Aziz Nesin about himself and his parents: Poor people in Istanbul during the late Ottoman period
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CitationFaroqhi, S. (2021). Aziz Nesin about himself and his parents: Poor people in Istanbul during the late Ottoman period. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 53(2), 337-343.
A resolute modernist and socialist, Aziz Nesin (1915–95) was definitely an author of the republican period. Born Mehmet Nusret to poor parents, both migrants to Istanbul from the Black Sea coast, he adopted Nesin as his legal surname when surnames became obligatory in 1934. By the 1950s, his satirical short stories and plays had made him famous, but he faced political difficulties for much of his life; likely, it did not endear him to the authorities that he used his experiences with the police as inexhaustible material for his stories. In 1966, when in his early fifties, Aziz Nesin published Böyle Gelmiş Böyle Gitmez: Otobiyografi (That is the Way He has Come, But That is Not the Way He is Leaving: An Autobiography), the first volume of what was to become a three-volume series, which he called an autobiography.1 The first volume, which is the subject of this study, has remained the most popular; it focuses on Nesin’s childhood in Istanbul during the late 1910s and throughout the 1920s, with biographies of both his father and his mother embedded in the story.2 Nesin had begun the necessary research in the 1950s, including a trip to the Black Sea village where his mother had been born. He searched for documents as well, seemingly with limited success...