Necip Fazıl Kısakürek

(1904-1983 / Istanbul)

Biography of Necip Fazıl Kısakürek

Ahmet Necip Fāzıl Kısakürek was a Turkish Sunni Islam poet, novelist, playwright, philosopher and activist. He is also known simply by his initials NFK. He was noticed by the French philosopher Henri Bergson, who later became his teacher.

In his own words, he was born in "a huge mansion in Çemberlitaş, on one of the streets descending towards Sultanahmet" in 1904. His father was Abdülbaki Fazıl Bey who held several posts including deputy judge in Bursa, public prosecuter in Gebze and finally, judge in Kadıköy. His mother was an emigree from Crete. He was raised at the Çemberlitaş mansion of his paternal grandfather Kısakürekzade Mehmet Hilmi Efendi of Maraş; he was named after his great-grandfather Ahmet Necib, as well as his father, Fazıl.

Necip Fazıl learned to read and write from his grandfather at the age of five. After graduating from the French School in Gedikpaşa, he continued his education in various schools, also including Robert College of Istanbul as well as the Naval School. He received religious courses from Ahmed Hamdi of Akseki and science courses from Yahya Kemal at the Naval School but he was actually influenced by İbrahim Aşkî, whom he defined to have "penetrated into deep and private areas in many inner and outer sciences from literature and philosophy to mathematics and physics". İbrahim Aşkî provided his first contact with Sufism even at a "plan of skin over skin". "After completing candidate and combat classes" of Naval School, Kısakürek entered the Philosophy Department of Darülfünûn and graduated from there (1921–1924). One of his closest friends in philosophy was Hasan Ali Yücel. He was educated in Paris for one year with the scholarship provided by the Ministry of National Education (1924–1925). He worked at the posts of official and inspector at Holland, Osmanlı and İş Banks after returning home (1926–1939), and gave lectures at the Faculty of Linguistics and History and Geography and the State Conservatoire in Ankara and the Academy of Fine Arts in İstanbul (1939–1942). Having established a relation with the press in his youth, Kısakürek quit civil service to earn his living from writing and magazines.

Necip Fazıl was awarded the First Prize of C.H.P. Play Contest in 1947 with his play Sabır Taşı (Stone of Patience). Kısakürek was awarded the titles of "Great Cultural Gift" by the Ministry of Culture (25 May 1980) and "Greatest Living Poet of Turkish" by the Foundation of Turkish Literature upon the 75th anniversary of his birth.
Necip Fazıl Kısakürek died on 25 May 1983 in his house at Erenköy after an illness that "lasted long but did not impair his intellectual activity and writing" and was buried in the graveyard at the Eyüp Cemetery on the ridge of Eyüp after an eventful funeral.

Literary Career

In his own words, having "learned to read and to write from his grandfather in very young ages", Kısakürek became "crazy about fimitless, trivia reading" until the age of twelve starting from "groups of sentences belonging to lower class writers of the French". He writes as follows: "My interest climbing up to the works such as (Pol ve Virjini), (Graziyella), (La-dam-d-kamelya), (Zavallı Necdet) claiming to be sensational and literary, eventually transformed into an illness and surrounded my nights and days as a net". Having been involved in literature with such a reading passion, Necip Fazıl states that his "poetry started at the age of twelve" and that his mother said "how much I would like you to be a poet" by showing the "poetry notebook of a girl with tuberculosis" lying on the bed next to his mother's bed when he went to visit her staying at the hospital, and adds: "My mother's wish appeared to me as something that I fed inside but I was not aware of until twelve. The motive of existence itself. I decided inside with my eyes on the snow hurling on the window of the hospital room and the wind howling; I will be a poet! And I became".

The first published poem of Necip Fazıl is "Kitabe", a poem that was later included in his book Örümcek Ağı (Spider Web) with the title "Bir Mezar Taşı"(A Gravestone); it was also published in the Yeni Mecmua (New Magazine) dated 1 July 1923.

By 1939, his poems and articles were appearing in magazines such as Yeni Mecmua, Milhi Mecmua, Anadolu, Hayat and Varlık, and Cumhuriyet newspaper.

After returning home from Paris in 1925, Necip Fazıl stayed in Ankara intermittently. On his third visit, he published a magazine called Ağaç on 14 March 1936 by providing the support of some banks. Ağaç, the writers of which included Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, Ahmet Kutsi Tecer and Mustafa Şekip Tunç, decided to follow a spiritualist and idealist line on the contrary to the materialist and Marxian ideas supported by the writers such as Burhan Belge, Vedat Nedim Tör, Şevket Süreyya Aydemir and İsmail Husrev Tökin of closed Kadro magazine owned by Yakup Kadri and which influenced the intellectuals of the time greatly. Kısakürek later transferred to Ağaç (Tree) magazine published during six volumes in Ankara to İstanbul, however, unable to establish a viable reader base, the magazine was closed at the 17th volume.

Necip Fazıl next began to publish the magazine called Büyük Doğu (Great East). Starting in 1943, the magazine was published intermittently as weekly, daily and monthly. In 1978, he was prosecuted because of his controversial articles and publications and the magazine was forced to close. Necip Fazıl also published a political humor magazine called Borazan (Bugle), of which only three volumes were published.

Necip Fazıl Kısakürek's Works:

Poetry

Örümcek Ağı (1925) (Spider Web)
Kaldırımlar (1928) (Pavements)
Ben ve Ötesi (1932) (Me and Beyond)
Sonsuzluk Kervanı (1955) (Caravan of Infinity)
Çile I (1962) (Anguish I)
Şiirlerim (My poems) (1969)
Esselâm (1973) (Welcome)
Çile II (1974) (Anguish II)
Bu Yağmur (This Rain)
Canim Istanbul (Dear Istanbul)

Novels

Aynadaki Yalan (1980) (The Lie in the Mirror)
Kafa Kağıdı (1984-Published as a series in Milliyet newspaper)

Stories

Birkaç Hikâye Birkaç Tahlil (1932) (Some Stories and Some Analyses)
Ruh Burkuntularından Hikayeler (1964) (Stories From Soul Shatters)
Hikâyelerim (1970) (My Stories)

Memoirs

Cinnet Mustatili (1955) (Rectangle of the Possessed)
Hac (1973) (Hajj)
O ve Ben (1974) (He and I)
Bâbıâli (1975) (The Sublime Porte)

Plays

Bir Adam Yaratmak (To Create A Man)
Tohum (Seed)
Reis Bey (Mr. Judge)
Para (Money)
Sabır Taşı (Stone of Patience)
Ahşap Konak (Wooden Mansion)
Kanlı Sarık (Bloody Turban)
Püf Noktası (The Thin Line)
İbrahim Ethem
Yunus Emre
Abdülhamin Han (Abdulhamid Khan)
Mukaddes Emanet (The Holy Escrow)
Siyah Pelerinli Adam (The Man With Black Cloak)
Parmaksız Salih (Fingerless Salih)

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