Compared with the previous twenty American studies conferences held in Turkey since 1975, this Twenty-First Conference, entitled “Theory, Themes and Practice of American Studies in a Turkish Context,” has a novelty which gestures to a new framework of reference and, thus, enlarges the Turkish academia’s boundaries of interest in American studies. The novelty is the inclusion in the Conference theme of the idea of “a Turkish context,” which, in the absence of any other qualifying lexis or description, may seem to some a relatively ambiguous signifier. Yet, despite its apparent ambiguity, the signifier gives the theme of the Conference a dual dimension of reference; consequently, it beckons to a wide range of topics not only related to the significance, pragmatics, influence and scope of American studies in Turkey but also requiring an interdisciplinary, crosscultural, interliterary and historical contextualization for elucidation and criticism.
What has just been stated is not a critique of the formulation of the Conference theme at all but, rather, a kind of apologia or prolegomenon for the much more ambiguous title of this paper: “Hemingway in Turkey: Historical Contexts and Cultural Intertexts.” Many people may already have wondered at the precise meaning and reference of the títle and asked: does it mean to what extent Hemingway has been popular in Turkey over the years? Or, does it mean how Hemingway’s writings have been read, understood and interpreted by his Turkish authence in a changing historical and cultural context? Or, does it mean in what ways Hemingway’s writings have been influendal on the popularity and study of American culture and literature in Turkey? Obviously, each question is worthy of in-depth study and research, but the paper is not concerned widi any of them or similar other questions even though its title may seem to imply such an intention. In fact, it is concerned with what one may call Hemingway’s fictional representations of the events and people in Turkey in the early 1920s, which are largely based upon his personal experiences and observations during his short visit to Istanbul. The texts of these representations consist of a little short story called “On the Quai at Smyrna,” the second interchapter in In Our Time and the second subtext in ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” describing the novelist protagonist Harry’s recalled adventures in Istanbul in 1922 under the Allied occupation and also his imagined witnessing of the Turkish offensive against the Greek forces in Anatolia. So, the paper is an attempt to demonstrate, through a context of historical references, the intertexts embedded in Hemingway’s Turkish fiction and dwell on the political, moral and cultural perceptions that underlie these intertexts. In other words, the paper is intended as an intertextual and new historicist analysis of the political, moral and cultural aspects of Hemingway’s Turkish fiction.
Looking back at the history of American writings on Turkey, one can argue that, with the exception of some travel and missionary' accounts, and other non-fictional writings such as memoirs, letters, and diaries by Turkey- related American diplomats, soldiers and government officials, Hemingway was probably the first major American writer who had a firsthand experience of Turkish life and culture and, hence, situated part of his fiction in a Turkish context. This does not mean that he was an ardent Turcophile. On the contrary, he had his historical, cultural, religious and moral bias which obviously grew stronger through the effect on him of the anti-Kemalist policies and press in the West in the early 1920s. Moreover, it is this bias which in fact filters through his Turkish fiction and consdtutes the basis of his blurred account of Turkey 1922. However, it must be stressed that, through his Turkish fiction, he provided us with a Turkish cultural and historical context which, though fictionalized and inadequately described, still has a great deal of documentary value.
To situate Hemingway’s Turkish fiction in its proper historical and political context and discuss its cultural intertexts, it would be appropriate at the outset to recall the state of affairs in Turkey at the end of World War I and refer to some of the major developments in the aftermath of the war.
When World War 1 broke out in 1914, Turkey, as the Ottoman Empire then, entered the war on the side of the Axis Powers, which included Germany, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, and Bulgaria. The strong pro¬German facdon within the Ottoman Government had clandestinely worked out an alliance with Germany and, as a fait accompli, dragged the country into a political gamble which was later to prove fatal and catastrophic. At the end of the war, along with the other Axis powers, Turkey suffered a severe defeat by the Allies, which not only brought about the irretrievable fall of the Ottoman Empire but also put the survival of the nation at stake. On 30 October 1918 Turkey signed with the Allies the infamous Armistice of Mudros, which granted the Allies the authority to exert on Turkey extremely heavy sanctions, including military occupation. To implement the provisions of the Armistice, the Allies soon began, under various pretexts, to invade Turkey. Istanbul and the Straits from the Black Sea to the Dardanelles with a so-called “neutral” zone around them came under the joint occupation of Britain, France and Italy, while the other parts of the country were also being invaded by their forces. Moreover, with the full encouragement and logistic support of the Allies, on 15 May 1919 Greece landed its troops in İzmir [the old Smyrna]. Soon they set on a bloody and atrocious invasion of Western Turkey which included the region as far inland as Bursa and Eskişehir in the north and Afyon and the Sakarya River [the ancient SangariusJ in the east, with Ankara within an easy reach; already in the areas under occupation, untold atrocities were being committed by the invading forces, and the country was in a terrible slate of chaos, suffering and helplessness. In Istanbul the political leaders of the pro-German faction had already fled the country', and under the Allied occupation the Sultan and his short-lived governments succumbed to whatever terms the Allies dictated to them. In the meantime, some members of the country’s élite, including Halide Edib [Adivar], who was later in the 1940s and 1950s to teach at Istanbul University and play a significant part in the development of American studies in Turkey, were trying to secure the American mandate for the survival of Turkey and had already established strong contacts with the American authorities.
It was under these most unfavourable and tormenting circumstances that Mustafa Kemal Pasha emerged as the new national leader who committed himself to a full liberation of the country and was determined to establish a new Turkish state that was to be a republic. He embarked on his great project by taking a number of political initiatives, including the Erzurum and Sivas Congresses in 1919, for the establishment of a legal and institutional infrastructure indispensable for the legiumacy and achievement of the envisaged goals. In April 1920 he convened the nadonal parliament in Ankara, which, as Meclis-i Meb’usan in İstanbul, had already suspended itself on 16 March 1920 due to the British troops’ raid upon the parliament building to arrest some of the members. The new parliament in Ankara began to function as the only supreme legislative and executive power whose resolutions and actions were terminal and binding. Furthermore, to wage a war of independence, he mobilized all the resources of the country and built up a new national army. Thus, once the political, legal, institutional and military preparedness was finalized, he launched the Turkish War of Independence, which consisted of several stages and mainly concentrated on the western front against the Greek forces. The final and most vital stage of this war was the Great Turkish Offensive, which started on 26 August 1922, to drive the Greek forces back to the Aegean. Under Mustafa Kemal’s personal command, the Turkish forces fought along a wide front which extended all the way from Bilecik and Eskişehir in the north to Afyon and Sandıklı in the south. The Great Offensive was an all-out attack, and after several bloody bathes the Greek forces were defeated and routed. In a state of panic and disorder they were in flight towards the shores of the Aegean with İzmir as the major port of evacuation. As the Greek forces fled they committed further atrocides and left behind them a trail of destruction with massacres of civilians and burned villages and towns. On 9 September the Turkish forces recaptured İzmir and, in the following weeks, cleared all the Aegean region of the invading Greek troops.
However, Eastern Thrace all the way from Çatalca to the Meriç [Maritza] River was still under the Greek occupation, and the Allies continued to maintain their military presence in İstanbul and along the Straits. Hence, for Mustafa Kemal the War of Independence had not yet accomplished its objectives, and the liberation of all the Turkish territories was not to be halted. So the Turkish forces advanced right to the British military posts of the Allied zone on the Dardanelles, and this situation, which is usually referred to as “the Chanak affair”, created a new state of war between Britain and Mustafa Kemal’s national government in Ankara. Moreover, the Allies were extremely uneasy about the awkward position the Greek defeat had put them in; they were now made the objective of a new Turkish offensive to recapture Istanbul and the Straits as well as Eastern Thrace. The resumption of a new war seemed unavoidable; both the Allies and the national government in Ankara were seriously concerned about the developing crisis. However, on 23 September 1922, just two weeks after the Turkish recapture of İzmir, the Allies tendered a note to Mustafa Kemal, in which they queried his opinion on a peace conference to be held soon at Mudanya [“Mudania”] or İzmit [“Ismid”]; they also stated that they were themselves prepared to discuss the evacuation of Eastern Thrace. In a note of reply, delivered on 29 September 1922, Mustafa Kemal accepted the peace offer and suggested Mudanya as the conference venue. The Conference began on 3 October and was carried on through long, fierce and excruciating discussions between the Turkish and Allied delegations. Finally, the Allies agreed to the Turkish position on a speedy evacuation of Eastern Thrace and proposed that an international plenary peace conference be held in November in Lausanne for the discussion and settlement of the status of the Straits and other territorial and political issues. So on 11 October the Mudanya peace accord was signed, and within days the Greek evacuation of Eastern Thrace was completed.
What has been described so far is a rough summary of the major events which constituted the historical context of Hemingway’s Turkish fiction. In fact, he witnessed at first hand some of these events and reported them in detail in The Toronto Daily Star. Initially, one might suggest that Hemingway’s involvement in the Turkish affairs was quite coincidental. At the time the Great Turkish Offensive drew to its conclusion and the Chanak affair was simmering, Hemingway was living in Paris, moving about in the literary and élite circles of Ezra Pound, Germide Stein and other American expauiates and working hard to get his own writing develop slowly. He was only 23 years old and had come to Paris with his new wife Hadley in early December 1921, following Sherwood Anderson’s suggestion back in Chicago that “Paris was the place for a serious writer.” He had a commission from The Toronto Daily Star to send dispatches and report on important developments in Europe. So, about the third week of September 1922, just at the time when the Allies were making their peace offer to Mustafa Kemal and the Chanak affair had developed into a serious crisis, Hemingway received a cable from the managing editor of The Toronto Daily Star, John Bone, who wanted him to travel immethately to Istanbul to report on the Turco-Greek war and the political developments.
Hemingway left Paris on 25 September and arrived in Istanbul on the 29th. He stayed in the city until 14 October and, during this time, interviewed a number of people from the Turkish and Allied sides. In the meantime, he explored the city including its Galata brothels, kept his close contacts with the Allied sources on the course of events and reported what he heard from the Allies to The Toronto Daily Star. Pardy because of the malaria he had contracted in Istanbul and partly because of the ban imposed by the Allies on reporters, he failed to cover the Mudanya Conference on the spot but learned about the proceedings from the Allied sources. Since, according to the Mudanya peace accord, the Greek evacuation of Eastern Thrace was to start immethately, on 14 October, diree days after the signing of the peace accord, he hurried to the township of Muratlı to witness the evacuation and report on it. He was in Eastern Thrace until 18 October and sent The Toronto Daily Star detailed reports on the process of the evacuation, the plight of the refugees, and the hardships of life he experienced during his stay at Karaağaç [“Karagatch”] and Edirne [“Adrianople”]. On the night of 18 October, after the evacuation, he boarded the Orient Express at the Karaağaç station just outside Edirne and headed for Paris. This is exactly the scene he describes in the third person singular through the protagonist Hany’s imagined ficuon in the first subtext in ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro:”
Now in his mind he saw a railway station at Karagatch and he was standing with his pack and that was the headlight of Ute Simplon-Orient cutting the dark now and he was leaving Thrace then after the retreat.
Hemingway’s stay in Istanbul, his observation of the Greek evacuation of Eastern Thrace, and also the account of the events he heard from the Allied sources about the Great Turkish Offensive and the tense situation in the İzmir harbour at the time the city was recaptured by the Turkish troops - all these experiences afforded him the essential material of his Turkish fiction. Moreover, the antagonistic and strongly biased tone which pervades his Turkish fiction was obviously affected by the prejudiced journalism he practised during his stay in Turkey. For him, Mustafa Kemal was only an adventurer, an opportunist, and a crook; once in power, he would definitely pursue a fundamentalist policy and impose harsh prohibitions on the people. In his dispatch to The Toronto Daily Star, published on 9 October 1922, Hemingway voiced his distorted and biased view of Mustafa Kemal as follows:
The man who raises a thirst somewhere east of Suez is going to be unable to slake it in Constantinople once Kemal enters the city. A member of the Anatolian government tells me that Constantinople will be as dry as Asiatic Turkey where alcohol is not allowed to be imported, manufactured or sold. Kemal has also forbidden card playing and backgammon and the cafes of Brusa are dark at eight o’clock. This devotion to the laws of the prophet does not prevent Kemal himself and his staff from liking their liquor, as the American, who went to Smyrna to protect American tobacco, found when his eight bottles of cognac made him the most popular man in Asia Minor at Kemalist headquarters.
Although one expects Hemingway, as an American, to have learned and understood from his own national history the significance of a people’s struggle for independence and freedom, paradoxically he did not realize and appreciate the fact that the war being fought by Mustafa Kemal was the Turkish nation’s struggle for survival and independence. As a young, inexperienced and somewhat carefree 23 year-old journalist, he was so prejudiced against Turkey that for him the evacuation of Eastern Thrace was a uagedy exerted on the Chrisuans, and he felt it prepared the ground for “the Turk’s return to Europe” as he termed it in one of his dispatches to The Toronto Daily Star. Indifferent to native culture and Turkish history, he mocked at the Muslim call to prayer, which he disrespectfully compared to “an aria from a Russian opera.” To his mind, Istanbul was a disreputable city with its wooden tenements, dirty and muddy winding streets, brothels, thugs, scuttling rats and varied population. His degrading attitude towards Mustafa Kemal and the country can be sensed further through his statement that
Constantinople is doing a sort of dance of death before the entry of Kemal Pasha, who has sworn to stop all booze, gambling, dancing and night clubs.
Obviously, Hemingway had his own text of Christian teaching and Euro-American cultural values against which he evaluated and interpreted the events and people of a Turkish Muslim context. Moreover, he was not well informed and experienced in world history and politics. His sources of information were the western anti-Kemalist press at the time and the one¬sided Allied accounts of the developments. Consequendy, he failed to see and interpret the events and developments in an impartial fashion. Had he travelled in Western Turkey after the Greek retreat in rout and seen the amount of destruction and suffering, he would certainly have given a more objective description. Indeed, had he caught an opportunity to interview Mustafa Kemal about his vision of a new Turkey he would have discovered the secular, progressive, and humanist nature of this vision. Therefore, though what he described in his Turkish fiction is of documentary significance, his comments in his dispatches were politically and culturally biased and evidentiy had an impact on his narrative of this fiction. It is through such a foregrounding that his Turkish fiction ought to be approached.
Of the three texts constituting Hemingway’s Turkish fiction the one that was written the earliest was the second interchapter in the 1925 Liveright and 1930 Scribner editions of In Our Time. Originally, it was one of the six miniature prose pieces or vignettes, which had appeared in April 1923 in The Little Review. As Baker has pointed out, Hemingway had designed these prose pieces as “miniatures in motion that were supposed to detonate like small grenades inside the reader’s head.” Later on in 1925 when the first collection of his short stories was published by Liveright, together with other new prose pieces which Hemingway had written for the collection, they appeared as interchapters inserted between the short stories themselves. In a letter Hemingway wrote in late 1924 to Edmund Wilson, the influential book reviewer of the magazine Dial, he pointed out that the purpose of the interchapters was “to give the picture of the whole between examining it in detail.” Although the interchapters throughout In Our Time do not seem on the surface to have any topical, structural or narradve relevance to the settings and situations in the short stories themselves, intrinsically they function as minute textual emblems which, through juxtaposidon, analogy, imaginai recapitulation, metaphorical resituating and parabolic association, reinforce and heighten the thematic polysemy and moral implications of the stories. As in a symphony consisting of a number of movements each with a leitmotif which functions as a polyphonic restatement of the symphony’s major theme, so in In Our Time each interchapter also becomes the leitmotif reinforcing the theme of the story, which it precedes. Thus, Heiningw'ay creates patterns of what Tedow has explained as tonal correspondences.
Considered along these lines, the second interchapter in In Our Time, which is a close-up depiction of the ghasdy plight of the refugees during the Greek evacuation of Eastern Thrace in mid-October 1922, and the follow-up story “ The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife” have an interaction which operates through contrast and metaphorical resituating. Like the logs in the story which are towed by a steamer down the lake to a mill where they will be sawed and cut, the refugees in the interchapter are herded on by the Greek cavalry “along the Karagatch road” and “through the mud” in Eastern Thrace to get to the other side of the Maritza River. Moreover, while in the story the doctor’s grudge against the Indian sawyer Dick Boulton is assuaged through the moral talk of the doctor’s wife who is a Christian scientist, and, thus, a possible act of homicide is prevented, in the interchapter the religion represented by the minarets rising “in the rain out of Adrianople" is of no use in halting human suffering and grief, and the refugees have been subjected to horrors of war with no hope of salvation.
Hemingway’s interchapter was in fact a rewriting of two dispatches he had filed during the evacuation from Eastern Thrace. Although in the interchapter he presents a vivid but indiscriminative account of the evacuation, in the dispatches he took a Christian and pro-Allies journalist’s position and reported as follows:
In a never-ending, staggering march the Christian population of Eastern Thrace is jamming the roads towards Macedonia...They left their farms, villages and ripe, brown fields...when they heard the Turk w'as coming...There are 250.000 Christian refugees to be evacuated from Eastern Thrace alone. The Bulgarian frontier is shut against them. There is only Macedonia and Western Thrace to receive the fruit of the Turk's return to Europe.
Evidently, the fact that the evacuation was an inevitable consequence of the Greek invasion of Turkey, that for centuries, under the Ottoman rule, the Turks and the Greeks had lived in peace as a mixed community, and that the retreating Greek forces had coerced the Turkish Christian Greeks into quitting their lands was never taken into consideration by the young journalist Hemingway, who, as we have already pointed out, was culturally biased, politically unaware of the true state of affairs, and professionally unlearned about the history of the land.
While Hemingway’s interchapter was based on his own eyewitness accounts in The Toronto Daily Star of the Greek evacuation of Eastern Thrace, his “On the Quai at Smyrna” in In Our Time and his second subtext in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”, which constitute the rest of his Turkish fiction, essentially derived from his observations of the life of the Allied troops in Istanbul and also from what he heard from the British sources about the situation in Anatolia. However, in fictionalizing his material, he not only exaggerated and distorted a great deal, but he also included his own fantasies and cultural intertexts. In “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” for example, this is most explicitly demonstrated through the images of Istanbul and Anatolia, which emerge from Harry’s fantasies; Istanbul is associated with prostitutes and erotic adventures while Anatolia with fields and fields of poppies “for opium.” Obviously, this is part of a cultural stereotyping which Hemingway deliberately used as an in tertext of his Turkish fiction.
If we recall that Hemingway wrote ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro” in 1935 and revised it in 1936, his Turkish fiction in it can in fact be regarded as a further recapitulation of the cultural intertexts already embedded in his dispatches and earlier Turkish fiction, especially in his short story “On the Quai at Smyrna,” which first appeared under the title “Introduction by the Author" in the 1930 Scribner edition of In Our Time. In its style, length and precision, “On the Quai at Smyrna” follows the pattern of Hemingway’s interchapter writing and, like the second interchapter in In Our Time, deals with another evacuation, that is, the evacuation by the Allied nary of the Greek refugees in the İzmir harbour during the Turkish recapture of the city on 9 September 1922. The story’s point of view is that of an eyewiuiess who has personally been involved in the incidents which he narrates to the writer in the first person singular; so, Hemingway’s text is a re-narration to the reader in the third person singular. As can be understood from typical British expressions in the story like “in a frightful rage,” “most inoffensive chap," “a gunner’s mate,” “he felt topping about it" and “most extraordinary case," the eyewitness from whom Hemingway derived the original material of his story was obviously a British officer who had been in the harbour during the evacuation on and about 9 September 1922. Actually, as Lord Kinross has pointed out, with the defeat and retreat of the Greek forces, thousands of Greek refugees had poured into the İzmir harbour for evacuation, and the Allied military personnel, mosdy British, were engaged in the evacuation business. Of course, we know that later in the montii, when Hemingway arrived in İstanbul and stayed there until mid-October, he established close contacts with the Allied authorities and received from them first-hand accounts of political and military developments in Anatolia. Among the British officers, on whom he depended for information, were a Captain Wittal of the Indian Cavalry and an artillery major Johnson, who both were the liaison officers with the press in Istanbul; especially, as Hemingway learned from Wittal, at the time of the Great Turkish Offensive, major Johnson had served with the Greek forces as the British military observer and witnessed how, due to the inefficiency and inexperience of the pro-King Constantine officers, the Greek artillery had mistakenly fired at their own infantry. Later on in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” Hemingway was to use this incident as part of Harry’s own imagined account of the Offensive:
That same night he [Harry] left for Anatolia and he remembered, later on that trip, riding all day through fields of the poppies that they raised for opium and how strange it made you feel, finally, and all the distances seemed wrong, to where they had made the attack with the newly arrived Constantine officers, that did not know a goddamned thing, and the artillery had fired into the troops and the British observer had cried like a child.
So, probably it was this same Johnson or one of the British officers on duty in Izmir during the evacuation that most certainly provided Hemingway with a detailed description of the incidents in the İzmir harbour, which constitute the contents of “On the Quai at Smyrna.” Hemingway’s picture of the refugees, crowded on top of each other on the pier in the harbour and desperately waiting to be evacuated by the Allied ships, is again full of pathos and shows the extremes of agony in a state of war:
The worst, he [the eyewitness British officer] said, were the women with dead babies. You couldn’t get the women to give up their dead babies. They’d have babies dead for six days. Wouldn’t give them up. Nodiing you could do about it. Had to take them away finally...You didn’t mind the women who were having babies as you did those with the dead ones. They had them all right. Surprising how few of them died. You just covered them over with something and let them go to it.
However, the pathos, created as such through a vivid description of the terrible plight of the refugees, is contrasted with the sneer and contempt through which the Turkish image is conveyed. The portrayal of a Turkish officer as a pathetic and conceited miserable type is later on followed by a scathing remark about the Turkish character in general:
They [the refugees] were all out on the pier and it wasn’t at all like an earthquake or that sort of thing because they never knew about the Turk. They never knew what the old Turk would do.
It was diis same notion of the unpredictable savagery of the Turks that Hemingway was to reiterate implicitly in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro" dirough Hany’s account of the Great Turkish Offensive and the dead Greek troops:
That was the day he’d first seen dead men wearing white ballet skirts and upturned shoes with pompons on them. The Turks had come steadily and lumpily and he had seen the skirted men running and the officers shooting into them and running then themselves and he and the British observer had run too until his lungs ached and his mouth was full of the taste of pennies and they stopped behind some rocks and there were the Turks coming as lumpily as ever.
Once again this description reveals that Hemingway observed, understood and described the events and the war in Turkey through his own Christian, western and pro-Greek cultural, moral and political intertexts. So, in concluding our discussion of Hemingway’s Turkish fiction, we argue that his own moral, political and cultural intertexts constituted the basis of his biased and distorted view of Turkey and the Turks. Therefore, the Turkish context, in which he situated his fiction, is morally controversial, historically inadequate, culturally antagonistic, and politically prejudiced. Yet, one wonders whether, had he met Mustafa Kemal and made his observations also from the Turkish side, the text and context of his Turkish fiction would have contained a much fairer account of Turkey and the Turks in 1922.