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The Time Regulation Institute (Penguin Translated Texts) [Paperback]

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar , Alexander Dawe , Maureen Freely

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Book Description

3 April 2014 Penguin Translated Texts

One of the greatest and most overlooked novels of the twentieth century, by an author championed by Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, The Time Regulation Institute appears here in English for the first time-more than fifty years after its original publication in Turkish.

This is the story of the misadventures of Hayri Irdals, an unforgettable antihero who, along with an eccentric cast of characters (a television mystic, a pharmacist who dabbles in alchemy, a dignitary from the lost Ottoman empire, the "life-artist" Halit), founds The Time Regulation Institute. The institute's quixotic quest: to make sure all the clocks in Turkey are set to Western time. Thus begins a brilliant satire about the calamitous arrival of Western and corporate values in tradition-bound Turkey.

An uproarious tragicomedy that is still startlingly relevant, The Time Regulation Institute illuminates the collision of East and West, tradition and modernity, that has been playing out in Turkey since the early twentieth century.

AHMET HAMDI TANPINAR (1901-1962) was a poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, literary historian, and professor. He is considered one of the most significant Turkish novelists of the 20th century. Deeply influenced by Valéry and Bergson, he created a unique cultural universe in his work, bringing together a European literary voice and the sensibilities of the East.

MAUREEN FREELY (translator) is the principal translator of Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist. She lives in England.

ALEXANDER DAWE (translator) is an American translator of French and Turkish. He lives in Istanbul.

PANKAJ MISHRA (introducer) is an award-winning novelist and essayist whose writing appears frequently in the New York Review of Books, The Guardian, and the London Review of Books. He lives in London and India.


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Review

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar is undoubtedly the most remarkable author in modern Turkish literature. With The Time Regulation Institute, this great writer has created an allegorical masterpiece, which makes Turkey's attempts to westernize and its delayed modernity understandable in all its human ramifications (Orhan Pamuk, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature)

About the Author

Ahmed Hamdi Tanpinar was a beloved Turkish novelist and essayist and a member of Turkish parliament. Born in Istanbul in 1901, Tanpinar came to be educated in several Turkish cities and and travelled widely throughout Europe. The Time Regulation Institute is his most celebrated novel, followed by A Mind at Peace. He thrived at writing about cultural duality and and the divided self.

MAUREEN FREELY (translator) is the principal translator of Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist. She lives in England.

ALEXANDER DAWE (translator) is an American translator of French and Turkish. He lives in Istanbul.

PANKAJ MISHRA (introducer) is an award-winning novelist and essayist whose writing appears frequently in the New York Review of Books, The Guardian, and the London Review of Books. He lives in London and India.


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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Speaks of the heart and soul of a nation 6 July 2002
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Time Regulation Institute by Ahmet Hamdi Tapinar offers the reader a truly fascinating and engaging narrative set in post-Ottoman Turkey. Ably translated into English by Ender Gurol, The Time Regulation Institute deals with the juxtaposition of opposites: wealthy aristocrats and family people working as hard as they can to scrape by, the old way of life against the influx of modern Western culture, and parallels between the days of the yore and the young Republic. At times absurd, yet always engaging, The Time Regulation Institute is a picturesque and recommended read that speaks of the heart and soul of a nation.
22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Job 19 Nov 2002
By K D - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar is the greatest and most trustworthy critic of the early stages of modern Turkish literature. There is absolutely no question about the fact that every book/idea that Tanpinar came up with had the most profound influence on the people (poets/authors/intellectuals etc)who came after him. The 'Time Regulation Institute' (Saatleri Ayarlama Enstitüsü)is, most certainly, one of his greatest masterpieces. Many thanks to the publisher and the translator. Excellent job!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Limiting My Recommendation 27 April 2014
By Literary R&R - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Kathy's Review:

Hayri is just an ordinary guy - no special talents, and not blessed with wealth. Yet he falls into a variety of strange circumstances. It seems like he is swept along by life, rather than an active participant. I think the heart of this book examines this concept – how much of our lives are shaped by our actions, vs. the actions of others which affect us? Hayri falls into the Time Regulation Institute (which really only makes its first appearance in the second half of the book) because of who he knows and through a series of misconstrued stories about him others have exaggerated on his behalf.

For me, this book was a little bit hard to follow because I am not familiar at all with Turkish culture and the titles they give one another. The title “Bey” follows many of the men’s names and seems to be a title of respect. But that made it hard to keep up with who was who. I found many of the events within the book to be amusing, but I also didn’t really understand a lot of what was going on.

For that reason, I’m going to limit my recommendation to people who might have an interest in history, or desire to know more about Turkish culture and literature or who enjoy literary fiction and are looking for something different.

*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is A Wonderful Book! 8 Mar 2014
By Rick Blackwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I think if Dickens had been reborn in Turkey, he might have written The Time Regulation Institute. The setting is Turkey prior to and during the period when modern Turkey emerged from the wreckage of the Ottoman empire. The narrative is picaresque, with more memorable characters than you can count.The narrator is a slippery though likable chameleon just trying to negotiate the terrain. And like Dickens, Tanpinar is dissecting an important social revolution - the development of the modern organization and the impact on the middle class.

After an extended account of his growing up in pre-Ataturk Istanbul (which seems like a comfortable, chaotic, kind of fusty place), Hayri Irdal meets the rich and charismatic Halit Ayarci, who decides to build an enterprise based around the regulation of time-pieces. We follow the trajectory of this improbable idea through its initial wild success to its ultimate and abrupt disintegration. On the way we observe the visionary Ayarci as he creates the enterprise pretty much out of thin air and good political instincts.

Anyone who has worked in a large high-tech company or in the public sector will recognize the characters and the organizational imperatives driving what is essentially a biting satire of modern management. And anyone who has been anywhere near marketing will appreciate the narrator's ambivalence about his success as he helps define and build the Institute without really understanding or even believing in the mission.

A warning - the book is long and moves slowly at first. But stay with it - it will draw you in. I read the very useful introduction by Pankaj Mishra after I finished the book, and I recommend that you do also. In discovering what Tanpinar is up to you on your own, you can enjoy the ride, and understand it later.
3.0 out of 5 stars Turkish political satire 16 July 2014
By CeceliaBird - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Some hilarious scenes and beautiful writing, but difficult to read. The political satire is particular to a culture and time and even though there is an informative introduction, it was not enough. I really wanted to like this book but got bogged down before the halfway point. Recommend this book to those with deep understanding of 19th and 20th centuryTurkish history.
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