MESA Banner
Politicizing Waltz: Dancing and National Identity in Safveti Ziya’s in the Corners of Salons
In the Corners of Salons (Salon Köşelerinde, 1988) of Safveti Ziya, a prominent member of the famous New Literature Group, tells the romance of Sekip, the Europeanized Ottoman man and an English woman named Lydia. The novel takes place in the culturally and socially European district Beyoglu’s ballrooms, cafés, restaurants, and salons which are presented as venues where Ottomans were outnumbered by Europeans and where they struggled to prove themselves as civilised as any European. Eager to fight back against misconceptions about Turks, Sekip tries to woo Lydia by his knowledge of etiquette and sense of decorum, but more than anything else by his ability to waltz as they dance in the grand and petit salons of Beyoglu. This paper explores the role of dancing and waltz in the late 19th century Ottoman social life as an expression of national identity and patriotism. It also addresses the question how waltz, the classic dance of romance in 19th century novels, transforms dance salons of this Ottoman novel into contested zones of nationalism and the seeming story of romance into a political narrative.
Geographic Area
Ottoman Empire
Sub Area