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TURKISH AVANTGARDE / NÂZIM HIKMET: Kafatası. Facia, 3 kısım 15 bap [The Scull: Tragedy, 3 acts]

8°. 103 pp, [9] advertisements, original illustrated wrappers (paper with minimal staining and tiny folds in edges, old signature on the title page, wrappers with minor foxing and wear, especially on the spine).


The first edition of the theater play “The Scull” by Nâzım Hikmet was published in 1932 with the title page by Ali Suavi, who gave Hikmet’s written works a recognizable visual appearance.

Nazım Hikmet Ran

Nâzım Hikmet (1902- 1963) is possibly one of the most brilliant Turkish authors of the 20th century and a stellar representative of the Turkish avantgarde. Although his poems were banned for almost 30 years in Turkey Hikmet still alive in the daily culture of the modern Turkey, although seemingly underappreciated in the West.

Nâzım’s powerful poetry and prose was mostly inspired by the Soviet avantgarde and futurism, especially by Mayakovskyyet it promoted the heavy unique vocals of the Turkish language, spreading the tones of the masses calling for the revolution. The verses are freeand non-onventional, moving with the rhythm of the lyrics and the narrative.

Nâzım Hikmet was born in a prominent family in Salonica (today Thessaloniki in Greece) and was trained at the Ottoman Navy School. Already in his later teens he joined the Turkish War of Independence and was chose by Mustafa Kemal to write a poem to motivate the young people to join the struggle.

Nâzım Hikmet soon got into trouble with the government for adopting the contemporary Soviet communist thoughts. In 1922, he moved to Moscow for studies and for ideological reasons. After returning to Istanbul he published his first work, still written in the Ottoman language, in 1925, followed by a collection of poems 835 Satıin 1929.

Because of his membership in the illegal Communist Party of Tukey and his extreme Soviet-inspired poetry Nâzım Hikmet spent many years between 1925 and 1951 exiled or imprisoned in Turkey. In the meantime he published poetry, theatre pieces and translated texts. His books were often burned and eventually banned in 1938 (until 1965). Escaping another imprisonment in Turkey, Hikmet moved to Moscow in 1951, where he lived until his death in 1963.

Nâzım’s heavy, beautiful and powerful lyrics were frequently adopted into chansons and Western leftist and protest songs, the most famous being I come and stand at every Door (from Turkish Kız Çocuğu), also known as The Hiroshima Girl. He also wrote against the Korean War, where Turkey was taken a part.

Worldcat lists four institutions holding examples of the book (University of Utah, Boğaziçi University Library, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Harvard College Library).


References: OCLC 965376488, 65523005 & 754975160.

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