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Romantic Communist: The Life and Work of Nazim Hikmet [Paperback]

Saime Goksu , Edward Timms
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: £12.95
Price: £12.47 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

20 Sep 2006
Probably the best-known Turkish poet of the twentieth century, Nazim Hikmet spent much of his life in prison or in exile because his Marxist beliefs. Now reissued with corrections and revisions, this was the first full-length biography of him to appear in any language."

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Product details

  • Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd (20 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1850658277
  • ISBN-13: 978-1850658276
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.6 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,146,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'The first full biography of Hikmet and a work of impeccable research.' --Charles King, Times Literary Supplement 'Goksu and Timms present the historical backround in detail. ... 'Nazim has ceased to be a cult figure of the communist world and become a poet of universal significance,' the authors say. This lucid, intelligent and formidably well-researched book is compelling evidence that this is indeed the case.' --David Barchard, Cornucopia 'Goksu and Timms present a wealth of documentation so objectively as to allow the reader to draw his own conclusions. ... Romantic Communist will allow contemporary students to access the contribution of Nazim Hikmet to world literature as well as Turkish literature, and to discover a figure whose importance for postcolonial studies has yet to be fully realized.' --Clare Brandabur, Edebiyat: The Journal of Middle Eastern Literatures 'An important study of a poet, playwright and prose writer whose life, ideas and work fuse into a fascinating national and international epic. ... This biography is also a salutary human rights document, dealing as it does with freedom of speech.'--Richard McKane, Journal of Turkish Literature 'This biography is thoroughly researched and elegantly written. It shows the reader a great poet at work and demonstrates how beneath the steely facade there also beat a vulnerable heart.'--Belma Otus-Baskett, Turkish Area Study Group News

About the Author

SAIME GOKSU grew up in Turkey at a time when Nazim was in prison and his poems were banned, and was exposed to his poetry at an early age. Her husband and co-author EDWARD TIMMS, who is Research Professor in History at the University of Sussex, has published a wide range of books on culture and politics.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
According to the introduction this is the first biography of Nazim Hikmet in any language, which is surprising given how interesting his life was. Born in Salonica (now in Greece) to a wealthy Ottoman family which alas was about to go into financial decline, Hikmet grew up to be a fierce Communist and passionate poet; indeed he was one of the great poets of the Twentieth Century, even if sadly he's not as well known as he ought to be in the English-speaking world.

Hikmet spent much of his life in prison and much of it in exile in Russia: on the first occasion during the early idealistic years of Lenin and then later on during the darker times of Stalin. How did he reconcile his commitment to Communism with the realities of Soviet history? The authors discuss this yet somehow never really answer the question. I'd go so far as to say they avoid answering the question, taking refuge in vague comments and affirmations of Hikmet's idealism.

The other defining feature of Hikmet's life was the series of overlapping intense relationships with women who in effect became his muses. I say overlapping: what typically happened is that he would become separated from each woman (geographically, often by hundreds of miles) but continue to remain emotionally attached even as he embarked on the next relationship. His is a poetry of separation as much as of revolution. Again, somehow his biographers never really get to the heart of what this pattern of behaviour meant: where it came from, what it said about Hikmet.

Over and over again topics of interest are opened up only to be talked around or prematurely abandoned. An example: we are told that Hikmet's meeting with his Polish relatives (his ancestors included a German too) was particularly important. And that's it.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and informative 25 Feb 2012
By W. Holt - Published on Amazon.com
It's been a few years since I read this book, but I remember it being very readable and very informative. Some of his poetry are nicely stitched in the text and you get a real picture of the person, rather than some hagiography. I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to learn about modern Turkish history and it's most beloved poet.
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