Nobel Prize Winner: “Kitsch” Author Pamuk

  The Nobel Prize Committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature to the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk for “discovering a new symbol of the clash and intersection of civilizations in pursuit of the melancholy soul of his homeland” . Some people think that Orhan Pamuk deserves the Nobel Prize, and his works have been translated into dozens of languages. Literary critics have compared him to such masters as Proust, Thomas Mann, Calvino, Borges and others. But his award has once again raised questions about the political leanings of the Nobel Prize. Some people think that he won the Nobel Prize not because of his creations, but because of his words.
  Although Pamuk has already gained world reputation, our readers are not familiar with him. The first Pamuk’s work translated into Simplified Chinese was his masterpiece “My Name is Red”, which happened in July 2006.
  Orhan Pamuk’s people, his text, and his affairs
  Orhan Pamuk was born in 1952 in a family of engineers in Istanbul, so he entered the Istanbul University of Technology to major in architecture as expected, and then he chose to study Journalism in lieu of military service. From 1974, Pamuk decided to make novels as his career. In 1979, his first novel, The Governor of Safedt and His Sons, won the first prize for fiction in the Turkish Daily, and was published in 1982, and again won the Orhan Kemar Prize for fiction in 1983. This gave him a pretty good start to his literary career, and since then he has published several works, “The Silent House” (1983), “White Castle” (1985), “The Black Book” (1990), ” New Life (1997), My Name is Red (1998), Snow (2002), Istanbul (2005). Almost every one of his works is associated with awards, among which “The Silent House” won the European Discovery Award in 1991; “White Castle” won the 1990 American Independent Award for Foreign Fiction; “Black Book” won the French Culture Award; My Name is Red won the Dublin Literary Prize in 2003, and also won the French Literary Award and the Italian Grinzana-Carver Literary Award; Istanbul was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature that year and won the German Book Industry Peace Prize .
  It should be said that Orhan Pamuk was not a prolific writer. When he visited Taiwan in 2003, he humbly said that in the past 40 years, he has only written seven novels. This is indeed the case. It often takes several years for him to create a work before it is completed. For example, “My Name is Red” took nearly ten years from conception to completion. But perhaps it is this meticulous way of creation that makes each of his works a masterpiece, and each one is welcomed by readers.
  Different from the situation where the works of ordinary contemporary writers “applaud but do not sell”, Pamuk’s works not only frequently win awards, but each of them will become a best-selling book. His book “New Life” is the fastest selling book in Turkish history. The reason why his works are so popular is closely related to his creative style. Most of his works focus on the conflict, entanglement and fusion of Eastern and Western cultures and civilizations. As we all know, Turkey spans the East and the West, and is influenced by the two-way culture and civilization of the East and the West. The Turkish people deeply experience the conflict, entanglement and fusion of two different cultures and civilizations in their lives, which has almost become their way of life. Ke’s work reflects such a way of life. In Turkey, “Pamuk is the rock star, spiritual guide, diagnostician, and political critic, whose novels are read by the Turkish public as political opinions” (Margaret Atwood). It is precisely because his creations span two worlds that his works have been translated into various languages ​​and recognized abroad, achieving great commercial success. Andrew Fink considered Pamuk “the first Turkish novelist of this generation to be able to place himself in the mainstream of European literature”. Another important reason why Pamuk’s works are so popular with readers is that he adopts the expression techniques of popular novels, which makes his works more acceptable to readers. Of course, this also gives his works a “kitsch” side to a certain extent. Some people even think that an important reason why the Nobel Prize in 2005 was not awarded to him after a long debate was that his novels were too good-looking and popular, which weakened his novels to a certain extent. speculative.
  ”My Name is Red”: Writing a Text on the Conflict of Eastern and Western Cultures
  In 1998, Pamuk published the novel My Name is Red, which established his status in the international literary world. He also won the world’s highest literary prize for this novel, the Dublin Literary Prize of 100,000 euros. At the same time, this novel also won him the French Literary Award and the Italian Grinzana-Carver Literary Award. At first, some people thought that Pamuk’s novel was almost perfect, and it was only short of the glory of the Nobel Prize. Now that Pamuk has finally achieved this honor, let’s look back at his novel. What’s so brilliant about it?
  The main body of the story of this novel is very simple. The story takes place in Istanbul at the end of 1590, when King Sultan secretly commissioned a great book for him to celebrate his empire and his life. Four of the best miniaturists of the time gathered in Istanbul to work together to create this extraordinary book. At the same time, young black, who had been away from home for 12 years, returned to Istanbul. In addition to the love of the woman he once loved deeply, what greeted him was the murder that followed. During the drawing of the book, a painter is murdered and thrown into a deep well. The novel begins with the monologue of the slain painter after his death and ends with the final truth of the murder being revealed.
  In the murder story, a poignant love story is also interspersed. Young Hei failed to pursue his aunt and cousin Shekuri, and went away to another country. Twelve years later, when he returned to his hometown of Istanbul, Shekuri had become a A single mother of two, her military husband went to the front and never returned. The two meet again and their love is rekindled.
  Undoubtedly, the main story of this novel is such a clichéd detective and reasoning story plus a love story mode. This kind of story makes this novel have the elements of popular literature, and some people accuse him of being grandstanding. But at the same time, we have to admit that it is precisely because of its proximity to popular literature that Pamuk’s novel has a huge readership and has achieved great commercial success.
  We should also see that although Pamuk used such a clichéd story framework, what he showed was his deep thinking on both metaphysical and metaphysical levels. The murder case has nothing to do with emotions or personal grudges. Behind the manipulation of murder and death is the conflict between Eastern and Western cultures, and the resistance of painters who stick to traditional miniature painting against Western influence (in the novel, the influence from Venice). . In this way, a person with a holy soul committed a sinful act – killing his own colleague. From a metaphysical point of view, Pamuk expressed his thoughts on the status, attributes and future development of the culture and civilization of his homeland, especially his hometown Istanbul, through this story. This is a real, urgent and difficult problem to be solved. Turkey, a country that spans the cultures and civilizations of the East and the West, and Istanbul, a city that serves as a bridge connecting the East and the West, where should it go? To renounce tradition—in fact, it is impossible—to move to the West? Or, based on tradition, emphasize the oriental attributes of its own culture and civilization, and draw a line from the West? Pamuk, who wrote literature against this background, deeply felt the conflict, entanglement and fusion of heterogeneous cultures and civilizations. He uses his literary creation to explore the spiritual connotation of this country and city, the spiritual essence of this nation, and at the same time he is exploring the connotation of Eastern and Western cultures and civilizations. From a metaphysical point of view, this cliché story is full of philosophy. The choice of painting style is not only an artistic issue, but a big issue related to belief. An old miniaturist once said that the real purpose of painting is to seek the memory of Allah and to see the world from the point of view of him. This can’t be more clear, that is to say, different styles of painting reflect different perspectives of viewing the world, and also reflect different memories of Allah. In this way, we can understand that the choice and struggle of painters on painting methods and styles is also the choice and struggle between different beliefs. It can be seen that this story is an exploration of the relationship between individual existence (artists and their personal preferences) and group spirit (orientation of belief) and the two. As Pamuk himself said, the choice of painting method and style represents different perspectives and ways of viewing the world. Western aesthetics represent viewing from a personal perspective, while the aesthetics of traditional Islamic painting is to see through the eyes of God, more like reading the world through spiritual eyes. Therefore, it can be said that this novel considers the purely metaphysical issue of the relationship between man and God.
  In terms of art, one of the most important features of “My Name is Red” is the constant change of its narrative perspective. A corpse, a dog, a murderer, a gold coin, two lovers, a tree and red all become equal narrators in this novel, constantly revealing to us a hint of their experiences and observations Silk clues, together to complete such a treacherous and gloomy story. Such a narrative method undoubtedly creates a lot of suspense, which fits the atmosphere of such a homicide-based story. Of course, this way of narration is closely related to the author’s metaphysical thinking about the world, as the author himself said: “In my stories not only the characters themselves can speak, but also many different objects and colors will appear. I I think these unique voices can make up a rich piece of music that shows what everyday life in Istanbul looked like hundreds of years ago. The shift in perspective actually reflects the novel’s main focus on finding the world of the past from our point of view through the point of view of God’s existence.” This anti-perspective way of looking at the world echoes the key content of the work—miniature painting. Frequent switching of perspectives occurs in many works, but it is rare that this narrative method can be so perfectly unified with the content and ideas to be expressed. In this sense, Pamuk has found the most appropriate form of telling the story.
  As we know, if any literary work loses its inquiries about metaphysical issues and its attention to reality, even if it sells well, it will only become a fleeting moment in literary history and eventually disappear from people’s sight. Likewise, a literary work, no matter how philosophical it may be, will simply be shelved if it loses its readers. It is not necessary to be high and low, the key depends on the skill of the author. In this sense, we have to applaud Orhan Pamuk for his novel ability to perfectly integrate literary techniques into easy-to-read stories.