Burhan Toprak

Edebiyat Araştırmacısı, Çevirmen, Sanat Tarihçisi

16 Eylül, 1967
Paris Sorbonne University Department of Philosophy
Diğer İsimler
Burhan Ümid Toprak

Art historiographer, researcher of literature, translator (b. 1906, Demirci / Manisa –d. 16 September 1967, İstanbul). His full name was Burhan Ümid Toprak. He was the son of Doctor Ali Rıza Bey. He attended the French and American School in İzmir. After graduating from İzmir High School for Boys (Atatürk High School), he went to France for his education. He graduated from Paris Sorbonne University, Department of Philosophy in 1929 and returned home. He worked as art history teacher for several years starting in 1930 at the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts. He was appointed Director of the Academy in 1936 on the death of the incumbent, the painter Namık İsmail and pioneered the opening of the Department of Turkish Decorative Arts at this academy in the same year.

While he was the director, he did studies into rejuvenating the methods of education at the academy with the help of Lèopold Lèvy, Louis Sue Rudolf Belling and Bruna Tout who were foreign experts in this field. Although he left his directorship after the fire at the Academy in 1948, he continued to give lessons. He was also an inspector at the Ministry of National Education for three years and he was a member of the Board of Instruction and Education between 1949-50.

Burhan Toprak, who was one of the important names in the history of our literature and art, was the first who translated the famous work of Adrè Gide, Dar Kapı (Narrow Door) into Turkish. He collected and published Yunus Emre Divanı (The Divan* of Yunus Emre) and with his important work Ballar Balını Buldum (I Found the Honey of the Honeys) he became well known. He led the way in using the meter known as “Yunus Tarzı” (Yunus Style) in Turkish poetry. The first scientific research on Yunus Emre in which known sources were evaluated, was done by Fuad Köprülü (İlk Mutasavvıflar, The First Theologians, 1919). Burhan Toprak was the fist to rewrite in the new alphabet the 1885 lithograph publication of Yunus Emre Divanı (The Divan* of Yunus Emre - 3 volumes, the first two volumes were under the name Burhan Ümit, 1933. The third volume includes the research of Niyazi-i Mısri and Bursalı İsmail Hakkı: 1934). In this work of Burhan Toprak there is a perfect article named Başlangıç (The Start) that reads: “Before finding Yunus Emre, I was very bored with the feeling of Turkish literature.”

Burhan Toprak was interested in theosophy and had many discussions with those who were connected to Sufism. According to sources, he often met with with Kenan Rıfai, Nezihe Araz, Münevver Ayaşlı, Ahmet Adnan Saygun, Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi, Sâmiha Ayverdi, Sevgi Çağıl, Dr. Bedri Ruhselman and the men of letters Abdülbaki Gölpınarlı and Ahmet Kutsi Tecer.


STUDY-RESERCH: Yunus Emre Divanı (The Divan* of Yunus Emre (3rd volume, Booklet of Advice, Commentaries of Bursalı İsmail Hakkı and Niyazi-i Mısri, 1934; new editions 1972, 1982), Sanat Şaheserleri- Rönesanstan Bugüne Kadar (Masterpieces of Art-from the Renaissance to Today, 3 volumes, with Louis Hourticq, 1940-41, 4th edition, 1958), Sanat Tarihi (Art History, 1960).

ESSAY: Ballar Balını Buldum (I Found the Honey of the Honeys, 1940).

In addition, he translated works by Oscar Wilde, Andre Gide and Migeon.



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