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Aesopian Literary Dimensions analyzes the evolution of national thinking in Azerbaijani literature from 1920 to 1990. It traces the history of literary trends and methodological patterns―particularly the clandestine means and methods of expression in national literature―in Azerbaijani literature. Maliheh Tyrrell has fashioned a unique book that uncovers the ways national Azerbaijani thinking outwardly adapted itself to the themes and political strategies of the dominant Soviet ideology. The work reveals and discusses the range of literary techniques, ranging from nonverbal visual methods to symbolic themes, employed by Azerbaijani authors to refute the official optimism of Soviet propaganda and communicate a distinct sense of Azerbaijani "otherness."
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Maliheh S. Tyrrell is a post-doctoral researcher at Columbia University's Teachers College. She is the author of Post-Soviet Turkmenistan: Overview (1994) and Post-Soviet Azerbaijan: Overview (1994).Review:
It is a brilliant and masterful reading for anyone interested in the roots and traditions of Oriental literature and, in the case of Azerbaijan, the imprint left by seventy years of Soviet rule. It is a definitive must-read for both literary scholars and Soviet/Azerbaijani specialists. (Hafiz Pashayev, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the United States)
Oppressive rulers in the Middle East and Central Asia for centuries have virtually forced their writers to cultivate a special idiom and style, both deceptive and disarming, in order to express ideas that contradict official opinion. That devious literary language requires careful interpretation for foreign readers. This new study not only interprets that medium, it also presents scholars outside Azerbaijan with a short, interesting history of an important aspect of intellectual life in the region throughout the twentieth century. (Edward A. Allworth, Columbia University)
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