Reviews

ka Jiři, “Two Iranians in Modern Tajik Poetry,” Oriente moderno 22/2 (2003): 29-35

Two prominent figures of twentieth-century Iranian literature played an important role in the development of a specific Tajik poetry, namely Abu’l-Qasim Lahuti (1887-1957) and Zhala Sultani (b. 1922).  Active in the 1922 Tabriz insurrection against the Qajar dynasty, Lahuti fled the threat of death penalty that beset him in Iran, and settled in Moscow.  An outstanding member of the Union of Tajik Writers, and perhaps the first to promote socialist-oriented poetry in Persian, he eventually became the author of the text of the Tajik Soviet anthem.  Zhala came to Moscow some twenty years later.  She made Malik al-Shu‘ara Bahar’s poetry known to the Tajik audience and also joined in the Union of Tajik writers, spreading the use of reformed quantitative metrics and compiling a treatise on shi‘r-e naw.  Both poets enjoyed increasing popularity, and provided a lasting source of inspiration for Tajik poetry.

Published in a special issue of Oriente moderno on “contemporary Persian literature, between renewal and tradition,” this short paper is in line with the Editor, Natalia L. Tornesello’s view.  It aims at stressing the renewed momentum local literature acquired through contact with foreign literary trends and practices.  Lying on the political and cultural outskirts of the Persian-speaking world, the newly born Republic of the Tajiks shared with Iran a common literary background and most of its classics.  It was the 1920 Bukhara Revolution and the rise of a national linguistic and literary concern that brought about the “significant shift” wherefrom a zaboni tojiki ensued, as well as a specific Tajik literature, “Soviet in contents and national in form.”  However, whereas poetic modernity in Iran followed from intensified contact with the West, the newborn Tajik poetry issued from a recasting of both classical and folk poetry, overall influenced by Soviet modernity and by a few Iranian authors.

Justine Landau, New Sorbonne University, Paris
CER: I-6.2.B-524