Writer, art historiographer (b. 18 March 1915, Sivrihisar / Eskişehir - d. 23 January 1986, İstanbul). After attending Sivrihisar Primary School (1928), he moved to Eskişehir with his family. He graduated from Eskişehir High School in 1935 and, influenced by his teachers, he went to İstanbul to study at Istanbul University, Faculty of Literature, Department of Philosophy. He began to study at the Department of Turkish Language and Literature, and attended lectures of philosophy, psychology and sociology in an assisting capacity. In 1936 he went to Germany on a scholarship arranged by Reşit Rahmeti Arat and he learnt German. During these years he made translation studies in order to improve his French, which he had begun to learn at high school. After his return from Germany, he prepared a work with the title Eşrefoğlu Rumî-Hayatı ve Eserleri (Eşrefoğlu Rumi-His Life and Works). In 1939, he graduated from his faculty with his thesis “Emir Sultan”. The same year, he was accepted to the faculty as a candidate assistant by Prof. Fuat Köprülü.. However, Köprülü embarked on a career in politics and Kaplan became the assistant of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, who was appointed in Köprülü’s place.
1939, he began writing his doctorate thesis on Namık Kemal. In 1942, he became
the second person in Turkey after Ali Nihat Tarlan, to receive the title
“Doctor of Letters” with his thesis named Namık Kemal, Hayatı ve Eserleri
(Namık Kemal, His Life and Works). The same year he married Behice Moyuncur,
teacher of literature. In 1944, he received his assistant professor’s degree
with his thesis titled Tevfik Fikret ve Şiiri (Tevfik Fikret and His
Poetry). From 1944 to 1946, he did his military service at Büyükçekmece
Elementary School and Konya Military Elementary School. In 1949, he was sent to
France for a year by the faculty and there he attended lectures, seminars and
conferences, and conducted scientific studies at the Sorbonne. He spent the
July and August of
In 1958, he joined the volunteer founding academicians of Atatürk University, and he had posts there as the Dean of the Faculty of Literature and as the attorney of the rector. In 1962, after Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s death, he was appointed to the Chair of Turkish Literature. In 1966, his wife Behice Hanım passed away. Mehmet Kaplan, on his return from Europe, where he stayed six months (1967), was elected a member of the General Assembly of the Organization for Press Publications and in 1973 he was elected a member of İstanbul University Senate and to Director of the Institute of Turkish Research in 1974.
After the changes in the law on university education, number 2547, he was appointed as Head of the Turkish Language and Literature department at İstanbul University, Faculty of Literature and in 1983 and General Director of the Institute of Turkish Research for the second time. In the same year, he was elected a member of the supreme board of the Atatürk Culture, Language and History Higher Association, and subsequently he had various and dignified offices at almost all commissions for culture, language and education, established by the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of National Education and the State Planning Organization. In 1984, he retired but went on giving lectures for graduates in master and doctorate programs at Marmara University’s Department of Turkish Language and Literature.
Kaplan, who is famous for his studies on Turkish literature after the administrative reforms of 1839 and for his analyses of poems and stories, began his literary career with research articles published in the review İstanbul. Later on, he published his articles and other forms of writing in İnkılapçı Gençlik, Hareket, İstanbul, Bayrak, Hisar, Türk Edebiyatı, Meydan, Türk Yurdu, Türk Kültürü, Türk Düşüncesi, Millî Kültür, Şadırvan, İstanbul, Yol, Çağrı. On the 100th anniversary of Atatürk’s birth, he collected the Turkish National Culture Atatürk Award in 1981 for his study with the title Devrin Yazarlarının Kalemiyle Millî Mücadele ve Gazi Mustafa Kemal (The National Independence War and Mustafa Kemal as Depicted by the Writers of the Time - 1981), which he had prepared in collaboration with assistants and assistant professors under his professorship (İ. Enginün, B. Emil, N. Birinci, A. Uçman). The same year, he received the Writers Union of Turkey Eminent Services Award. His books were re-published by Dergâh publications after his death.
Tevfik Fikret ve Şiiri (Tevfik Fikret and His Poetry, 1946; with the title Tevfik Fikret, 1971), Namık Kemal (Namık Kemal, doctorate thesis, 1948), Tanpınar'ın Şiir Dünyası (Tanpınar’s World of Poetry, 1964), Şiir Tahlilleri (Analyses of Poetry, 2 volumes, 1954-65), Nesillerin Ruhu (Spirit of Generations, essays, 1967), Büyük Türkiye Rüyası (The Great Turkish Dream, articles and essays, 1969), Cumhuriyet Devri Türk Şiiri (Turkish Poetry During the Republican Era, 1973; new edition, 1990), Türk Edebiyatı Üzerine Araştırmalar (Research on Turkish Literature, Before Islam to After the reforms, 1976), Edebiyatımızın İçinden (From the Inside of Our Literature, articles, 1978), Hikâye Tahlilleri (Analyses of Stories, 1979), Oğuz Kağan Destanı (The Epic of Oğuz Kağan, 1979), Atatürk Devri Fikir Hayatı (Theoretical Life in Atatürk’s Era, with İnci Enginün, Birol Emil, Necat Birinci, Zeynep Kerman, Abdullah Uçman, 1981), Atatürk Devri Türk Edebiyatı (Turkish Literature in Atatürk’s Era, with İnci Enginün, Birol Emil, Necat Birinci, Zeynep Kerman, Abdullah Uçman, 1981), Devrin Yazarlarının Kalemiyle Millî Mücadele ve Mustafa Kemal (The National Independence War and Mustafa Kemal as Depicted by the Writers of the Time, with İnci Enginün, Necat Birinci and Abdullah Uçman, 2 volumes, 1981), Kültür ve Dil (Culture and Language, essays, 1982), Tip Tahlilleri (Character Analyses, 1985).
All of his books were re-published in the series Bütün Eserleri (All Works) by Dergâh Publications:
Ali'ye Mektuplar (Letters to Ali, 67 letters to his classmate Ali Ölmezoğlu written between the years 1939-1953 and a short diary he kept during August and September of 1953), Büyük Türkiye Rüyası (The Great Turkish Dream), Edebiyatımızın İçinden (From the Inside of Our Literature), Hikâye Tahlilleri (Analyses of Stories), Kültür ve Dil (Culture and Language), Nesillerin Ruhu (Spirit of Generations), Sevgi ve İlim (Love and Science), Tanpınar'ın Şiir Dünyası (Tanpınar’s World of Poetry), Tevfik Fikret Devir-Şahsiyet-Eser (Tevfik Fikret, His Time, Character and Works), Şiir Tahlilleri -1 Tanzimattan Cumhuriyete Analyses of Poems-1 From Reforms to the Republic), Şiir Tahlilleri -2 Cumhuriyet Devri (Analyses of Poems-2 The Republican Era), Türk Edebiyatı Üzerine Araştırmalar-1 (Research on Turkish Literature-1), Türk Edebiyatı Üzerine Araştırmalar-2 (Research on Turkish Literature-2), Türk Edebiyatı Üzerine Araştırmalar-3 Tip Tahlilleri (Research on Turkish Literature-3 Character Analyses).
REFERENCE: Suat Uzer / Mehmed Kaplan’