Cities of Literature: Cities Where Writers Lived and Got Their Inspirations From

Literature is one of the oldest and most effective branches of art that express the emotions, thoughts, and imagination of humanity. Many writers were influenced by the culture, geography, and people in the cities that they lived in or visited while writing their works. These cities, which inspire the works of Turkish and foreign writers, have a very special place in the history of literature. We are inviting you on a beautiful journey to trace the cities of literature from the bohemian streets of Paris to Istanbul. Let’s explore these special cities where writers live and inspire their works together.

A Little Love, A Little Hate: Prague – Franz Kafka

We are first setting our route to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. This city, the birthplace of Franz Kafka, inspires many of the works the author left behind. This city, which he both loved and hated, was always a place with deep meaning for the author. He also expresses this situation with the words “Prague never lets you go…” Kafka, the child of a middle-class Jewish family, had difficulty becoming a part of Prague due to his religious views and cultural differences. The theme of alienation, which the author frequently deals with in his works, proves the love-hate relationship he established with Prague. 

The house where Kafka grew up in Prague serves as a museum today. The Franz Kafka Museum, where Kafka’s original letters, diaries and drawings are exhibited, can be quite exciting, especially for literature lovers.

Quite Beautiful, Poor and a Sorrowful City: Kars – Orhan Pamuk

Nobel Prize-winner author Orhan Pamuk places the beautiful city of Eastern Anatolia, Kars, in the background of Kar (Snow), known as his first and only political novel. While the author describes political disagreements and tension, he also conveys the city of Kars to the readers like a picture. Orhan Pamuk offers the reader a wide range of information about the architecture, climate, and culture of Kars through the eyes of Poet Ka, the protagonist of the novel. You can read the novel Kar (Snow) to feel like you have been to this city that had become a part of Orhan Pamuk and to witness the impact Kars had on Orhan Pamuk.

A Warm Yellow Oasis: Adana – Yaşar Kemal

The relationship of Yaşar Kemal, one of the master names of Turkish literature with the city of Adana, is on a completely different level. Yaşar Kemal, who was born in Osmaniye, a province of Adana, in 1923, gives a wide place to the culture of the region in his works. Dealing with the nature, people and problems of the region, Yaşar Kemal tells his readers everything about Adana in great detail.

In his novels, Yaşar Kemal effectively deals with the problems he experienced in Çukurova throughout history. Especially in his novel İnce Memed, set in Çukurova, he meticulously deals with the backwardness of the Anatolian people and the misery of village life. You can feel like you are in the middle of a warm yellow oasis by reading Yaşar Kemal’s unique works written in both an epic and realistic style.

City of Literature: Dublin – James Joyce

Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is certainly a city of literature. So much so that many of the works of the famous writer James Joyce bear the traces of the city, which fascinates with its natural beauty and historical texture. Ulysses, one of the best-known novels of Joyce, who was born in Dublin, is one of the best examples of this. While reading Ulysses, it is possible that you may want to discover the places where Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of the novel, went to Dublin and shared his adventures. If you happen to be in Dublin, you can visit the James Joyce Tower and Museum, which is dedicated to James Joyce because he was mentioned in the first part of Ulysses.

The City Where Masterpieces Were Born: Havana – Ernest Hemingway 

Havana, the capital of Cuba, is one of the cities where writers and artists are most influenced. 

It is possible to say that this colorful city, known for its freedom struggle, entertaining people, and street musicians, has inspired many works. Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winner American writer Ernest Hemingway is also known for spending most of his life in Havana. Staying at the hotel called Ambos Mundos, Hemingway wrote his famous works such as For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Farewell to Arms here. The hotel room where Hemingway lived in Havana, which brought the breeze of the city to his works, now serves as a museum.

Streets That Force You to Search for a Meaning: Saint Petersburg – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Undoubtedly, it is almost impossible to separate Dostoyevsky and the city of Saint Petersburg. Many of the works of Dostoyevsky, one of the most important writers of Russian literature, about the inner world of people, are set in Saint Petersburg. You can see the details of the city in great detail, especially in many of the author’s successful novels such as Crime and Punishment, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man and White Nights.

If you happen to be in Saint Petersburg one day, you can visit the house where the author lived for a while which today serves as the F.M. Dostoyevsky Literary- Memorial Museum. If you wish, you can also explore the streets where Raskolnikov had passed by and met Nastenka during one of the white nights in the city!

The City That Inspired the Queen of Crime: Istanbul – Agatha Christie

It is not possible to think of Agatha Christie, known as the most-read author of all time after Shakespeare, without mentioning Istanbul! Agatha Christie wrote her novel Murder on the Orient Express, which attracted a lot of attention from readers, in Istanbul. She also included the culture, people, and historical structure of Istanbul in this page-turner novel.

Agatha Christie, who wrote her work in room 411 of the Pera Palace Hotel, always stayed in the same room during her trips to Istanbul between 1926 and 1932. Today, this room welcomes its guests under the name Agatha Christie Room. The Agatha Christie Room, which is frequently visited by crime enthusiasts, is worth seeing with its library containing the famous author’s books published in different languages, a replica of the typewriter that she used and furniture reflecting the spirit of the period. You can spend a pleasant day exploring the fascinating atmosphere of Pera Palace Hotel and enjoy literature.

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