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8. The New Woman in Erotic Popular Literature of 1920s Istanbul

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Chapter Summary

The popular press of the occupation years made particular reference to what it called the 'worldly woman,' who closely resembled the new woman image of Europe and the United States. This chapter discusses why popular erotic literature was a revolutionary site for illustrating changes brought to women's lives in the 1920s, as society was transformed, dislodged from its imperial context, and shifted to that of a nation-state. Women were described through two major literary tropes in these stories, relying on elements of tragedy or comedy. Given how definitions of the obscene may vary by the individual, the period, and the society, these stories from 1920s Istanbul might not be considered particularly so by today's standards. Suicide was a frequently employed motif particularly in popular erotic stories featuring girls and women lacking control and discipline; it is often found in stories with didactic tone and purpose.

Keywords:comedy; Istanbul; new woman; popular erotic literature; suicide



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