JEVDET, ʿABD-ALLĀH (ABDULLAH CEVDET, b. Arapkir, 9 September 1869; d. Istanbul, 29 November 1932), Ottoman poet, writer, translator, and thinker. He was the son of Ömer Wasfi Bey who belonged to the Ömer-oġulları Kurdish family. Upon finishing primary school in Hozat (Ḵozāt) and Arapkir he studied at the Military Middle School in the city of Maʿmurat al-ʿAziz (today Elazığ) in 1882-85, and then at the Kuleli Military High School in 1885-88 and at the Gülhane Military Medical School in 1888-94, both in Istanbul. During his military studies he developed an interest in politics and in 1890 became one of the founders and active members of the political group that later became known as the Society for Union and Progress (İttihad ve Terakki Cemiyeti). In 1894 he graduated as a medical officer. In 1896 he was exiled to Tripoli for political reasons. In 1897 he went through Tunisia and France to Geneva, where he joined the Young Turks. He wrote various articles for ʿOṯmānli, a critical newspaper, and founded the journal Qahriyāt which was against the Ottoman political system. In 1899, while continuing his political activities, he accepted the position of medical officer at the Ottoman Embassy in Vienna. After having been expelled from Austria in 1903, he went back to Geneva, where in 1904 he founded the periodical Ejteḥād. After some time he was expelled from Switzerland as well and came to Cairo in 1905 and then to Istanbul in 1910, where he renewed the publication of the Ejteḥād. Although this periodical was banned many times, he continued publishing it under different names. After World War I, he became director-general of public health for a short time. He wrote an article in which he praised Bahaism (see BAHAI FAITH) as an ideal religion. As a result of this, in 1922 he was summoned to court for having allegedly insulted the Prophet Muhammad, but in 1926 the proceedings were dropped. However, he was never again allowed to take any public post, because he had sided with the British after World War I and also because he had had contacts with Kürt Te’âli Cemiyeti (Society for the Advancement of the Kurds). He died from a heart attack on 29 November 1932 in Istanbul.

ʿAbd-Allāh Jevdet wrote 46 books and translated about 30 books on politics, philosophy, literature, history, psychology, and medicine. He mastered the Persian language and translated two books from Persian into Turkish. The first of them was Delmasti-e Mowlānā which contains parts of the Maṯnawi-e Maʿnawi and the Divān-e kabir by Mowlānā Jalāl-al-Din Rumi (Istanbul, 1921, pp. 3-60). Besides Rumi’s poems, it contains two more parts: one of them, entitled Robāʿiyāt-e Ḡazāli (pp. 61-97), includes Ḡazāli’s poems, and the other, under the title ’Urfi’de şi’ir ve ‘irfân (pp. 98-128), comprises selected poems from the divān by ʿOrfi Širāzi (1555-91). The language of the translation is very clear and impressive; footnotes were added for clarification.

ʿAbd-Allāh Jevdet’s second translation from Persian into Turkish is that of ʿOmar Ḵayyām’s quatrains (Robāʿiyāt-e Ḵayyām ve Türkçe’ye tercümeleri, Istanbul, 1914; 2nd ed. 1926; 3rd ed. 1926; Rubaîler, ed. Mehmet Kanar, Istanbul, 2000). Its introduction, entitled Ḥakim ʿOmar Ḵayyām, deals with Ḵayyām’s biography and poems. The original texts of the robāʿis are presented together with the Turkish translation (pp. 42-180), and footnotes have been provided to explain ambiguous places. He also added some Turkish couplets similar to Ḵayyām’s robāʿis, as well as an index for the robāʿis (pp. 182-89). This translation clearly shows the extent to which ʿAbd-Allāh Jevdet had mastered the Persian language as well as Turkish literature. However, this work was later criticized because some of the robāʿis were in fact not of ʿOmar Ḵayyām.



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Necati Alkan, “‘The Eternal Enemy of Islām’: Abdullah Cevdet and the Baha’i Religion,” BSOAS 68/1, 2005, pp. 1-20.

Dāneš-nāma-ye adab-e fārsi, vol. VI: Adab-e fārsi dar Ānātuli va Bālkān, ed. Ḥasan Anuša, Tehran, 2005, pp. 284-86.

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G. L. Lewis, “Djewdet,” EI2 II, 1965, p. 533.

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Karl Süssheim, “ʿAbd Allāh Djewdet,” EI, Supplement, 1938, pp. 55-60.

M. K. Özgül, “Abdullah Cevdet,” Türk Dünyası Edebiyatçıları Ansiklopedisi I, Ankara, 2002, pp. 46-47.

Hilmi Ziya Ülken, Türkiye’de çağdaş dü-şünce tarihi, Istanbul, 1979, pp. 240-54.

ʿOmar Ḵayyām, Robāʿiyāt-e Ḵayyām ve Türkçe’ye tercümeleri, Istanbul, 1914, 2nd ed. 1926.

Idem, Rubaîler, Turk. tr. Abdullah Cevdet, Hüseyin Daniş, and Hüseyin Rıfat, ed. Mehmet Kanar, Istanbul, 2000.

Jalāl-al-Din Rumi, Delmasti-e Mowlānā, Turk. tr. Abdullah Cevdet, Istanbul, 1921.

(Osman G. Özgüdenli)

Originally Published: December 15, 2008

Last Updated: April 13, 2012

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Vol. XIV, Fasc. 6, pp. 638-639