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Abstract

In his article "The Cultural Translation of Ginsberg's Howl in Turkey" Erik Mortenson examines three Turkish translations of Allen Ginsberg's poem Howl in order to explore the ways in which Ginsberg's poem becomes redeployed in new cultural contexts. Orhan Duru and Ferit Edgü's 1976 translation presents a more politicized Ginsberg that draws on his anti-establishment credentials as a social activist. This comes as little surprise, since in pre-1980 coup Turkey rebellion was thought in purely political terms of right verses left. Hakan Arslan's 1991 update provides a less political and more familiar Ginsberg, in keeping with a society that left direct political struggle behind in favor of cultural politics. Şenol Erdoğan's version, published in 2013 by the controversial press 6:45, updated Ginsberg once again. Ginsberg became a marker of "hip," a spiritual guru who became equated with the mystical qualities of Sufism and Jalalad-din Mevlana Rumi. Tracing Howl's translation history provides a sense of recent Turkish cultural history. But it also allows Beat scholars to theorize how the reception of the Beats generates new versions, and thus new readings, of these countercultural texts.