Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar: Saatleri Ayarlama Enstitüsü (The Time Regulation Institute)

The latest addition to my website is Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar‘s Saatleri Ayarlama Enstitüsü (The Time Regulation Institute). As part of his reforms, Kemal Atatürk decreed that every town should have a clock so people would know the precise time. This book satirises this. We follow the life of Hayri Irdal in some detail. He is a man who has had a difficult romantic, financial and professional life with a few ups and a lot more downs. However, he has taken an interest in timepieces and when he meets Halit Ayarcı, the two join forces to create the the Time Regulation Institute. Its function is to regulate timne in Turkey. People can check their timepieces at various convenient places and can be fined for having a timepiece which is not accurate. Tanpınar satirises the whole enterprise, from its excessive staff to Hayri Irdal’s biography of the great Ahmet the Timely, their inspiration and patron saint, who did not, in fact, exist. Tanpınar’s satirical method is to treat it all with deadly seriousness, even while satirising the whole enterprise. At times, particularly with Hayri Irdal’s early life, it drags a bit but is an excellent satire.

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