Who is Nedim Gürsel ?
Nedim Gürsel was born in Gaziantep. After graduating from Galatasaray High School in 1970, he studied at the Sorbonne. In 1974, he graduated from the Sorbonne’s Department of Modern French Literature. In 1979, he received his doctorate in comparative literature after completing his dissertation on Louis Aragon and Nazim Hikmet. Gürsel is a founding member of the International Parliament of Writers. Today, a citizen of France, he teaches contemporary Turkish literature at the Sorbonne. Nedim Gürsel has been described by Yashar Kemal as ‘one of the few contemporary Turkish writers who have brought something new to our literature.’
Nedim Gürsel is a novelist and a short story writer as well as an academic working in the field of literature. He has produced poetry, essays, and travel writing in addition to his academic research which focuses on Turkish literature from a comparative perspective, in his literary work he explores journeys, solitude and loneliness, and the search for belonging; cities and women gure prominently in his writing. Although he has lived in Paris for most of his life and publishes most of his scholarship in French, he writes his fiction in Turkish. For Gürsel the great legacy of his homeland, which he only returns to for visits, is his native tongue.
Gürsel was born in Gaziantep, in southeast Turkey, on 5 April 1951, the second child of Orhan and Leyla Gürsel. His parents were both teachers—his father taught French and his mother mathematics. Gürsel attended the prominent Galatasaray High School, famous for its literary and intellectual alumnae. His life at a boarding school in the city center, with its enticements and restrictions, was formative in his writing, he was nicknamed after “Jean Valjean-the Wretched,” the hero of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables (1862). The interaction with a different language and literature opened up a new world to him. Upon graduation from high school in 1970, Gürsel received a scholarship to study in France. This was the beginning of a colorful journey for Gursel in literatüre. In years to come World famous author Nedim Gürsel was to receiv numerous prestigious awards for his literary works and academic contribution.
A founding member of the International Parliament of Writers, Nedim Gürsel belongs to PEN, Fédération des maisons d’écrivain et des patrimoines littéraires, and the Mediterranean Academy. He continues to teach contemporary Turkish literature at the Sorbonne and to work as research director on Turkish Literature at CNRS. His works have been translated into more than twenty languages, including French, German, English, Spanish, Italian, and Arabic. With an international reputation as a scholar and author, Gürsel is one of the writers who are true ambassadors for Turkish letters abroad.
Books: İlk Kadın (The First Woman), Cicipapa, Uzun Sürmüş Bir Yaz / ( A Summer without End) , Şeyh Bedrettin Destanı Üzerine (On the Legend of Şeyh Bedrettin ) , Çağdaş Yazın ve Kültür ( Contemporary Literature and Culture), Kadınlar Kitabı (The Book of Women), Yerel Kültürden Evrensele (To Universal from Local Cultures), Sevgilim İstanbul ( Istanbul My Love ), Son Tramvay (The Last Tram ), Nâzım Hikmet ve Geleneksel Türk Yazını (Nazim Hikmet and Turkish popular literature), Başkaldıran Edebiyat (Rebellious Literature), Kırk Kısa Şiir, Boğazkesen ( The Throat Cutter / The Novel of Fatih), Yaşar Kemal’i Okumak, Paris Kitabı, Seyir Defteri (Log Book), Yüzyıl Biterken (When the Century Ends), Aragon(The Perpetual Motion of Aragon— dadaïst revolt with the real world), Yaşar Kemal: Bir Geciş Dönemi Romancısı (Yachar Kemal—the novel of a transition), Öğleden Sonra Aşk (Afternoon Love), Doğumunun Yüzüncü Yılında Dünya Şairi Nâzım Hikmet (World Poet Nazım Hikmet on the 100th Anniversary of His Birth), Balkanlara Dönüş (Return to the Balkans), Pasifik Kıyılarında (On the Shore of Pasific), Gemiler de Gitti (Ships Have Left Too), Güneşte Ölüm (The Death under the Sun), Bir Avuç Dünya, Sağ Salim Kavuşsak (In the country of captive fish—a Turkish childhood), Resimli Dünya (The World with Pictures) , Paris Yazıları (Paris Articles), İzler ve Gölgeler, Dünya Şairi Nâzım Hikmet, Çıplak Berlin, Bozkırdaki Yabancı, Yedi Dervişler, Başkaldıran Edebiyat, Allah’ın Kızları (The Daughters of Allah), Şeytan, Melek ve Komünist, Yine Bana Döneceksin, Aşk Kırgınları, Yüzbaşının Oğlu, Acı Hayatlar, Tehlikeli Sevişmeler, Bana İtalya’yı Anlat, Piramitlerin Gölgesinde : Mısır’a yolculuk
Editions in English: “Words of Exile,” in Literature in Exile, edited by John Glad (Durham, N.C. & London: Duke University Press, 1990), pp. 59–62; “Some Jewish Characters in Modern Turkish Literature,” in The Jews of the Ottoman Empire, edited by Avigdor Levy (Princeton, N.J.: Darwin Press, 1994), pp. 647–652;“Mario Levi: A Young Jewish Author from Istanbul,” translated by Franck Salameh, in Jews, Turks, Ottomans: A Shared History, Fifteenth through the Twentieth Century, edited by Avigdor Levy (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2002), pp. 272–278; “The Award,” translated by Aron R. Aji, in Medinah: City Stories from the Middle East, edited by Joumana Haddad (Manchester: Comma, 2008), pp. 1–10; “Crocus, or Drowsy Blossom,” translated by Aji, in The Book of Istanbul: A City in Short Fiction, edited by Jim Hinks and Gul Turner (Manchester: Comma, 2010), pp. 1–11. PRODUCED SCRIPT: Sevgilim İstanbul, motion picture, 1999, Amenis Film. OTHER: “Çocukluk: Yaşar Kemal’de Özyaşamöyküsel Uzam,” in Yaşar Kemal’i Okumak (Istanbul: Adam, 1998), pp. 69–84; “Quelques mots sur le Roman du conquérant,” in Conscious Voices: Concepts of Writing in the Middle East (Proceedings of the Berne Symposium, July 1997), edited by Stephan Guth, Priska Furrer, and Johann Christoph Bürgel (Beirut: Orient Institut der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft/Stuttgart: F. Steiner, 1999); “Sevgilim İstanbul,” in Öykülerde İstanbul, edited by Semih Gümüş (Istanbul: Türkiye İş Bankası Yay., 2001), pp. 383–386; “Thomas Münzer, Şeyh Bedrettin ve Nâzım Hikmet,” in Tarih—Ütopya—İsyan Şeyh Bedreddin (Istanbul: Su, 2007), pp. 55–67. TRANSLATION: Jorge Semprun, Ölüme Yolculuk: La Grande Voyage (Istanbul: Milliyet, 1977); republished as Büyük Yolculuk (Istanbul: Can, 1985).
- Turkish Literature
- Interview with Nedim Gürsel
- Travel Literature
- Turkey in Europe