The Resurrection of Nasreddin Hodja: An Unpublished Play by Baha Tevfik and Ahmet Nebil NASREDDİN HOCANIN DİRİLİŞİ: BAHA TEVFİK İLE AHMET NEBİL’İN YAYIMLANMAMIŞ BİR OYUNU

Eskin Ş.

Milli Folklor, vol.2022, no.136, pp.154-167, 2022 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 2022 Issue: 136
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.58242/millifolklor.978840
  • Journal Name: Milli Folklor
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.154-167
  • Keywords: Ahmet Nebil, Baha Tevfik, Nasreddin Hodja, revue, Sahne-i Milliye-i Osmaniye
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


© 2022, Milli Folklor Dergisi. All rights reserved.Baha Tevfik, who is one of the remarkable figures in the Turkish intellectual and literary history of the modernization era, produced many works during his short lifetime. The studies done about his works until today show that he has a few prose poetries and stories. However, his play named Nasreddin Hodja which was co-written by Ahmet Nebil has not been noticed in the research field because of not being published, being banned by the Ottoman government after a short period of performing and being forbidden to be staged. With a few exceptions, there is not any record about that play in sources but I have discovered and examined a manuscript of this play in some files in the Ottoman State Archives (BOA). In this article, firstly the conditions serving the formation of Nasreddin Hodja will be discussed in a biographical and historical criticism perspective. Then, due to being unpublished work up to the present and since it will be handled for the first time here, the content of the play and its historical references will be analyzed in a detailed way. Afterwards, following the specification of the play according to the genre, it will be evaluated in terms of history of the theatre, modern literature and folklore relations. Nasredddin Hodja reveals some important evidences not only for folklore and literature studies but also for political history. Most particularly, there are many traces regard-ing Baha Tevfik’s disputable political identity and the real features of his relations with the Ottoman Socialist Party (Osmanlı Sosyalist Fırkası). The content of the play generally reflects the political, social and literary criticism in the period, in addition to the Baha Tevfik’s some polemics during that era. In Nasreddin Hodja, Baha Tevfik and Ahmet Nebil satirized Ottoman state officials such as Grand Vizier İbrahim Hakkı Pasha, Minister of Education Emrullah Efendi and Istanbul Municipality administrators. Furthermore, they criticized Ottoman foreign policy in the context of the Potsdam Conference (1910). The play was therefore banned by the Court Martial (Divan-ı Harb-i Örfî). The foremost characteristics of the revue, which has been fictional-ized around Nasreddin Hodja and his jokes and anecdotes, for the folklore studies is that it is one of the earli-est examples of updating and universalizing folkloric work attempts in the modern era. Nasreddin Hodja’s discourse is the main basis of comic in the play. The comic has been accomplished sometimes through refer-encing his jokes or occasionally by means of comments which can be appropriate with Hodja’s humor. This preference is doubtlessly related with the vividness, strength, attraction of Nasreddin Hodja’s image in the society. If we look from the viewpoint of history of theatre, being one of the first examples of the revue performed in Turkish and on Istanbul stages makes this play an outstanding work as well. Besides, Nasreddin Hodja depicts scenes from everyday life in 1910s İstanbul, and in this respect, it can be considered as an interesting source of social history.