BASEES Annual Conference 2022

Soviet Baku and its Minstrel: Huseyn Javid “Caught In-Between with a Fading Dream”

Fri8  Apr04:20pm(20 mins)
CWB Syndicate Room 1


Leyla Najafzada


This paper focuses on the works of the Azerbaijani poet and playwright Huseyn Javid created during the Soviet period, between 1920 and 1937. In my presentation, I examine Javid’s so-called “Baku period” that coincided with the Sovietisation of political and cultural spheres of life in Azerbaijan. I argue that Javid had an ambivalent relationship with the Soviet state that often conflicted with the new ideology. Promoting the Bolshevik-style revolutionary spirit on equality and enlightenment of all people, Javid, a Pan-Turkist and a Muslim reformer, always emphasized the role of Islam and Turkic identity for Azerbaijani nation. Along with this, I examine how his statement about the separation of Art from State made him a pariah in the new socialist entity. I base my arguments on close readings of Huseyn Javid’s poems and plays as well as personal documents.