Read Human Landscapes: An Epic Novel in Verse by Nâzım Hikmet Free Online
Book Title: Human Landscapes: An Epic Novel in Verse|
The author of the book: Nâzım Hikmet
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 787 KB
Edition: Persea Books
Date of issue: March 1st 1983
ISBN 13: 9780892550685
Read full description of the books Human Landscapes: An Epic Novel in Verse:Ignore that it took me a year to read this novel. The fact that it went so long is no reflection on how good or bad this book is. Life and procrastination got in the way.
In my opinion, Human Landscapes from My Country is a very good novel in verse. This was the first time in many years that I took time to read an epic poem. The last epic I recall reading was John Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained when I was an English major.
This is the second time I've read poetry by Nazim Hikmet who remains one of my favorite poets and one who has had an influence on the poetry I write. Unlike the collection of his poems that I read a few years ago (The Poems of Nazim Hikmet), this novel is more raw, realistic, and pessimistic than the individual short poems I read in the previous collection of his works. However on occasion, there were elements in it of the his softer more optimistic tone this similar to what is found in The Poems.
Human Landscapes from My Country is an epic novel in verse that is about the early history of the Turkish Republic into World War II. It presents the various classes of the society, the Turkish peasant, outcasts, blue collar workers, prisoners of petty, passion, and political crimes, military men, artists, writers, and millionaires. Nazim Hikmet wrote this poetic novel during WWII when he was serving a thirteen year sentence as a political prisoner. I would describe this novel as disjointed and complex with a wide array of characters, some who are described in detail and others in passing, but at the same time everyone and ever event is connected in some way. In the last quarter of the novel the scene is shifted to a prison and to Russia fighting against the Nazi onslaught. Hikmet was imprisoned in Turkey because he was a Communist, so that he would shift suddenly outside of Turkish society to a prison and to Russia was rather surprising to me at first, but considering the ideology that he followed and what was occurring in his life as he penned this novel, it began to make sense.
If you are interested in Turkish history, culture, literature, or if you are just a poetry lover I highly recommend this book. Please note: if you know little about Turkish history at the end of Ottoman times through the World Wars, there is a glossary at the back clarifying various historical events and figures.
Read information about the authorNâzım Hikmet was born Mehmet Hazim in Salonica, Ottoman Empire (now Thessaloniki, Greece). His father, Nazim Hikmet Bey, was a civil servant, whose father Nazim Pasha, had been a leading figure in the Ottoman civil service. Hikmet's mother, Aisha Dshalila (Cecile), was a painter, partly of Polish, partly of Huguenot descent. In 1905, Hikmet Bey was obliged to resign from his post at the foreign service. For a period the family lived in Aleppo, where Hikmet Bey invested his money in a unsucessful project. After returning to Istanbul started a new business, and went bankrupt. In 1909 he was appointed translator in the press department of the Foreign Ministry. He then worked as managing director of a publishing firm and the manager of a cinema. Hikmet Bey died in 1932.
While still at school, Hikmet began writing poems. He studied briefly at the French-language Galatasary Lycée in Istanbul and attended the Naval War School, but dropped out in 1920n because of ill health. Soon after, he wrote a lampoon about the British and became involved with his friends in gun smuggling to Mustafa Kemal. During the war of independence, Hikmet went to Anatolia to join Atatürk and then worked as a teacher at a school in Bolu. He studied sociology and economics at the University of Moscow (1921-28) and joined in the 1920s the Turkish Communist Party. In Turkey he was sentenced in prison in absentia. While in the Soviet Union, Hikmet had a short-lived marriage to Nüzhet Nazim, a student, and then he lived together with Ludmilla Yurchenko in a second-floor flat in Tverskaya Boulevard. Ludmilla was a dentist, Hikmet referred to her as Dr. Lena.
After returning to Turkey in 1928 without a visa Hikmet continued to contribute to newspapers and periodicals and write plays. At the Ipek Film Studios he wrote scripts under the name Mümtaz Osman and directed films. Because of his unauthorized re-entry, he was sentenced to a prison term but pardoned in 1935 in a general amnesty. In his cell he he wrote a long poem, 'Giaconda and Si-Ya-U', about Leonardo's famous Mona Lisa, the Giaconda of the title, who fells in love with a young Chinese man visiting the Louvre museum in Paris. Miraculously, she escapes from the wall of the museum, and joins revolutionaries. At the end she dies in flames. "And so it was that in Shanghai, on this day of death / The Florentine Gioconda lost / A smile more famous than Florentine."
In 1935 Hikmet married Piraye Altinogly, a woman with striking red hair, whose father was editor of the newspaper Tercuman-i Ahval. With Piraye he had two children; she had also two children from her first husband, Vedat Örfi Bengü, who had moved to Paris. Some of his best poems Hikmet wrote to her.
Hikmet was condemned in 1938 to prison for 28 years and four months for anti-Nazi and anti-Franco activities. According to the Military Court, he had provoked naval soldiers to rebellion. Hikmet spent the following 12 years in different prisons, unable to publish his work. During this period he fell in love with Münevver Andac, the daughter of his uncle. In the poem 'Some Advice to Those Who Will Serve Time in Prison' (1949).
Hikmet is one of the most important figures in 20th century Turkish literature and one of the first Turkish poets to use more or less free verse. Hikmet's works were widely translated both in the Communist East and the West during his lifetime. However, in his home country Hikmet remained a controversial figure due to his social criticism and commitment to Marxism. Spending some 17 years in prisons, Hikmet once called poetry "the bloodiest of the arts."
"I mean you must take living so seriously
that even at seventy, for example, you will plant olives –
and not so they'll be left for your children either,
but because even though you fear death you don't believe it,
because living, I mean, weighs heavier."
(in 'On Living', 1948)
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