Batman Universitesi Yasam Bilimleri Dergisi
Cilt 1, Sayı 1  Ocak-Haziran 2012  (ISSN: 2147-4877, E-ISSN: 2459-0614)
Ümran Türkyılmaz

NO Makale Adı
1356295372 Reflections of the Ottoman Culture on Aziyade of Pierre Loti

By means of a text-dependent elaboration method we aim to analyze in
this study the Ottoman culture, which was brought to the fore in the novel Aziyade of
Pierre Loti, a member of the French Academy, who discusses problems of his era and
tries to deliver an efficient way of thinking concerning these problems.
Loti is a romantic traveler, who came to visit Istanbul on a cultural purpose towards
the end of the 19th century. He fell in love with a Turkish lady; had a deep affection
for Ottoman culture and was always popular in the Istanbul of his time. The diary,
that he had been keeping since his childhood, led him to write exotic novels. Aziyade
in particular, is one of the best examples of the genre “letter novel”. In Aziyade, the
author explains in detail the story of a love, which goes incrementally deep into his
soul. In the central position of the book, the reader observes closely the Ottoman
culture, which constitutes the identity of the society and which makes the society
different. The novel is also equally important as a document, which contains the
cultural atmosphere of Istanbul in 1876-77. Aziyade, is for Loti, who is willing to
emphasize the manner of thinking and living in the East, right in the middle of the
East and completely within the awakening of the Islam. The joyful shelter that he
was seeking in the Bosphorus, his impressions concerning the Golden Horn and
Eyüp Sultan which were filled with bliss, his everlasting curiosity for the East and
for the Harem life in particular, the success of the Turks in tolerance towards people
who are not muslim, increase his devotion to the Ottoman culture. The fact that he
usually wore Turkish clothes and walked on the streets, that he smoked water pipe
in Turkish cafés, that he learned Turkish in order to improve the communication
with the local people, that he imparted information on Derwish schools, the beauty
of grave yards, dogs on streets, the Palace and the Harem, prohibition of alcoholic
drinks are all in the cultural background of the novel. The long reign period of the
Sultan Abdülhamit II is revealed by the author sometimes from the point of view of
a historian and sometimes of a sociologist. Loti traveled across from Morocco down
to Iran and always wanted to know more about foreign cultures. The more he looked
at the cultural background of Istanbul, which is thousands of years long and at the
city to which he was generally bound in a mystical sense, the more his passion for the
Ottoman culture increases.
Loti exhibits the concrete and abstract local cultural features, which were created by
the society in the historical process and were transmitted from one generation to the
other. In this study we try to elaborate on the signs of the culture of the “other”, which
give depth to the literature and identity to the society, by means of this particular
literary work, that is narrated through a subjective approach.