Art, desire, and death in Orhan Pamuk's my name is red
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CitationLekesizalın, F. (2009). Art, desire, and death in Orhan Pamuk's my name is red. English Studies in Africa. 52.2, 90-103.
Orhan Pamuk's 1998 novel, My Name is Red, features the field of art as torn with the ambiguities and the paradoxes of desire and the Ottoman miniaturist as torn with the dilemmas of East/West, reality/representation, tradition/innovation, and pleasure/pain. Except for the evident preoccupation with the differences of aesthetic concepts between the East and the West, My Name is Red further penetrates into the nature of representation and reality and explores the desire for perfection in art. Connected with the desire for immortality, the desire for perfection is projected onto the Western Other by the Ottoman artist and emerges as the unattainable object as well as the main drive for artistic creativity in the novel. In Pamuk's novel, art can be a pleasurable experience so far as it supports the fantasies of completeness and perfection and so far as it forecloses the realization of perfection which does not necessarily bring full satisfaction. The mysterious allure of art is rather consisted in its reproduction of desire as such.