Halide Edip Adıvar: Wikis


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Halide Edip Adıvar

Born 1884
Died 9 January 1964
Occupation Novelist
Nationality Turkish
Citizenship Turkey
Education American College for Girls
Genres feminist
Notable award(s) Şefkat Nişanı
Spouse(s) Salih Zeki Bey, Adnan Adıvar
Early photo of Halide Edip

Halide Edip Adıvar (Ottoman Turkish: خالده اديب اديوار, pronounced [hɑːliˈdɛ ɛˈdip ɑdɯˈvɑr]) (1884– 9 January 1964) was a Turkish novelist and feminist political leader. She was best known for her novels criticizing the low social status of Turkish women and what she saw as the disinterest of most women in changing their situation.


Early life

Halide Edip was born in Constantinople.[1] Her father was a secretary of the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II. She and her father were Donmeh; her mother was Muslim.[citation needed] Edip was educated at home by private tutors from whom she learned European and Ottoman literature, religion, philosophy, sociology, piano, English, French, and Arabic. She learned Greek from her neighbors and from briefly attending a Greek school in Constantinople. She attended the American College for Girls[2] briefly in 1893. In 1897, she translated Mother by Jacob Abbott, for which the sultan awarded her the Order of Charity (Nishan-i-Shafakat; Şefkat Nişanı). She attended the American College again from 1899 to 1901, when she graduated. Her father's house was a center of intellectual activity in Constantinople and even as a child Halide Edip participated in the intellectual life of the city.[3]

After graduating, she married the mathematician and astronomer Salih Zeki Bey, with whom she had two sons. She continued her intellectual activities, however, and in 1908 began writing articles on education and on the status of women for Tevfik Fikret's newspaper Tanin. She published her first novel, Seviye Talip, in 1909. Because of her articles on education, the education ministry hired her to reform girls' schools in Constantinople. She worked with Nakiye Hanım on curriculum and pedagogy changes and also taught pedagogy, ethics, and history in various schools. She resigned over a disagreement with ministry concerning mosque schools.[4]

She received a divorce from Salih Zeki in 1910. Her house became an intellectual salon, especially for those interested in new concepts of Turkishness. She became involved with the Turkish Hearth (Türk Ocağı) in 1911 and became the first female member in 1912. She was also a founder of the Elevation of Women (Taali-i Nisvan) organization.[5]

During World War I

She married again in 1917 to Dr. Adnan (later Adıvar) and the next year took a job as a lecturer in literature at Istanbul's Faculty of Letters. It was during this time that she became increasingly active in Turkey's nationalist movement.

In 1916-1917, Halide Edip acted as Ottoman inspector for schools in Damascus, Beirut, and Mount Lebanon. The students at these schools included hundreds of Armenian, Arab, Kurdish, and Turkish orphans.[6] According to a teacher who worked briefly under her, Halide Edip "was at the head of an orphanage of 1,000 children in the mountains. These were mostly Armenian children. She said, 'Their names are changed (to Moslem names) but they are children; they don't know what religion means. Now, they must be fed and clothed and kept safe.' She didn't say what would be afterwards."[7] According to Halide Edip, these children were given Muslim names under orders from Cemal Pasha. She records a 1916 conversation thus:

I said: "... Why do you allow Armenian children to be called by Moslem names? It looks like turning the Armenians into Moslems, and history some day will revenge it on the coming generation of Turks."

"You are an idealist," [Cemal Pasha] answered gravely, "... Do you believe that by turning a few hundred Armenian boys and girls Moslem I think I benefit my race? You have seen the Armenian orphanages in Damascus run by Armenians. There is no room in those; there is no money to open another Armenian orphanage. This is a Moslem orphanage, and only Moslem orphans are allowed. ... When I hear of wandering and starving children, I sent them to Aintoura. I have to keep them alive. I do not care how. I cannot bear to see them die in the streets."

"Afterward?" I asked.

"Do you mean after the war?" he asked. "After the war they will go back to their people. I hope none is too small to realize his race."

"I will never have anything to do with such an orphanage."

He shook his head. "You will," he said; "if you see them in misery and suffering, you will go to them and not think for a moment about their names and religion. ..."[8]

Halide Edip's account of her inspectorship emphasizes her humanitarian efforts and her struggles to come to terms with the violence of the situation. The account of one acquaintance, however, accuses her of "calmly planning with [Cemal Pasha] forms of human tortures for Armenian mothers and young women" and taking on "the task of making Turks of their orphaned children."[9] A U.S. High Commissioner refers to her as a "chauvinist" and someone who is "trying to rehabilitate Turkey."[10]

During the War of Independence

Halide Edip in 1922

After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, British troops occupied Constantinople and allies occupied various parts of the empire. Mustafa Kemal (later Atatürk) began organizing resistance to the occupation. Halide Edip gained a reputation in Constantinople as a "firebrand and a dangerous agitator."[11] The British tried to exile her and several other leaders to Malta in March 1920.

After the end of World War I she and her husband traveled to Anatolia to fight in the War of Independence; she served first as a corporal and then as a sergeant in the nationalist military.

In 1926, Halide Edip and many associates were unjustly accused of treason. She and her husband escaped to Europe.[12] They lived in the French Third Republic and the United Kingdom from 1926 to 1939. Halide Edip traveled widely, teaching and lecturing repeatedly in the United States and in British Raj India. After returning to Turkey in 1939, she became a professor in English literature at the Faculty of Letters in Istanbul. In 1950, she was elected to Parliament, resigning in 1954; this was the only formal political position she ever held.


Common themes in Halide Edip's novels were strong, independent female characters who succeeded in reaching their goals against strong opposition. She was also a strong Turkish nationalist, and several stories highlighted the central role of women in the fight for Turkish Independence.


Major works

  • Seviye Talip (1909).
  • Mevut Hükümler (1918).
  • Son Eseri (1919).
  • Ateşten Gömlek (1922; translated into English as The Daughter of Smyrna or The Shirt of Flame).
  • Çıkan Kuri (1922).
  • Kalb Ağrısı (1924). <
  • Vurun Kahpeye (1926).
  • The Memoirs of Halide Edib (1926; memoir, published in English).
  • The Turkish Ordeal (1928; memoir, published in English).
  • Zeyno'nun Oğlu (1928).
  • The Clown and His Daughter (first published in English in 1935 and in Turkish as Sinekli Bakkal in 1936).
  • Türkün Ateşle İmtihanı (memoir, published in 1962; translated into English as House with Wisteria).

As a character in literature and film

  • The novel Halide's Gift by Frances Kazan (2001) is a coming-of-age story about Halide Edip's youth and maturation.
  • Halide Edip appears as a character in several films and television shows including Kurtuluş,[13] Cumhuriyet,[14] and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.[15]
  • Several of Halide Edip's novels have also been adapted for film and television.[16]
  • Halide Edip is the subject of The Greedy Heart of Halide Edib, a documentary film for school children.[17]

See also


  • Adıvar, Halide Edip. (1926) Memoirs of Halidé Edib. John Murray.
  • Davis, Fanny. (1986) The Ottoman Lady: A Social History from 1718 to 1918.
  • Erol, Sibel. (2009) Introduction to House with Wisteria: Memoirs of Turkey Old and New by Halide Edip Adıvar. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 9781412810029.
  • Fisher, Harriet Julia. (1917) "Adana. Inquiry Document 813." In James L. Barton, Turkish Atrocities: Statements of American Missionaries on the Destruction of Christian Communities in Ottoman Turkey, 1915-1917. Gomidas Institute, Ann Arbor. 1998. ISBN 1-884630-04-9. (Online version: http://www.gomidas.org/gida/index_and_%20documents/RG256.htm/docs/RG256%20813.pdf)
  • Hovannisian, Richard G. (1999) Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 9780814327777.
  • Kévorkian, Raymond. (2006) Le Génocide des Arméniens. Odile Jacob, Paris. ISBN 2-7381-1830-5.
  • Marcosson, Isaac Frederick. (1938) Turbulent Years. Ayer Publishing.
  • Mitler, Louis. (1997) Contemporary Turkish Writers.
  • Sonmez, Emel. (1973) "The Novelist Halide Edib Adivar and Turkish Feminism." Die Welt des Islams, New Ser. Vol. 14, Issue 1/4: 81-115.
  • "Turk Nationalists Organize to Resist." (1920, March 20) New York Times, page 5. (Online version: http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9B05EFDE173AEE32A25753C2A9659C946195D6CF)
  • Üsküdar American Academy. About Halide Edip Adıvar. http://www.uaa.k12.tr/ViewPage/D8F8C5A6-A095-4BD5-A583-06396995F1AB.aspx Retrieved 20 September 2009.
  • Yeghenian, Aghavnie. (1922, September 17) "The Turkish Jeanne d'Arc: An Armenian Picture of Remarkable Halide Edib Hanoum" (letter to editor). New York Times, page 97. (Online version: http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9B05E6DD1139EF3ABC4F52DFBF668389639EDE)


  1. ^ Finkel, Caroline, Osman's Dream, (Basic Books, 2005), 57; "Istanbul was only adopted as the city's official name in 1930..".
  2. ^ Üsküdar American Academy.
  3. ^ Erol, pages vii-viii.
  4. ^ Erol, page viii.
  5. ^ Erol, page ix.
  6. ^ Adıvar, pages 431-471.
  7. ^ Fisher, http://www.gomidas.org/gida/index_and_%20documents/RG256.htm/docs/RG256%20813.pdf
  8. ^ Adıvar, pages 428-429.
  9. ^ Yeghenian.
  10. ^ Mark Lambert Bristol, undated confidential report, cited in Hovannisian, page 122; page 141, note 29.
  11. ^ "Turk Nationalists."
  12. ^ Marcosson, pages 174-175.
  13. ^ Internet Movie Database. Kurtulus. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0388189/ Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  14. ^ Internet Movie Database. Cumhuriyet. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0432807/ Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  15. ^ Internet Movie Database.The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103586/epcast#year-1993 Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  16. ^ Internet Movie Database. Halide Edip Adivar. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0012022/ Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  17. ^ Indy in the Classroom: Documentaries: Masks of Evil. http://www.indyintheclassroom.com/lessons/young_indy/masks_evil_docs.asp#edib Retrieved 5 September 2009.

External links


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