In what category should we place the writing of Turkey’s only Nobel laureate novelist, Orhan Pamuk? Is it ‘fiction’? Or perhaps, ‘non-Western fiction’? But how can we define his work as ‘non-Western’, when it is not considered to be completely ‘Western’ by some? Even Pamuk has been quoted as saying, ‘as someone who has sat at the table of a secular Republican family I live as someone affected by Western, Cartesian rationalism’. On the other hand, his fictional novels have been translated into sixty-one different languages around the world. It is surely a huge success for an author who belongs to a ‘non-Western’ literary world, or ‘third-world literature’. Can we consider his work as a part of world literature canon or not.

Though Pamuk talks about his ‘Cartesian rationality’, he also says:

I open myself to other texts, other books. I don’t see those texts as a necessity, I take pleasure in reading them, I feel a joy. Where pleasure is felt, the self is affected. Where the self is affected, I also have the control of my reason. Perhaps my books find themselves without bickering or scuffling between these two centres.

The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.

Access our entire archive of 350+ articles from the world's leading writers on Islam.
Only £3.30/month, cancel anytime.


Already subscribed? Log in here.

Not convinced? Read this: why should I subscribe to Critical Muslim?

Elsewhere on Critical Muslim: