On the Eloquence and Silence of Objects
Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence
Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence, located in Istanbul, is part of a unique literary experiment in which artistic displays of three-dimensional objects correlate to the author’s eponymous novel, The Museum of Innocence. In this paper I compare the fictional museum, as described by Kemal, the narrator, to the real museum, as described by Pamuk in The Innocence of Objects, and I investigate the role of objects in both museums. Objects land in the real museum for various reasons, from found objects that Pamuk inserted in the novel and in the museum because he fell in love with them when he discovered them in a junk store, to objects that play a strategic role in the plot, and that Pamuk had specially manufactured for the museum. The paper also studies the narrator’s philosophy of collecting, which evolves from fetishism to hoarding to artistic design, as well as the question of the language of objects, as perceived by Pamuk, by Kemal, and by the visitor to the museum.