Modernity and identity in Azeri poetry: Mo'juz of Shabustar and the Iranian constitutional era
Sultan-Qurraie, Hadi, 1944-
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation focuses on a poet who has remained virtually unknown in his homeland, let alone anywhere outside it. Mirza Ali Mo'juz of Shabustar (1874-1934) was an Iranian Azeri poet of the early twentieth century who chose to write his poetry not in Persian, the dominant language in modern Iran, but in Azeri Turkish which had been historically suppressed as means of literary communication. As a result, Mo'juz's poetry is inaccessible to all but few scholars of Iranian culture or Persian and Azeri poetry. In the pages that follow, I will introduce Mo'juz and will discuss his deliberate choice of the Azeri language as the medium for his poetry. I will explain how the poet rejected elitism and social gain by focusing on the illiterate Azeri folk as his audience. Furthermore, I will try to define a locus for the poet within the poetry of the Iranian Constitutional era by comparing and contrasting him to some of the major poets of the period. This work will also attempt to examine Mo'juz with regard to the prevailing trend of humor and satire in modern Azeri literature by comparing him with five major Azeri authors. Finally, I will examine Mo'juz's awareness of his Azeri identity and his assertion of it throughout his work. In this work, I try to trace the genesis and development of Azeri identity and its articulation by modern Azeri authors and define Mo'juz's locus in that trend. I explain that men like Akhunzadeh canonized the Azeri language as a literary idiom which was later promoted by the authors of the Mulla Nasreddin circle. Mo'juz, in turn, became a promoter of Mulla Nasreddin ideals in Iranian Azerbaijan and handed down the legacy to the authors of the Pahlavi era. Mo'juz heralds the rebellious authors of the Pahlavi era during which the use of the Azeri language was politicized and was considered to be a subversive gesture.