Aug. 19, 2004
Vol. 23 No. 20

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    Iz, scholar of Turkish literature, dies at 93

    Fahir Iz, Professor Emeritus in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, died in Istanbul Monday, July 5. He was 93. Iz was renowned for his comprehensive understanding of Turkish literature and taught at Chicago in the 1970s.

    His broad and deep knowledge is still accessible through the many articles he contributed to the standard Encyclopedia of Islam, his anthologies of Turkish literature and his work on the Oxford Turkish Dictionary.

    Robert Dankoff, Professor in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations and the College, remembered him as “a gentlemanly, friendly individual, always helpful to younger scholars and extremely polite.”

    Born in Istanbul in 1911, Iz received a cosmopolitan education through the Italian High School, the French College Saint-Michel and the Galatasaray LycĂ©e in that city. He went on to earn his License in literature from the University of Istanbul in Turkish and Persian studies. His thesis, titled A Study of the Mi’rajname, is based on a unique manuscript in the Bibliothèque National in Paris.

    After study in Berlin and service in the Turkish Army, Iz was appointed Docent of Turkish literature at the University of Istanbul in 1941. He then taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and began the Turkish program at Oxford. He returned to Istanbul in 1954, to accept the chair in Classical Turkish Literature at Istanbul University.

    In 1958, Iz was appointed chairman of the National Commission on Education in Turkey and professor of Turkish literature at Robert College in Istanbul the following year. During the 1960s, he taught at Columbia University, McGill University and the University of Toronto. In 1971, Iz joined the Chicago faculty and taught here until his retirement in 1976, whereupon he returned home to Istanbul.

    His publications include the multi-volume critical edition of Saltuk-Name (The Legend of Sari Saltuk); several versions of the Oxford Turkish Dictionary; an edition of an early 19th-century Turkish play, which he discovered in the Vienna National Library; An Anthology of Modern Turkish Short Stories; and anthologies of prose and poetry in classical Turkish literature.

    Iz is survived by his son, Tahir.