, according to huyssen, he and pamuk will be joint-teaching a class on "western perceptions"...or something like that.

  2. Anonymous

    Met him today - he's super nice!

  3. a fan  

    hi gautam. i bet those copies of "istanbul" will be flying off the shelves now, huh? ;-)

    yay for huyssen bringing him to our fair university! that man is my hero.

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