Orhan wins!


No, not Orhan of Archinect fame... Orhan Pamuk wins this year's Nobel Prize in literature. Coincidentially, there's a short essay about his work in the recent OASE (Dutch magazine of architecture theory), focused on his sense of spatiality and highly nostalgic urban descriptions. Is anybody here more familiar with his books?

Oct 12, 06 11:46 am
el jeffe

i'd bet they're the same guy, right orhan?

Oct 12, 06 11:47 am
liberty bell

Orhan deserves a Nobel Prize, two actually: one for litereature and one for all-around wonderfullness.

Oct 12, 06 11:54 am

litereeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaature indeed.

Oct 12, 06 11:56 am
pist intern

i've read snow and istanbul, both excellent. he went to architecture school for a little bit but dropped out. used to paint too.

Oct 12, 06 12:16 pm

win orhan win.
he is a great writer. i feel privileged to be able to read his work in turkish, which is very capturing. he has a special talent and is a deserving winner of the prize.
his views are controversial in turkey and he is not liked by the nationalists.
writing and poetry has always the mainstream of fine arts in turkey since islam has certain restrictions on visual arts and graphic depictions of animal figures.

Oct 12, 06 1:13 pm
brian buchalski

i'm still lobbying the norwegian storting to get abracabra a nomination for the peace prize on account of his wonderful gift to humanity otherwise know as the "dear abra" thread

hang in there kids, these things do take some time

Oct 12, 06 3:08 pm

pbs newshour conversation thursday night October 12th

Oct 13, 06 2:15 am

Picked up "Snow" and "Istanbul" yesterday, from a stack of Pamuk books at the well-prepared local bookstore. "Istanbul" seems very intriguing from an architectural viewpoint. Thanks for the recommendations!

Oct 15, 06 7:33 am

nobody listens when I mention him in the book threads, and now he wins a measly nobel prize and everyone's interested. hrumph.

all kidding aside, he's a great writer. probably the only one I've read who can be that clever without appearing smarmy. (vollman maybe, sometimes)

I also wouldn't call his perspective nostalgic. I think there's a subtle bluntness to alot of his work that gets beyond simple nostalgia.

I would suggest reading his recent works in order. start with my name is red, then snow, then istanbul

the black book, the white castle, and the new life are also quite good, if less mesmerizing than the new stuff.

I guess now I probably shouldn't have jotted notes in my first english edition of My Name is Red.

Oct 15, 06 1:57 pm

first paragraph of the opening chapter in 'my name is red'. (my unqualified translation)


Now I am dead, a corpse, at the bottom of a well. It has been a while since my last breath, my heart has stopped long ago, but nobody knows what i've been through except my murderer. And he, despicable one, to make sure he killed me, checked my breathing, my pulse and kicked me on the stomach, carried me to the well, lift me up and let me fall to the bottom. My skull, which was broken by a rock, while going down, broke into pieces, my face, forehead, cheeks are gone, my bones are broken, my mouth is filled with blood.

Oct 15, 06 2:51 pm

interesting to see the differences with the english edition (though I should say that some have taken issue with some parts of this translation):


I am nothing but a corpse now, a body at the bottom of a well. Though I drew my last breath long ago and my heart has stopped beating, no one, apart from that vile murderer, knows what's happened to me. As for that wretch, he felt for my pulse and listened for my breath to be sure I was dead, then kicked me in the midrifff, carried me to the edge of the well, raised me up and dropped me below. As I fell, me head, which he'd smashed with a stone, broke apart; my face, my forehead, and cheeks, were crushed; my bones shattered, and my mouth filled with blood.

Oct 15, 06 3:25 pm

hmmm. i am kind of close and i like mine it is really interesting now for me.
i wanted to save corpse to the first sentence and double up on dead.
i like stomach instead of midriff. i could incorporate, at the last sentence, their smashed, crushed and shattered instead of triple broken, even though triple or sometimes quadruple repeats are common in turkish. Pamuk himself doubles broken on that sentence.

i also like to change "carried me to the well" with" dragged me to the well".
but it is really a higher up calligrapher from the sultan's court speaking. an educated artist.

anyway, my 5 minute translation, i think, i captured it pretty well too. without ever reading the english translation.

his writing at this point, is so interesting in which he achieves the historical tone and proper-ishness of ottoman turkish (which is fashionable these days after long decades of absense) while making it easy to translate to other languages specially english.
i also like of his writing for; his ability and ease of making a dog, a tree, a stone talk, making his descriptions of events endless with switches like that allowing him to work the story on all directions.

he constructs like an architect.

Oct 15, 06 4:05 pm

i like yours, too, orhan. translating is always fascinating to me, so it's cool to see two translations side by side and compare the different tones/attitudes they suggest.

but yours, orhan, seems less formal - more appropriately idiomatic for an american audience. gives a conversational casual feeling. maybe the translator that manamana was quoting from was writing for a british/european audience?

Oct 15, 06 9:40 pm

ya. thanks for the side-by-side, manamana...

it's interesting that 'repeats' are common in turkish...aren't we (in american academia) expected to flaunt as much vocab is possible while expressing an idea, whether or not a repeated word is most suitable? guess it depends...

...who the hell says "midriff?" maybe a resource officer at a private high school: "excuse me young lady, but your exposed midriff is in direct violation of school dress code!"

Oct 15, 06 10:42 pm
liberty bell

Very good analogy re: "midriff", AP. And yes Steven I wonder if it was translated for a Britishaudience?

I also prefer Orhans' as it feels more stark and removed, thus more painful, if that makes sense.

Oct 15, 06 11:18 pm

re: midriff - when I first read it, I assumed it had something to do with the story being set in the time of the ottoman empire. "midriff" sounds like an "older" writing to me - the whole book has that kind of feel. The translator may have been trying to create a parallel to the older ottoman tone of writing that abra mentioned.

I was quoting from the first american printing of the translation by Erdag M. Goknar. I can't find much, but with snow, it was first translated by a british publisher (FF)and then sold to an american one.

I studied MNIR in school, under a turkish/german professor who was familar with the original turkish writing. she was always careful to point out the areas where she thought the translation lacked, and I remember reading an article by maureen freely, who's translated most of his other works, and she blasted the MNIR translation, particularly a key part at the end. I would link it, but I can't seem to find it right now. however in my googling I discovered that Goknar only lives a few miles from me, so I suppose I could go ask him.

Oct 16, 06 1:30 am

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