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Journal of American Folklore 126(502):480–483 Copyright © 2013 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois Book Reviews Híkâye: Turkish Folk Romance as Performance Art. By İlhan Başgöz. Special Publications of the Folklore Institute. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008. Pp. 330, 11 black-and-white photos, 7 figures.) Suheyla Saritas Balıkesir University-Turkey İlhan Başgöz began his career as a folklorist when he was a student of Pertev Naili Boratav (1907–98), a founding father of Turkish folkloristics during the Republican era. Başgöz was a student of Boratav when he established the first Department of Folk Literature in Turkey in 1946. Başgöz is Professor Emeritus of Folklore and Central Eurasian Studies and the founder of the Turkish Studies Program at Indiana University. He remains one of the most important researchers on Turkish folklore . İlhan Başgöz has written several books about Turkish folklore, including Turkish Folk­ lore and Oral Literature (Indiana University Press, 1998), in which he combines theoretical analysis with powerful fieldwork but also shows how important trends in scholarship may originate outside a formal academic setting . In 1998, he produced another book with his mentor, Pertev Naili Boratav, called I, Hoca Nasreddin, Never Shall I Die: A Thematic Anal­ ysis of Hoca Stories (Indiana University Turkish Studies Series). Bilmece: A Corpus of Turk­ ish Riddles (University of California Press, 1973) and his many other works are important in the history of oral Turkish folklore studies. His handsome work, Híkâye: Turkish Folk Ro­ mance as Performance Art, is a welcome addition to the study of Turkish folklore and oral literature in general. Başgöz investigates Turkish folk romance tradition and describes the singers who perform the tales, the performance venues, interactions between singers and audiences, and the romance texts as artistic objects. In this volume, Başgöz introduces a form of romance narration called híkâye. This genre from eastern Turkey is a long oral narrative whose performance may last two to five consecutive evenings depending upon the time allotted for the performance, the place, the audience , and the mood of the performer. Blended with prose narration, the genre has endured since the seventeenth century until the present day, with its roots in ancient oral and written literature of the region. The genre is also interspersed with a song throughout the plot, which is characterized by a romantic, an aşık, the teller or the singer, who narrates the prose part along with playing a musical instrument called a saz, while singing a song. İlhan Başgöz’s work is divided into six chapters plus an appendix. Chapter 1 is an introduction that gives a general view about the Turkish folk romance tradition. It also includes the historical development of the romance tradition in some Middle East countries and Greece. In chapter 2, Başgöz talks about his trip to Kars, the northeastern Anatolian city at the border with Armenia in 1945. His fieldwork with his professor Pertev Boratav at the coffeehouses where the híkâye were narrated includes recordings of híkâyes in the region. In this chapter , Başgöz presents us with his major teller, Aşık Sabit Müdami, who was hired by a coffeehouse owner for a month to entertain people with híkâyes and songs narrating the story of Aşık Garip and Şah Senem, including his complete text of a híkâye performance. Chapter 3 analyzes the lives of the aşıks. He first describes the major biographical patterns that aşıks themselves use to organize their life history, and then he provides his own major analysis of these patterns. His interpretation discusses the life history patterns, family backgrounds , social origins, lifestyles, and education of the aşıks. It also includes the individual views of aşıks as they relate to important issues about their art. Başgöz analyzes the aşıks’ opinions and other issues pertinent to their lives, focusing, for example, on the village origin of the aşık, the social structure of Turkish villages, and factors that make a person become...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-1882
Print ISSN
0021-8715
Pages
pp. 480-481
Launched on MUSE
2013-10-31
Open Access
No
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