[FIRST HAMLET IN TURKISH] Hamlet. Translated by Abdullah Cevdet [Karlidag], (1869-1932).

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WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, (1564-1616)., Kütübhâne-i Içtihad, Cairo - Egypt, 1908.

Full leather binding in Ottoman style. A calligraphic title of 'Hamlet' in qufic stacked composition (istif). Foolscap 8vo. (18 x 12.5 cm). In Ottoman script (Old Turkish with Arabic letters). Shakespeare's late portrait on frontispiece. 243 p.

Extremely rare true first Turkish edition of Shakespeare's Hamlet in book form.

Although Hamlet was performed in Greek in 1842 and in Armenian in 1866, "the first complete translation of Hamlet was realized from French by Abdullah Cevdet and published in Cairo" (Arslan 2008: 159)". Between 1908 and 1910, Abdullah Cevdet produced a large oeuvre of translations, including four translations of Shakespeare's tragedies: Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and Romeo and Juliet to Ottoman Turkish. The publishing of Hamlet was in the same year as the Second Constitution (1908). Nonetheless, Abdülhamid II seemed to be even less tolerant of the dissemination of Hamlet, Macbeth, and Julius Caesar, since they were about unjust rulers who were executed at the end. It is not surprising that the performances of these plays have been subject to strict censorship in the Ottoman lands and banned." (Source: DR. ABDULLAH CEVDET'S TRANSLATIONS (1908-1910): THE MAKING OF A WESTERNIST AND MATERIALIST "CULTURE REPERTOIRE" IN A "RESISTANT" OTTOMAN CONTEXT, AYLUÇTARHAN).

This translation, completed on October 15th 1902 in Vienna, could only be published in Egypt in 1908, after Abdullah Cevdet was expelled from Vienna. Abdullah Cevdet completed the translation in 1902 while he worked as a physician at the Ottoman Embassy in Vienna, but could not publish it there as his duty was terminated with a denunciation, citing his criticisms of Abdülhamid II. As such, the publication of the "Hamlet" translation was made possible by the Içtihad Printing House which he established in Egypt.

Abdullah Cevdet was an Ottoman-born Turkish intellectual and physician, of Kurdish ethnic origin. He was one of the founders of the Committee of Union and Progress. In 1908, he turned against the Committee of Union and Progress and joined the Democratic Party that later on merged with the Freedom and Accord Party in 1911. He was also a poet, translator, radical free-thinker and ideologist of the Young Turks until 1908. This first and early translation of Shakespeare's masterpiece, Hamlet, includes grandiloquent language by Cevdet and many Persian words giving quite a poetic air.

Only one printed copy in OCLC, located in the British Library, St. Pancras. OCLC 771800504.; Özege 6774.