Throughout World War I the Entente Powers (France, Britain, Russia and later the USA) directed widespread efforts towards the generation of propaganda as a weapon of war, with devastating effect. However, in the underdeveloped and multi-ethnic Ottoman Empire, the Turkish intelligentsia could not produce adequate propaganda to support the war effort. As the war unfolded, writers abandoned their initial attempts at propaganda and turned instead to the task of defining a national identity. In this new reassessment of Turkish literature and propaganda in World War I, Erol Köroglu argues the Ottoman-Turkish intelligentsia used the conditions created by the war to eliminate the deficiencies in national culture and build a Turkish identity, a project inherited from the pre-war years.
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Erol Köroglu is currently visiting scholar at the ""Europe in Middle East, Middle East in Europe Program"", Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin.Review:
"'This is the first work to deal with the role of literature and propaganda in Turkey during World War I...The author charts the efforts of the Young Turk government and its German allies to build up a propaganda apparatus. He also shows how the literature of the war years (both poetry and prose) not only tried to bolster patriotism but also was instrumental in the building of a new, Turkish, nationhood. In his description, he shows how the different writers of the period represented different interpretations of the idea of a Turkish nation. The work is not only an important contribution to our understanding of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, it also adds a completely new chapter to the study of World War I literature. For the many readers interested in World War I literature, who are familiar with the writings of British, French, German and American writers, this will open up new vistas. Koroglu is a meticulous researcher, intimately familiar with his subject, who is able to convey a good "feel" for the atmosphere of the period.'- Professor Erik Jan Zurcher, University of Leiden 'Dr. Koroglu's book displays and explains the need to change the attitudes of these two fields in order to reach a more productive and persuasive understanding of literature and history. His elegant and well-documented interdisciplinary approach, which also tackles disciplinary conventions and methodologies of literature and history at the same time, establishes a positive model for future studies in a new literary cultural history approach...this book offers a totally new and telling explanation and understanding of the literature of the late Ottoman period under the impact of the newly emerging Turkish nationalist ideology.'- Professor Nuket Esen, Bogazici University, Istanbul"
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