Who is

Who is Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar?

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, the author of the novels Peace, Five Cities and The Time Regulation Institute, is a subject of curiosity with his life. So, where is Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar from, what is his understanding of poetry, what are his works, what is his literary personality, how did he die and where is his grave?
Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, one of the building blocks of Turkish literature, is one of the authors who touched the heart and mind of the reader with his books ‘Peace’, ‘The Time Regulation Institute’ and ‘Five Cities’. Here are the unknowns of Tanpinar, who is still on the agenda with his works today…


Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar was born on June 23, 1901 in Istanbul as the third child of Huseyin Fikri Efendi and Nesime Bahriye Hanim. Tanpinar, who studied primary, secondary and high school in different cities, studied at the veterinary school for a year. A literary bond forms between Yahya Kemal Beyatli and Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, whom he knew from his poems when he was still a high school student. So much so that Tanpinar entered the Faculty of Letters of Istanbul University in 1919, under the influence of Beyatli.

At the school he graduated in 1923, Ahmet Hamdi Taninar’s teachers were Yahya Kemal Beyatli, Cenap Sahabettin, Necip Asim, Rıza Tevfik, Fuat Koprulu, Ferit Kam, Yusuf Serif Kilicel, Ali Ekrem Bolayir, Huseyin Danis. Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar graduated from the faculty with his thesis named “Seyhi’s Husrev and Sirin”. The poems of Yahya Kemal Beyatli and Ahmet Hasim were influential in the formation of Tanpinar’s poetry taste.


Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, the master of Turkish literature, made his name known for the first time in 1920 with his poem “Mosul Evenings” published in the magazine “Golden Book”. After graduating from Istanbul University Faculty of Letters in 1923, in the cities where he wrote “Five Cities”; He taught aesthetics, mythology and literature in different schools in Erzurum, Konya, Ankara and Istanbul. Since 1920, Tanpinar’s poems have been published in the magazines ‘Dergah’, ‘Milli Mecmua’, ‘Hayat’, ‘Görüş’, ‘Ülkü’, ‘Varlık’, ‘Oluş’, ‘Kültür Week’ and ‘Alile’.

Tanpinar is not only a novelist or poet, but has become a tradition in the history of Turkish literature. Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar has thought a lot about the identity problem of the Turkish people and has often dealt with this issue in his works. In his novels, he handled the portrait of Turkish intellectuals and Turkish people, who were in suspense between East and West civilization, in a beautiful way. The social problems that we still talk about today and that shape the citizens with the works of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar continue to exist in the geography.


Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, whose aesthetic perception gained a new dimension after reading the French poet Paul Valery at the age of 26, started a different field of work with the translation he made on 20 December 1928, in the first prose text of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, “Hayat Dergisi”. In 1929, Tanpınar translated E. T. A. Hoffmann’s ‘Cremon Violin’ and ‘Queen Kebab with Goose Foot’ from Anatole France. In 1930, Ahmet Kutsi Tecer and Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar started publishing the magazine “Görüş” in Ankara. Tanpinar was appointed to Kadıkoy High School in 1932 and to Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi, that is today’s Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, to teach aesthetic mythology in 1933.

Expressing that he was a realist Westerner since these years, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, while rejecting the East completely, also experienced a sadness due to the gradual disappearance of the values ​​of Ottoman civilization, although he believed in the need for innovation. Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, in 1939, at the Faculty of Letters of Istanbul University, the newly established ’19. While he was working as a professor at the Asır Turkish Literature Chair, he was assigned to write the history of Turkish literature after the Tanzimat and wrote articles for the Encyclopedia of Islam. Although he entered the Parliament as CHP Kahramanmaras Deputy in 1942, he was not happy about entering politics.

In these years, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar was known more for his novels than his poems. He was also known for his literary history research as well as his literary work. He published his novel “Mahur Beste” in serial form in 1944 for the first time. Tanpinar dedicated Mahur Beste, which was published as a book in 1975, to the famous singer and composer of the Tulip Era, Eyyübi Ebubekir Aga.


After publishing Mahur Beste, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar published a serialized novel, ‘Huzur’, in 1948, which the readers loved and learned great lessons from both at that time and afterwards. Then, a year later, in 1949, the novel Huzur was published as a book. The author, who is interested in Tanpınar’s music as well as in his novel Huzur, frequently employs the sense of time, thought of the past and aesthetics of dreams in his works, focused on people who are between westernization and tradition in his stories and novels, in which he gave wide coverage to psychological analysis. Tanpınar, who also worked as an Inspector of National Education for a while, started to work again in the Department of Turkish Language and Literature at the Faculty of Letters of Istanbul University in 1949.

İnci Enginun, who has done extensive studies on Tanpinar, commented on Tanpinar’s treatment of people, “The author, who believes that human beings are a part of the composition around him, gives them wide circles, with their psychology deepened in a small incident. While doing this, he is rich with images, with the highest humor and humor in Turkish. With his ironic style, he tells about them and their attitude towards life.” found out.

In addition, Tanpinar had made it a habit to explain the issues he was trying to tell in a very low voice, using the right sentences and words, instead of shouting or exasperating. The speeches of the characters in his novels were also gradually under his influence and magic. In his works, he can quickly impress the reader with his powerful narration that captivates people.

Tanpinar, who clearly revealed the uneasiness, dilemma and the period he lived in his life in his work Huzur, serialized the work “Scene Outside the Scene”, which formed a trilogy with Mahur Beste and Huzur, in 1950. Tanpınar, on the other hand, in his novel “Scenery Outside,” deals with the differing lives of people from different segments of the population and their involvement in this struggle, along with the War of Independence in Anatolia and the intellectuals in Istanbul. His book Outside the Stage was also serialized in 1950 and published in 1973 after his death.

I’m neither in time / nor completely outside of time

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, the sycamore of Turkish literature, has reflected this feeling to his reader to a great extent by telling the faltering mood in the East-West axis at the Time Regulation Institute. His work, which was published in 1961, in the Time Regulation Institute, as well as in his other works, impressed the reader with his unique style of expression, written language and the subjects he dealt with. Tanpinar stated that he was after himself in poetry, and both himself and other people in his stories and novels. Expressing that “the word is European in the truest sense of the word, but also national in the deepest and most beautiful way”, Tanpınar has given the reader the conflict between East and West in almost every of his works.

Tanpınar laid the main elements of literary work on the foundations of excellence, life experience and language. Tanpinar, who also wrote the book “Five Cities”, in which he describes the cities of Istanbul, Bursa, Ankara, Erzurum and Konya with their natural, historical and cultural structures, attracted attention with his realistic and social problems in his novels. Many of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar’s works were published as a book only after his death. One of them is the novel “Woman in the Moon”, which was collected from his notes after his death and prepared for publication in 1987.

The grave of the unforgettable name of Turkish literature, who passed away on January 23, 1962 in Istanbul due to a heart attack, is also a matter of curiosity. Ahmet Hamdi Tanpiınar’s grave is located next to Yahya Kemal Beyatlı’s grave in Asiyan Cemetery. On the tombstone, there are the phrases “I’m neither in time / nor completely out of time”.


His Novels

  • Peace
  • Mahur Composition
  • Outside the Stage
  • The Time Regulation Institute
  • Woman on the Moon

His Poems

  • All His Poems
  • Auditions
  • Abdullah Efendi’s Dreams
  • The summer rain

Other Works

  • Tevfik Fikret Life Personality Poems and Parts of His Works
  • Namık Kemal Anthology
  • 19th Century History of Turkish Literature
  • Yahya Kemal
  • Articles on Literature
  • The Secret of the Jewels
  • Literature Lessons
  • Five Cities
  • As I Live
  • Letters of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar
  • Letters from Tanpinar to Hasan Ali Yücel

Ece Nagihan

Hi, I'm Ece. I am a writer for Expat Guide Turkey and I strive to create the best content for you. To contact me, you can send an e-mail to info@expatguideturkey.com. Happy reading!

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