Fâkihe Odman

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FAKIHE ODMAN She was born in Bursa, in 1908. She graduated from Bursa Mal Hatun Rustiyesi (Ottomoan junior high school) and American College. She graduated from Istanbul Erenkoy High School in 1930 and the Department of Turkish Language and Literature, Faculty of Literature, Istanbul University in 1935. She worked as a literature teacher in Kayseri High School and Konya Girls’ Teachers’ Training High School. She started her writing career with poems. Later on she started to work on her romance novels.

She is one of the women writers who published their works in the first fifty years of Republic. Her engrossing novels are also deeply connected with the politics of the day. She mostly uses a didactic language. Love and Respect (1935) is her first published novel which tells the love story between a Darulfunun (Ottoman university) literature student Sevgi (meaning love) and a law student Saygı (meaning respect). The plot continues as they misunderstand each other and are engaged to other people, since they think that their love is an unrequited one. The story ends when they realize their love for one another. The nationalistic feeling among the heroes of the novel is highly noticeable. Mehmed Fuad Koprulu’s texts are referenced repeatedly through the novel. Especially Koprulu’s The History of Turkish Literature is often quoted by the heroine, Sevgi.

Nationalism of the book reaches its peak when Sevgi becomes friends with a German exchange student, Riter. Parts when Sevgi and Riter discuss the history of Turks are often repeated. As the story continues, Riter admires Turks more and more. Yet, regardless of their close friendship, Sevgi warns her Turkish friend when she decides get engaged to Riter. In this scene, Sevgi indicates that Riter being a German makes him an unsuitable choice of husband.

The story adopts its didactic style especially towards young girls. The writer warns young girls about how to behave in the matters of marriage through the stories of Sevgi, Nese, Duygu, Ayse, Yıldız and Gulen. For instance, Gulen who is engaged to a rich doctor because of his wealth realizes her mistake in the end and she gets engaged to another doctor whom she is in love with.

It is also possible to find similarities between her novel and her life. While the heroes and the heroines of the book often praise Bursa, where Fakihe Odman was born, the main heroine Sevgi graduates from Erenkoy High School and the Faulty of Literature, like Fakihe Odman herself.

After Love and Respect, Odman published Leyla and Suheyla in 1947, Him and Me in 1952, Flower and Sun in 1953. According to Encyclopaedia of Writers from Tanzimat to Today, many of her novels and poems are still waiting to be published.

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