Turkish Men's Affair with Cars

in Mobility in History
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The title of this article comes from the famous Turkish novel Araba Sevdası (The carriage affair) by Recaizade Ekrem, an eminent nineteenth-century Turkish scholar. Jale Parla, professor of literature, describes the novel as a “parody of futile writing and reading activities, as futile as the rounds made by the fancy carriages of Westernized beaus in the fashionable Çamlıca.” She further explains that the car has inspired much fabulation in the Turkish novel, signifying possession, power, narcissism, and a feeling of inferiority inspired by contact with the West. Finally, Parla asserts that the car “might have provided the Turkish psyche with something it desperately needed through all stages of modernization from 1880 to 1990.”