The Phantom Author of an Unfathomable Land: Ali and Nino

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DOI: 10.5782/2223-2621.2012.15.4.50
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Abstract (2. Language): 
The novel Ali and Nino is considered one of the pioneering texts of modern Azerbaijan literature. The undiminished interest in the novel with its nearly 100 editions or reprints, and translations into 33 languages, indicates its importance as a universal as well as a national narrative. Despite that, there remains the mystery about the identity of its author who published the book under the pseudonym Kurban Said. According to some researchers, the author is Lev Nussimbaum who worked in Berlin as a journalist and an "expert on the Orient" under the name Essad Bey for a decade between the two World Wars. It is known in Azerbaijan also as the novel of Yusif Vazir Çamanzaminli. The debates around the identity of the author and the historical documentation on the topic is without a doubt valuable and contributes to Azerbaijani and Germanophone studies; however, it adds very little, if anything, to our appreciation of the work as a literary text. In my paper, I propose a comparison between the works of Çamanzaminli and Ali and Nino. I especially focus on Çamanzaminli's Studentlar and the diary narrative, Bir Cavanin Daftari. First, I investigate the themes and characterization of the authors, and then discuss narrative technique and stylistic delicacies. Therefore, setting off from the texts themselves and discarding historical documents as much as I can, I demonstrate a comparative textual analysis and also try to find new means to solve the question of authorship of the novel.



f Vazir. 9li va Nino. Trans. (from Turkish) Orxan Vazirov and Fikrat
Vazirov. Baku: Qanun, 2010. . Bir Cavanin Daftari. ösarlari Üç Cildda. Vol. 3. Ed. Tofiq Hüseynoğlu. Baku:
Avrasiya Press, 2005. 5-44.
The Phantom Author of an Unfathomable Land: Ali and Nino
. Studentlar. Ed. Maryam Axundova. Baku: Avrasiya Press, 2006.
Goble, Paul. "Not Just a Question of Authorship: A Literary Excavation into 'Ali and
Nino'." Azerbaijan in the World 4.3 (February 1, 2011): 4-6. Internet. May 25, 2011.
Kurban Said. Ali and Nino. Trans. Jenia Graman. London: Hutchinson & Co, 1970.
. 9li va Nino. [Trans. Mirza Hazar and Macid Musazada]. Baku: Şarq-Qarb, 2006.
Reiss, Tom.
Tuhaf ve Tehlike Dolu Bir Hayatın Aydınlanan Sırrı. Trans. Selda
: İletişim Yayınları, 2009. Original book: The Orientalist:
Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life. New York: Random House,

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