A Character in the Context of Local Color Realism and Meddah Style Storytelling: Meshedi Cafer


MILLI FOLKLOR, no.132, pp.102-113, 2021 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Journal Name: MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.102-113
  • Keywords: Realism, Local Color Realism, Ercument Ekrem Talu, Meshedi Cafer, Meddah Style Storytelling
  • Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University Affiliated: Yes


In this study, the concept, which is identified with writers such as Ahmet Mithat Efendi, Ahmet Rasim, Huseyin Rahmi Gurpinar in Turkish literature and described as the meddah style storytelling in Turkish literature historiography, has been associated with the concept of local color realism, which emerged especially in American literature in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is understood that local color realism, which has become widespread as a stylistic feature in the American novel, is a writing style originating from the art of painting. Local color, a term used in French painting in the second half of the seventeenth century, suggests making use of the natural light found in the objects themselves. The term local color, which has been transferred to literature as an attitude that can be evaluated within the realism movement, is based on the principle of preserving the distinctive local characteristics of the peoples and characters in the narrative. It is stated that these features are folkloric elements such as manners, tradition and dialect. A few of the Turkish literature researchers named this term as local/native color realism, but did not touch its counterpart in Western art. The meddah style storytelling, which emerged as a common style feature of writers such as Ahmet Mithat Efendi, Ahmet Rasim and Huseyin Rahmi, was also adopted by the writers who came after them and turned into a narrative style followed by writers who wrote in the genre of humorous satire. It is seen that Ercument Ekrem Talu, who was one of the versatile writers of Turkish literature at the beginning of the twentieth century and appeared in the important humor publications of his time, also followed the aforementioned style of narration. Among the literary activities of the author, a character named Meshedi Cafer, which he first created in the periodical named Akbaba and later included in the stand-alone books he published in various literary genres, was found to be accurate example of the style that can be called local color realism. In this context, inferences were made about the general features of the narrative style, which is called local color realism, based on selected pieces from some of the works of Ahmet Mithat, Ahmet Rasim and Huseyin Rahmi, who can be counted as the three founding names of the stylistic feature in Turkish literature, which is described as meddah style storytelling. The characteristics of the obtained elements that will distinguish this stylistic feature from other literary movements, views and styles are stated. From this point of view, the stories chosen by the author of Meshedi Cafer, who is an Iranian Azeri and also presented as a repartee, bouncer and quick wit, have been examined. The function of Meshedi Cafer in the stories, which is written in a style that coincides with the characteristics of the local color realism style determined in the study, and which is thought to have some features about Nasreddin Hodja, one of the important figures of the Turkish oral culture tradition, has been emphasized. Based on the findings, it was concluded that meddah style storytelling was very similar to the local color realism understanding of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was understood that the tradition of humorous satire in Turkish literature contributed to this understanding, and the existence of writers who showed the same stylistic characteristics in the later periods of Turkish literature was pointed out.