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On Azerbaijan literature

  


Ancient literature of Azerbaijan 
The oldest example of written literature in Azerbaijan emerged during Median state in the sixth century BC (VII-VI centuries BC) and it is “Avesta”, an author of which is Prophet Zoroaster. Here, the dualistic outlook of the Azerbaijani people, the imagination of primary humans on struggle of the good and evil was reflected in this work.
Based on the ancient mythological world outlook epos Dede Gorgud was written in XI century BC under the name of Kitabi Deden Gorgud. And the copies known to the science are copies of XVI century’s manuscripts. According to opinion of German orientalist Friedrich von Dits, that first investigated the artistic monuments some of the mythological subjects had stimulated creation of analogical subjects in ancient Greece (Cyclopes).
Albanian literature, which date back to the V century and formed in the territory of Azerbaijan, should be considered as sources of our classic written literature. For example, Alp Er looks like Tonga. Poems of Azerbaijan-born poets of VII-VIII centuries that wrote in Arabic Abu Mohammed ibn Bashar, Musa Sahavat and Ismail ibn Yasar distinguish on certain level from then Arabic poetry with the critical spirit, the original art features.
The tradition of literary works written in Arabic continued among Azerbaijani poets till XI-XII centuries and famous artists like Khatib Tabrizi, Masud ibn Namdar had created samples of art enriching Azerbaijani literature in this language.
Since XI century with creation of Gatran Tabrizi (1012-1088) the Azerbaijani poetry school had entered a new stage of development using the Persian poetry (Dari).  
Inclusion of Azerbaijan in Seljukids State created by the Oghuz Turks in 1054, besides giving impetus to development of science, arts and literature, as well as helped to completion of the formation of the Turkic-speaking people. In the works of one of the greatest poets of the eleventh century Gatran Tabrizi, Azerbaijan-Turkish spirit, many words and features specific to Azerbaijani language left it depth traces. While the poet facing sometimes difficulty in finding the required rhymer in Arabic and Persian languages, addresses to his mother tongue.
In XII century the school of poetry in Azerbaijani literature that had great influence on the Near and Middle East, as well as world’s literature had completed its formation and its world-famous coryphaeuses like Khagani Shirvani, Nizami Ganjavi had appeared. 
With the support of Azerbaijani states of the XII century Shirvanshahs and Atabegs poets like  Abul-ula Ganjavi (1096-1159), Mehseti Ganjavi (1089-1183), Falaki Shirvani (1126-1160), Mujiraddin Beylagan (? -1190) etc were formed. 

Medieval literature of Azerbaijan  
Since the XIII century, under the influence of objective historical reality in the the literature of Azerbaijan created mainly in Arabic and Persian languages the number of poets and artists writing in their native language increases gradually. Since that time the period of ancient literature of Azerbaijan finishes and medieval period begins.
Lyric poets, such as İzzeddin Hasanoglu and Sheikh Safiaddin Ardebilli preferred to create secular poetry samples connected with live life rather than lyrical and epic samples consisted of Sufi-mystical ideas like in neighbouring peoples. Three works of Hasanoglu in Turkish, and one ghazal in Persian, small divan of Sheikh Safi creates an imagination on native literature of this period, and says about strong foundation for future great poetry.
The South Azerbaijani poet Humam Tabrizi (1201-1314), that lived and created all of the XIII century and the first decade of the XIV century and passed a long way of creation was also one of the well-known political figures and a talented poet of this period. 
Among many prose and poetry works of Shaykh Mahmud Shabustary (1287-1320) recognized as an outstanding representative of the Sufism current in Azerbaijani literature the poem of Gulshani Raz attract more attention.
In XIV century poets like Suli Faqih and Mustafa Zarir created works in the native language on the subject based on the motives of the Koran, Yusif and Zuleikha. And poem of Varga and Gulsha of artist Yusif Maddah of the same century should be considered as a good example of epic poem in the native language.
The well-known Azerbaijan poets and thinkers created and wrote in Persian Nasreddin Tusi (1201-1274), Maragali Ovhadi (1274-1338), Arif Ardabili (1311 -) were guided by mostly with Nizami traditions. Besides scientific and philosophical heritage of an author of the fundamental moral-didactic works Nasreddin Tusi Akhlagi-Nasiri, the author had other literary and artistic works, too.
English orientalist, Edward Brown highly evaluated the creativity of the poet and the ruler of the fourteenth century, Burhaneddin Gazi (1314-1398) as the first specimen of world poetry in Turkish literature. In Gazi Burhaneddin’s ‘Divan’ Azerbaijani literary language, which began to form in creativities of Hasanoglu and Sheikh Safi, had reached its high level. For the first time in the creativity of Gazi Burhaneddin the specific and purely Turkish poetic genre like tuyuqs, were used.
During this period, the principles of humanism formed especially in literature and social-political idea reached the peak in creativity of Seid Imadeddin Nasimi (1369-1417).
XV century in Azerbaijan literature, either chronologically or in terms of mastery is a transition stage between peaks of Gazi-Nasimi and Khatai-Fizuli.  Artists that created in mother tongue like Khalili, Hamidi, Kishvari, Haqiqi, Sururi and in Persian like Shah Qasim Anvar, Badr Shirvani defined the literary landscape of this century. Among these poets the name of Garagoyunlu ruler Jahanshah Hagigi (ruling years 1436-1467) should be noted especially. One of the great representatives of the XV century Azerbaijani literature is Nematullah Kishveri. In the field of poetry language, using the original poetic images Kishvari occupies a unique place in Azerbaijani literature.
Creativity of poets of this period like Habibi, Shahi, and Sururi played a great role in the formation of the poetry of Nizami and Fuzuli.
Azerbaijani literary language that had joint features with literary language of other Turkic peoples in VX century gets its distinguishing features and begins to continue its traditions like an independent literature since XVI century. In particular, the XVI century Bagdad literary environment characterized by deep influence to the national poetry. In memoirs of XVI century Ahdi Bagdadi Gulshani suara (Poets’ flower garden), Sadid bey Sadiqi book keeper of Shah Abbas Majmaul-khavas (Assembly of Selected ones) the name of poets of that period are mentioned, and its immpossible to deny their role in formation of greatness of Fuzuli.
The peak of Renaissance ideas in Azerbaijani literature of XII-XVI centuries after Nizami is Mohammed Fuzuli, known as \'heart poet” in Western orientalism. Fuzuli is an artist that is read lovely not only in Azerbaijan but in the vast geo-ethnic area of the Turkic language, in particular of Oghuz Turkic. In Iraq, Turkey, Tatarstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan the works of Fuzuli remains the most popular till date. 
It should be noted that Fuzuli art was not formed on an empty place, and famous artists helped to his formation during the long period. Among them, the contemporary of Fuzuli and to some extent patron of art, a great statesman and poet Shah Ismail Khatai (1487-1524) holds a special place.
Shah Ismail Khatai is a founder of a dynasty that played an exceptional role in the socio-political history of Azerbaijan. As a poet-king Khatai continued and developed poetic tradition of his predecessors Gazi Burhaneddin and Mirza Jahanshah Hagigi, and during just a total of thirty-six years of the short life he not only extended and founded the great Azerbaijan state but also played a significant role in the development of literature in the native language in Azerbaijani literature.
XVI-XVII centuries is known as the period of formation of medieval love and heroic eposes in Azerbaijani literature. Almost the same level of success in writing poetry of Fizuli we can see in the oral folk creativity of Gurbani, Ashiq Abbas Tufarqanlı, Khasta Gasym. Ashuq Garib, Abbas and Gulgaz, Asli and Karam and etc perfect love eposes, the worthy successor of Kitabi Dadam Gorgut,  Koroglu heroic epic are formed in this period and included in a repertoire of folk artists. 
In XVII-XVIII centuries the literature of Azerbaijan gets closer to lively life, folk language under the influence of works of ashug representatives, the foundation of the transition to realism in Azerbaijani poetry is laid. During this period, though traditions of poetry Fuzuli still were quite strong, but we see efforts to get out of this gravity in works of Saib Tabrizi, Govsi Tabrizi. In works of poets of the literary environment of Shirvan of the XVIII century like Shakir, Nishat and Mahjur we see narration of painful problems of this period and concerns over hard life of ordinary people.
Poets like Molla Vidadi Veli (1707-1808), in particular, Molla Panah Vagif (1717-1797) had made poetry closer to people with works written in simple, lively language. Vagif was well-known political figure of his time, and defined for a long time the foreign policy of the Garabagh khanate. XVIII century is the transitive period of the final stage of medieval literature of Azerbaijan and the beginning of a new era.

Azerbaijani literature of XIX-XX century 
In first  decade of XIX century, by the important event happened in the history of the Azerbaijani people, the occupation of Azerbaijan by the Russian Empire likewise in whole culture the western trends intensified in the literature, too. 
Under its influence national and a real-world motives took the leading position. Under the direct influence of Molla Panah Vagif the representative of critical-realist satire like Gasim bey Zakir (1784-1857) was formed in the literary atmosphere of the Karabakh and defines the direction of poetic development for a long time. However, in the creation of the G.B.Zakir, as well as in works of his contemporary poets the traditions of Fuzuli are continued at the new level. The biggest representatives of this process were Seid Abulqasım Nabati (1812-1873), Heyran khanum (1786-1838) in the South and Seid Azim Shirvani (1835-1888), Khurshudbanu Natavan (1830-1897) and Fatma khanum Kamina (1840-1888) in the North Azerbaijan.
During this period, names of Abbasgulu aga Bakıkhanov (1794-1847), Mirza Shafi Vazeh (1792-1852), Ismail bey Gutqasınly (1801-1861), which were known to Russian and Western orientalists and poets, and got advanced humanist ideas from them, can be cited.
Educationist-realistic views of Mirza Fatali Akhundov (1812-1878) played exclusive role in the next development of literature, had strong influence on formation of literature genres of modern western literature like drama, novel, story, short story, narrative, poem, etc. The literary-aesthetic development direction defined by Mirza Fatali Akhundzade for Azerbaijani culture led to appearance of educational-realist artists in the second half of the nineteenth century like Seyid Azim Shirvani (1835-1888), Najaf bey Vezirov (1854-1926), Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev (1870-1933) and served to literary and cultural growth of not only in Azerbaijan, as well as in the neighbouring nations. In particular, multi-oriented Ekinchi newspaper (1875-1877) published by naturalist-scientist Hasan Zardabi (1837-1907) contributed to the development of literary and cultural life during this period.
In addition to the enlightenment-realism tendency in literature of Azerbaijan in XIX century, religious-didactic poetry developed, too. Its main representatives were elegy poets from South Azerbaijan like Raji, Dilsuz, Dakhil, Gumri and others. But under the influence of the advanced literary process in North the Southern artists also tried to create secular works.  
In XIX century one branch that inclined to the eastern creativity was formed in literary gatherings. In Guba Gulistan literary gathering was led by Abbasgulu aga Bakikhanov Gudsi, in Ordubad Ajumeni-suara (The assembly of poets) is led by Fagir Ordubadi, in Lenkoran Fovjul-fusaha (The group of orators) was led by Mirza Ismail Qasir, in Shemakha Beytus-Safa ( The house of healing) is led by Seid Azim Shirvani, in Baku, Majmaus-suara (The assembly of poets) is led by Mohammad Agha Jumri, in Ganja (later Tbilisi)Divan-hikmet by Mirza Shafi Vazeh, Majlis- Uns in Shusha is led by Khurshudbanu Natavan and Majlisi faramushan (assembly  of forgotten”) was led by the Mir Mohsen Navvab.
In general, literature of the XIX century had prepared a solid foundation to transiting on new stage of Azerbaijani literature, literature of XX century.
Likewise many other nations once included in Russian empire, the first decades of the twentieth century comprise the special stage in literary and cultural life of Azerbaijan. At this period the prominent representatives of realistic and romantic literature based on European and Russian pattern like Jalil Mammadguluzade (1866-1932), Mirza Alakbar Sabir (1862-1911), Hussein Javid (1884-1944), Mohammad Hadi (1880-1920), Abbas Sahhat (1874-1918 ), Abdulla Shaig (1881-1959), Nariman Narimanov (1870-1925), Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev (1870-1933) had raised  literature of Azerbaijan to the level of best examples of literary and cultural idea of the world literature. 
The important event occurred at the beginning of the XX century in the history of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (1918-1920) was established. Though ADR existed the short life of only twenty-three-month period, that period was significant with a unique literary. Besides the well-known pen owners Jalil Mammadguluzade, Abdullah Shaig, Abdulrahim bey Hagverdiyev, Uzeyir. Hajibeyov, the interesting works of young writers like J.Jabbarly, Ahmad Javad, Ummugulsum were created. In these works the state independence of Azerbaijan, victories of the Turkish army, which  came with the mission of rescuing the country, the heroism of the Azerbaijani soldiers, the three-color national flag were praised. Distinguished by a special activity in this area by Ahmad Javad (1892-1937) wrote the words to the national anthem of the republic. This work, the music of which composed by the great Uzeyir Hajibeyov is still the anthem of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The literature of the Soviet period (up to 60 years)
The dramaturgy of the Soviet period is closely connected with the names of Hussein Javid, Suleyman Sani Akhundov, Jafar Jabbarly, Mirza Ibrahimov, Samad Vurgun, Sabit Rahman, Anwar Mammadkhanly, Ilyas Efendiyev, Shikhali Gurbanov and others. 
 Ahmad Javad (1892-1937) and Mikayil Mushfiq (1908-1938) as well as Samad Vurgun are considered major leaders of XX century Azerbaijani poetry. Suleyman Rustam (1906-1989) and Alaga Vahid (1895-1965) are poets with special contribution in the development of the lyrics.
During the Soviet period in the development of the poetic idea of Azerbaijan poems of Rasul Rza (1910-1981) written in the free rhythm had a great role. Roles of poets of the South Azerbaijan like Mammadhuseyn Shahriyar, Habib Sahir, Hamid Nitqi, Bulud Qarachorlu (Sahand) are undeniable.
The contributions of Mammed Sadi Ordubadi,  Yusuf Vazir Chamanzeminli, Ali Aliyev, Mir Jalal, Suleyman Rahimov, Mehdi Hussain, Huseyn Ibrahimov, Hussein Abbaszade, Bayram Bayramov, Jamil Alibeyov, Vidadi Babanly, Manaf Suleimanov, Alaviyya Babayeva, Suleyman Aliyev, Aziza Akhmedova, Afgan Abbasov, Gulhuseyn Huseynoglu, Alibala Hajizadeh, Salam Qadirzade, Chingiz Huseynov, Enver Mammadkhanli and others in enrichment of the  Azerbaijani verse was great. 

Azerbaijani literature of the new period (from 60-ies till our date)
Beginning since 60-es, at result of slight warming of global socio-political atmosphere and weakening of ideological chains in the USSR the young creative talents in the artistic area began to write works criticizing the existing political structure. Among them were prosaists and poets, like Isa Huseynov, Mammed Araz, Sabir Ahmedov, Anar, Akram Ayrisli, Elchin, Sabir Rustamkhanly, Alakber Salahzade, Farman Kerimzade, Maksud Ibrahimbekov, Rustam Ibrahimbekov, Movlud Suleymanly, Yusif Samedoglu, Isi Malikzade.
This movement began in literature for freedom of speech and thought, independence of political thought, pluralism, national sovereignty and social justice continued till 70-90-es, finally, had implemented the objectives by gaining the political independence and sovereignty.
In the poetry and dramaturgy of artists like Bakhtiyar Vahabzade (1925), Nabi Khazri (1924), Nariman Hasanzade (1931) the instructive pages of the history of people, lyrical and psychological experiences in such background make dominancy. Works of these poets, as well as the Gabil, Enver Alibayli, Islam Safarli, Adil Babayev, Hussein Arif, Qasim Gasimzade, Aliaga Kurchayli are valuable examples of our literature. We see the continuation of one old tradition in literature of this period - a tradition of creativity in other languages, in activities of Imran Gasymov, Maksud Ibrahimbekov, Rustam Ibrahimbekov, Chingiz Abdullayev, Chingiz Huseynov, Vladimir Gafarov, Vahid Mammadov, Natiq Rasulzade, Alla Akhundova and others, that write in Russian. Their works published repeatedly in Baku, Moscow and European countries are valuable samples enriching the national culture, expanding the scope of the interest to them. 
Among those who take an active part in this process of foundation of new  grounds for new stage in Azerbaijani literature  the following poets have a specific roles: Ali Karim (1931-1969), Khalil Rza (1932-1994), Jabir Novruz (1933-2002), Fikret Sadiq (1930), Mammad Araz ( 1933-2004), Famil Mehdi (1934-2002), Tofiq Bayram (1934-1991), Ilyas Tapdiq (1934), Fikret Goja (1935), Musa Yagub (1937), Mammed Ismail (1939), Vagiq. Samadoghlu (1939) , Arif Abdullazade (1940-2002), Alekbar Salahzade (1941), Isa Ismayilzade (1941), Chingiz Alioglu (1944), Nusrat Kasamanli (1946-2001), Ramiz Rovshan (1946), Sabir Rustamkhanly (1946), Hamlet Isakhanli ( 1948), Vagif Bayatlı Oner (1949), Zelimkhan Yaqub (1950) and others.
After Azerbaijan gained independence, the universal ideas of returning of lands under the occupation, humanism, social justice, etc motives occupy basic place in modern literature. 
At present, though the main tendencies of development of Azerbaijani literature are based on the triumph of the national idea, but the modernist and postmodernist tendencies show itself, too. Orhan Fikratoglu’s (Step, Conversion stories, novel of The Third day Man), Maqsad  Nur’s (Windy city, Ero-hygienic, Catastophics, Humidity lovers stories), Sadiq Eljanly’s (Darkness novel), Mubariz Jafarli’s (Restorer,The witness train, Fiction, Mason novels) can be considered as samples of modernism and works of Kamal Abdullah (The incomplete manuscript, Wizards valley novels,” Diary without history narration, etc. ) may be considered as examples of the postmodernism.
It should be noted that the number of modernist poetry works increased for the last decade.



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