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Fatma Aliye (1862-1936)
The first Turkish female philosopher Fatma Aliye, born in 1862 in Istanbul, was also one of the first female novelists of Turkish literature. Although Zafer Hanım wrote a novel, "Aşk-ı Vatan" published in 1877, Fatma Aliye Hanım is known as the first female novelist, unlike Zafer Hanım, as she had several novels published.
Fatma Aliye is the daughter of the Historian Ahmed Cevdet Pasha. She took the surname "Topuz" in 1934. She received a good education during her childhood and had the chance to improve her knowledge of French, Arabic, history, literature, mathematics, law, Arabian history and philosophy.
She started her career in 1889 under a pseudonym, Bir Hanım (A Lady), by translating a novel (Volonté) by George Ohnet into Turkish with the title "Meram". Fatma Aliye's efforts were praised by the author Ahmed Mithat in the newspaper Tercüman-ı Hakikat.
She used the pseudonym, Mütercime-i Meram (The female Translator of Meram), in her later works on philosophy, biography and literature. Fatma Aliye usually used emotional themes in her novels and published her first novel named Muhadarat in 1892. This novel is considered to be her best work.
Fatma Aliye lived during the Tanzimat Period and defended women's rights in that period by generally writing on subjects such as a women's place in society, the family and marriage and the importance of women's education.
Besides being an author, Fatma Aliye was a poet. Her poems are characterized with subjects such as patriotism, women rights and criticism of the admiration of the West.
Fatma Aliye also worked for women's involvement in social life and established Şevkat-i Nisvan Derneği (Women's Care Association) with her sister Emine Semiyye and made efforts to support women's education and to ensure women's participation in production.
In addition to the novel named Hayal ve Hakikat (Dream and Truth) that she wrote with Ahmet Mithat Efendi in 1891, her other published novels are Muhadarat (1892-1893), Ref'et (1898), Udi (The Lute Player) (1899) and Enin (1910). In her last work named Ahmed Cevdet Paşa ve Zamanı (Ahmed Cevdet Pasha and His Time) (1914), she described political life after the Meşrutiyet (Constitutional Monarchy) Period. Fatma Aliye also wrote a philosophy book called Teracim-i Felasife (1900).
Fatma Aliye's novels and other works attracted the attention of the European and American press and some of her works were translated into French and Arabic. In addition, her biography and works were exhibited and hence, included in the catalogue of the library of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Fatma Aliye died in Istanbul in 1936.