This volume features the suppressed original first chapter of Leyla, Zaimoglu’s critically and commercially most successful novel, first published in 2006, as well as an extensive interview with the author. Critical essays on his writing by major scholars in the field cover issues of gender, language and power, the politics of ethnicity, religion, Romanticism and anti-modernism, and the challenges of translating his work. This is the first volume of criticism in any language dedicated to Zaimoglu’s literary work.
Frauke Matthes ‘Der Fremde das war dein Vater’: Turkish Muslim Masculinism in Leyla
Frauke Matthes ‘Der Fremde … das war dein Vater’:1 Turkish Muslim Masculinism in Leyla Since the Islamic fundamentalist suicide attacks on Western cities and insti- tutions in the early to mid-2000s, in Western perception Islam has become the fundamentally ‘Other’. The religion’s otherness is often discussed in terms of gender, yet primarily from a rather one-dimensional perspective: the media tend to focus on violence within Muslim minorities in the West such as honour killings,2 not least because these incidents serve a Western audience’s voyeuristic desire to look inside Muslim life in Europe and – no less significantly – secure sales for newspapers and audiences for television programmes. The theme of the violent father, brother or husband who physically and psychologically abuses his submissive daughter, sister or wife has been a fixture in German Turkish writing about Islam since the 1980s. Examples include, in fiction, Saliha Scheinhardt’s narratives collected in works such as Frauen, die sterben ohne daß sie gelebt hätten [Women who die without having lived] (1983) and Und die Frauen weinten Blut [And the women wept blood] (1999), or the recent journalistic publications of Necla Kelek such as Die fremde Braut [The foreign bride] (2005). These works include largely stereotypical, even Orientalist representations of gender in Islam. Although the authors certainly did not invent brutality in some Muslim families for the purpose of writing their books, a number of other writers with a Muslim background challenge in their writing the mono-dimensional portrayal of Turkish society in Germany as represented...
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