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Conservative Turkish gothic: religious discourse vs. the monstrous-feminine

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paper

Publication date20/07/2017
<mark>Original language</mark>English
Event13th Biennial Conference of the International Gothic Association : Gothic Traditions and Departures - Universidad de las Americas Puebla, Cholula, Mexico
Duration: 18/07/201721/07/2017
Conference number: 13th


Conference13th Biennial Conference of the International Gothic Association
Internet address


The transformation of an Islamic empire to a modern nation-state marked the 1920s in Turkey. Originated in these early years of nation-building, the Gothic had a particular relationship with Turkish national identity of the time. The traumas of the Turkish War of Independence, and the anxieties resulted from the tension between the supporters of traditional values and those of modernisation process have constituted the main concerns of Turkish Gothic writing in the 1920s. In the early years of the twenty-first century, as a consequence of developments in political and social life in Turkey and with the purpose of utilising traditional fears, Turkish Gothic took an eager interest in Islamic mythology and folklore, more specifically, in the supernatural creatures mentioned in the Quran. While most of these Gothic narratives have become immensely popular in Turkish cinema with a record of seventeen films in 2015, the roots of this sub-genre were planted in literature. Having similar traits with the populist Islamic novels of the 1980s and 1990s, conservative Gothic novels centre around women who become possessed or haunted by ‘djinns’ due to their lack of belief in religion or the immoral way of life they lead and pious male characters who rescue them with the help of the Quran after series of adventures. Drawing on Gothic criticism and gender theories, this paper focuses on Orhan Yıldırım’s debut novel Ecinni (2003) as the earliest example of the trend.