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Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar (1901-62) has been called the most important Turkish novelist of the twentieth century. Born in Istanbul, he traveled widely in Anatolia before returning in 1919, after the First World War, to Istanbul to study literature with the poet laureate Yahya Kemal. Deeply influenced by Paul Valéry and Bergson, Tanpinar created a cultural universe in his work, bringing together Western forms of writing and the sensibilies of a decadent Ottoman culture. He taught aesthetics, mythology, and literature at the University of Istanbul.