Nazim Híkmet Ran

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nazim Híkmet Ran


Born Jan. 20, 1902, in Thesaloniki; died June 3, 1963, in Moscow. Turkish writer and public figure. Founder of Turkish revolutionary poetry.

Nazim Hikmet Ran was born into an aristocratic family. He began to publish in 1917. In 1920 he left occupied Istanbul for Anatolia, where a war of national liberation was in progress. In 1921, Nazim Hikmet visited the Soviet Union and studied at the Communist University for Workers of the East. He became a Communist in 1922. In 1924, Nazim Hikmet returned to Turkey, where he contributed to revolutionary newspapers and journals. He visited the Soviet Union again in 1927.

Nazim Hikmet’s first book of poetry, Song of the Sun-drinkers, was published in Baku in 1928. His work of this period was written in opposition to Turkish salon poetry, which was far removed from everyday life, and expressed his extremely “leftist” aesthetic views. Nazim Hikmet’s verses of these years contained many formalistic excesses.

Nazim Hikmet returned to Turkey in 1928. In his poetry collections 835 Lines (1929), Varan-3 (1930), 1 + 1 = 1 (1930), and The City That Lost Its Voice (1931), he wrote about the difficult life of the Turkish people, called for a struggle against the oppressors, and praised revolution. In his narrative poem La Gioconda and Hsi Ya-wu (1929) and the novel in verse Why Did Benerci Commit Suicide? (1932), Nazim Hikmet attacked the colonial policy of the imperialists. The plays The Skull (1932), The Dead Man’s House (1932), and The Forgotten Man (1935) deal with the fate of the individual in capitalist society.

For his poetry collection The Telegram That Came in the Night (1932), in which he urged Turkish Communists to be firm in their struggle for democracy, Nazim Hikmet was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. He was granted amnesty one year later. Subsequently, he was sentenced to imprisonment after almost every new book. In the verse collection Portraits (1935), the narrative poem Letters to Taranta Babu (1935), and the publicistic work German Fascism and the Race Theory (1936), Nazim Hikmet exposed fascism and its Turkish supporters.

The year 1936 saw the appearance of the last book by Nazim Hikmet to be published in Turkey during his lifetime, Poem About Sheikh Bedreddin şimavne; the pamphlet National Pride, essentially a translation of V. I. Lenin’s “On the National Pride of the Great Russians,” was published as a supplement to this book.

In 1938, Nazim Hikmet was sentenced to 28 years of imprisonment. In all, he spent 17 years in Turkish jails. There he composed the epic The Human Panorama, a poetical history of the 20th century, the poetry cycle Letters From Prison, and the plays Legend About Love and Yusuf the Magnificent. In 1950, the Turkish government, under the pressure of world-wide public opinion, was forced to release Nazim Hikmet. In 1951 he settled in the USSR, which became his second homeland. Here he wrote the plays A Story About Turkey (1952), The Eccentric (1955), and But Was There an Ivan Ivanovich? (1956).

Nazim Hikmet introduced free verse into Turkish poetry. The oratory and high emotion of his early verse later gave way to profound lyricism. His influence on modern Turkish poetry has been great and an entire school is associated with his name.

Nazim Hikmet’s poetry has been translated into many of the world’s languages, and his plays have been staged in Europe, America, and Asia. He wrote the scenarios for the Soviet films Two From the Same Neighborhood (1957), The Lovesick Cloud (1959), and Peace to Your Home (1963). He also wrote the story for the ballet Legend of Love (music by A. Melikov).

Nazim Hikmet Ran was a member of the Bureau (elected 1951) and Presidium (elected 1959) of the World Peace Council. He received the International Peace Prize (1950).



Bütün eserleri, vols. 1–8. Sofia, 1962–73.
şöohret veya unutulan adam, 2nd ed. Ankara, 1966.
Bütün eserleri, vol. 1. Istanbul, 1968.
Kemal Tahire mahpusaneden mektuplar. Ankara, 1968.
Yaşamak güzelşey be kardeşim, 3rd ed. Istanbul, 1970.
Bursa cezaevinden Va-Nu’lara mektuplar. Istanbul, 1970.
Memleketimizden insan manzaralarn, vols. 1–5. Istanbul, 1967–71.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. soch., vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1957.
Chelovecheskaia panorama. Moscow, 1962.
P’esy. Moscow, 1962.
Romantika. Roman. Moscow, 1964.
Lirika. Moscow, 1968.


Babaev, A. A. Nazym Khikmet. Moscow, 1957.
Gorbatkina, G. A. P’esy-Iegendy Nazyma Khikmeta. Moscow, 1967.
Fish, R. G. Nazym Khikmet. Moscow, 1968.
Va-Nu. Bu dünyadan Nazim geçti. Istanbul, 1965.
Orhan, Kemal. Nazim Hikmet’le üç buçuk ytl. Istanbul, 1965.
Sülker, K. Nazim Hikmet dosyasi. Istanbul, 1967.
Yücebaş , H. Nazim Hikmet türk bastinmda. Istanbul, 1967.
Sertel, Z. Mavi gözlüdev. Istanbul, 1969.
Aydemir, A. Nazim. Ankara, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.