Abasiyanik, Sait Faik 1906-1954

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ABASIYANIK, Sait Faik 1906-1954

* Indicates that a listing has been compiled from secondary sources believed to be reliable, but has not been personally verified for this edition by the author sketched.

PERSONAL: Born Sait Faik, November 23, 1906, in Adapazari, Turkey; surname Abasiyanik added in accordance with Turkish Republic's Surname Law of 1934; died of cirrhosis of the liver May 11, 1954, in Istanbul, Turkey; son of Mehmet (a lumber merchant and mayor of Adapazari) and Makbule Faik. Education: Briefly attended University of Istanbul, Lausanne, and Champollion Lycée.

CAREER: Poet, novelist, and short-story writer. Worked briefly as a Turkish educator teaching orphans, a grain merchant, and a court reporter for an Istanbul newspaper.

AWARDS, HONORS: Honorary member, Mark Twain Society, 1953; establishment of Sait Faik prize (Turkey), 1955.


Medâr-i maişet motoru (novel; title means "The Life-sustaining Motor"), 1944, revised edition published as Birtakim I˙nsalar (title means "A Bunch of People"), 1952.

Kayip araniyor (novel; title means "Looking for a Missing Person"), 1953.

Şimdi sevişme vakti (poetry; title means "Now Is the Time for Love"), 1953.

Mahkeme kapisi (memoirs; title means "The Courtroom Door"), 1956.

Govzdika i tomatnyi sok, 1971.

Seçme hikâyeler, M.E.B. (Ankara, Turkey), 1972.

Balikçinin ölümü; Ya sasin edbiyat, Bilgi Yayinevi (Ankara, Turkey), 1977.


Semaver (title means "Samovar"), 1936.

Sarniç (title means "The Cistern"), 1939.

Şahmerdan(title means "The Piledriver"), 1940, published in Şahmerdan; Lüzümsüz adam, Bilgi Yaninevi (Ankara, Turkey), 1977.

Lüzümsüz adam (title means "The Unneeded Man"), 1948, published in Şahmerdan; Lüzümsüz adam, Bilgi Yaninevi (Ankara, Turkey), 1977.

Mahalle kahvesi (title means "The Neighborhood Coffeehouse"), 1950, published in Mahalle kahvesi; Havada bulut, Bilgi Yaninevi (Ankara, Turkey), 1977.

Kumpanya (title means "Company"), 1951.

Havada bulut (title means "Cloud in the Sky"), 1951, published in Mahalle kahvesi; Havada bulut, Bilgi Yaninevi (Ankara, Turkey), 1977.

Havuz başi (title means "At the Pond"), 1952.

Son kuşlar, 1952.

Alemdag'da var bir yilan (title means "There Is a Snake at Mount Alem"), 1954.

Az sekerli (title means "Lightly Sugared"), 1954.

Tüneldeki çocuk (title means "The Child in the Tunnel"), 1955.

Bütün eserleri (selected works); multiple volumes, Varlik Yayinevi (Istanbul, Turkey), 1965.

Sait Faik Bütün eserleri (selected works), Bilgi Yayinevi (Istanbul, Turkey), 1976.

A Dot on the Map: Selected Stories and Poems, edited by Talat Sait Halman, Indiana University Turkish Studies (Bloomington, IN), 1983.

Sleeping in the Forest: Stories and Poems, edited by Talat S. Halman and Jayne L. Warner, Syracuse University Press (Syracuse, NY), 2004.

Contributor to Varlik (title means "Existence"), an avant-garde periodical.

Author's works have been translated into French.

SIDELIGHTS: Turkish writer Sait Faik Abasiyanik wrote about the poor, oppressed, and downtrodden. Influenced by the French realists and living off a family inheritance, Abasiyanik wrote without concern for the reader. As a result, he often found himself in court defending his literature in the face of political strife. Abasiyanik began writing seriously in the 1930; and his first volume of short stories, Semaver appeared in 1936. Over the next two decades, he wrote thirteen collections of short stories and two short novels, Medâr-i maişet motoru and Kayip araniyor. He also penned a volume of poetry called Şimdi sevişme vakti.

Although he was never destitute himself, Abasiyanik wrote primarily about the oppression the common people felt in the wake of Turkey's governmental strife and poverty. Both Abasiyanik's subject matter and style differed from other Turkish writers. According to Louis Mitler, writing in Contemporary Turkish Writers, "His style was unique at the time and even shocking to his readers. He employed freely the slang and loose grammatical construction of the classes he portrayed and at the same time was able to evoke a warm and even poetic atmosphere for his readers."

Abasiyanik often casts himself as a significant persona in his stories. A contributor to the Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature noted that Abasiyanik had "a subtle style that, despite occasional complexities, was attuned to the simple natural rhythms of colloquial Turkish." Although many critics admired Abasiyanik's work, they often admonished his alcoholism and lifestyle of debauchery. Abasiyanik was charged with subversion for the socially critical contents of his novel Medâr-i maişet motoru and the short story "Kestaneci Dostum." the title of which translates as "My Friend the Chestnut Vendor." The author was acquitted on both accounts.

Although Abasiyanik died in 1954, his works were published posthumously in English translation as the 1983 collection A Dot on the Map: Selected Stories and Poems, and Sleeping in the Forest: Stories and Poems, which was published in 2004. In an essay reprinted in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, William C. Hickman noted, "It is not strange . . . to find Sait Faik judged on occasion as a representative, if eccentric, of the social protest movement. While there is no doubt that he was a champion of the common man, an ardent defender of justice, honesty, integrity, and simple human decency, it is a mistake to view Sait Faik's writing solely, or even primarily, from that point of view." Hickman went on to point out that the author "wrote with an unmistakable sense of the artistic. Too solitary a man to have cared much for doctrinaire interpretations of class struggle, Sait Faik was nevertheless an unstinting champion of human dignity."



Bédé, Jean-Albert, and William B. Edgerton, editors, Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature, second edition, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1980, p. 709.

Dictionary of Oriental Literatures, Volume 3: WestAfrica and North Africa, Basic Books, 1974.

Mitler, Louis, Contemporary Turkish Writers, Indiana University Research Institute for Inner-Asian Studies (Bloomington, IN), 1988, pp. 7-9.

Poupard, Dennis, editor, Twentieth-Century LiteraryCriticism, Volume 23, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1987, pp. 289-299.


International Fiction Review, summer, 1986, Saáad el-Gabalawy, review of A Dot on the Map: Selected Stories and Poems, p. 101.

Literary Review, winter, 1960-61, Kemal H. Karpat, "Contemporary Turkish Literature," pp. 287-302.

World Literature Today, winter, 1985, Mutlu Konuk Blasing, review of A Dot on the Map, p. 155.*