Turkish Folk Romance as Performance Art
Ilhan Basgoz
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 12/17/2008
Format: Paperback 11 b&w photos, 7 figures
ISBN: 978-0-253-38017-3
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Hikâye is an engaging study of Turkish romance by its leading contemporary student. Ilhan Basgöz presents vivid descriptions of the singers who perform these tales, the performance venues, interactions between singers and audiences, and the romance texts as artistic objects. Part of the fun is the playful interaction between the author and the seasoned characters who taught him their poetic craft. Hikâye will be the definitive work on this tradition, which has cognates in Persian and Arabic tale-telling, as well as links to European medieval romances. A valuable contribution to folklore studies, for scholars, students, and general readers alike.

Author Bio

Ilhan Bagöz is Professor Emeritus of Folklore and Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University.


“Through playful interaction between Basgöz and the seasoned characters teaching this poetic craft, this introduction to the songs, singers, and performance of an important romance tradition becomes a valuable contribution to folklore studies, for scholars, students, and general readers alike.”

“A truly important contribution to folklore and to Turkish studies. The interviews with the artists, the text of the romance, and the index of fifty romances make the work an essential contribution to folkloristics.”
 — Henry Glassie

“Başgöz provides myriads of information and interviews that leave the door open for other folklorists and oral historians to continue to research and study the hikâye in light of current society and technological development. Hikâye is an excellent read for both the scholar and the student indeed for any person who wishes to learn about Turkish folklore romance.”

“Başgöz’s book . . . is useful for shedding light on a less explored area of verbal art. It will be of interest to folklorists, students of folklore, area specialists in Middle Eastern Studies and the Mediterranean, and especially to specialists and students in Turkish Studies. Başgöz is a true witness to the âşık. I read this book as the opus magnum of the author, who considers the âşık and hikâye performances in a holistic, comparative perspective.”
 — Western Folklore

“. . . one of the most original and compelling ethnographies of folklore that I have read in years. Başgöz creatively interweaves his theoretical enquiry with a narrative rendition of his encounters with [teller-singer] aşıks, a rendition rich in aşıks’ words and experiences. In addition, he powerfully juxtaposes his own autobiographical narratives, ethnopoetry, memories, and reflections with his thoughtful and detailed analysis.January 26, 2009”
 — Mustafa Kemal Mirzeler, Western Michigan University

“[This] the culmination of a lifetime of fieldwork dating back to [the author's] formative years working under the renowned Turkish folklorist, Pertev Naili Boratav. As such, the book is not only an overview of the performance of hikâye, or folk romance, but it is also an ethnographic history chronicling the dramatic changes that have taken place within that tradition, as it has largely disappeared from rural Anatolia. . . Başgöz, with the benefit of half a century of fieldwork, offers a helpful corrective to previous scholarship on Turkish performance poetries. 55.1 Winter 2011”
 — Ethnomusicology

“Híkâye bears the marks of meticulous research and thoughtful reflection about Turkish folklore and studies of verbal arts in general. İlhan Başgöz’s examination of Turkish folk romance demonstrates useful techniques for the inquiry of both theory and performance dynamics. Başgöz’s unique investigation also attends to what has often been ignored in the scholarly research of Turkish folk romance art and artistry in general, making it a functional paradigm for performance analysis, and for Middle East scholars in particular.”
 — Journal of American Folklore

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Table of Contents


1. Introduction
2. Kars
3. The Ashik
4. Pattern and Structural Analysis of the Hikâye
5. Performance
6. The Audience

Epilogue: A Sad Farewell

Appendix A Plot Outlines of Fifty Hikâye Romances

References Cited
General Index