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ALİ BEY (Direktör)

Playwright (b. 1844, İstanbul – d. 1899). He learned French on private lessons and firstly he worked at the Babiâli* Translation Office as a clerk, then he became a member of the Health Council and the first secretary of the Directorate of Quarantine. He went to the Eastern Anatolia, Iraq and Japan as an inspector of public debts (1855-88). After his duty as the Governor of Trabzon (1890-93) he became the director of the Office of Public Debts (1890-93), which would last to the end of his life. It is for this reason that he was called Direktör Ali Bey.

His first work was published in Diyojen (1869-72), the first humorous review, published by Teodor Kasap. Ali Bey, who was one of the regular writers of this review, wrote plays for the Gedik Paşa Theater, which was founded by the Armenian Güllü Agop and his friends, and wrote scripts adapted from French plays. He gave Turkish diction lessons to the Armenian actors and participated in theater activities. His plays were performed under the authorship “A Person” to hide his official identity. He explained the meanings of words satirically in his dictionary Lehçetü’l Hakayık (Language of Realities) which he wrote in 1897 and was the first work of its field; the faults of the 19th century Ottoman Empire were also criticized in this dictionary.

WORKS:

Kokana Yatıyor (Coquette Sleeps, comedy, 1870), Tosun Ağa (Lord Tosun, a comedy adapted from Moliere’s “Georges Dandin”, 1870), Ayyar Hamza (Hamza the Cheater, adapted from Moliere's Les Fourberies de Scapin. 1871), Misafiri İstiskal (Troublesome Guests, comedy, 1871), Gevete Beber (Gevete Beber, comedy, 1873), Govo Minar ve Şürekası (Govo Minar and His Colleagues, translated from Edmont Gondinet, comedy), Letafet (Beauty, opera-comedy, 1897), Çıngırak (The Bell, play, not published), Evlenmek İster Bir Adam (A Man Wants to Marry, novel, by Paul de Kocak, 1897), Seyahat Jurnali (Travel Journal, notes on travels from İstanbul to India, 1897), Seyyareler (Planets, mythological humorous tales, 1897). Lehçetü'l-Hakayık (a humorous dictionary, 1894, 1908; together with the writer’s story Seyyareler-Planets, by N. Hacıeminoğlu, 1962; by Şemsettin Kutlu together with the writer’s works Kokana Yatıyor-Coquette Sleeps, Misafiri İstiskal-Troublesome Guests, Ayyar Hamza-Hamza the Cheater and Seyahat Jurnali-Travel Journal, 1974).