Tanpinar's Five Cities
Ahmed Hamdi Tanpinar, Ruth Christie
Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar's ‘Five Cities’ was first published in Turkish as ‘Beş Şehir’ in 1946 and revised in 1960. It consists of five essays, each focused on a city significant in Anatolian history and in Tanpinar's emotional life. Part history, part autobiography, part poetic meditation on time and memory, ‘Five Cities’ is Proustian in style, with a tension between a backward-looking melancholy and a concern for the unpredictable future of the author’s country. Comparable to Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk’s ‘Istanbul: Memories of a City’, ‘Five Cities’ emphasizes personal attitudes and reactions but has a wider scope of geography, history and culture.