MODERN SOUTHERN LITERATURE
After the division of Azerbaijani lands between Russia and Iran in the first quarter of the 19th century, the literary process in the North and South, which underwent the same literary and cultural development throughout history, began to acquire different features. Due to the lack of education and writing in the Azerbaijani language in the south for many decades, the development of literature, of course, lags far behind the development in the north. The literary and cultural life of South Azerbaijan, which was briefly liberated only during the national liberation movements, developed rapidly, and then again for a long time became a victim of the chauvinist Persian regime. One of such short-term awakening stages took place in 1918-1920 under the leadership of Sheikh Mohammad Khiyabani, and the other is 1945-1946 under the leadership of Seyid Jafar Pishavari. In those years, books and textbooks were published in their native language, and literary samples, written mainly in the spirit of patriotism, were widely published in the national press. Young talents, who first took up the pen in the mid-1940s, were able to continue their work on the pages of the Azerbaijani-language magazine "Varlig" more than thirty years after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Among the southern masters, we can name such writers and poets as Hammal, Karimi, Nitgi, Biriya, Sheyda, Sonmez, Sahand, Sahir, Okhtay, Savalan, Farzana, many of whom died and some of whom are still working. It is worth noting the exceptional role of the magazine "Varlig" in the development of contemporary southern literature, which has been published for more than twenty years and was founded by one of the great scientists and public figures of Azerbaijan Javad Heyat.
However, speaking about the literature of South Azerbaijan, it is important to note the special place and role of Mahammadhuseyn Shahriyar (1904-1988) among its many representatives. Having received his secondary and higher education in Persian, Shahriyar began his poetic career under the influence of the works of the great Nizami Ganjavi, Hafiz Shirazi, S.A Shirvani, and was known as one of the prominent representatives of modern Iranian and Azerbaijani poetry. Preferring public lyrics in art, Shahriyar speaks extensively about the painful problems of our modern world. His greatest work in the Azerbaijani language is the two-part poem "Hello Heydar Baba". Dozens of responses have been written to this work, both in South and North Azerbaijan and in Turkey. At present, the literary process is developing in South Azerbaijan. Artists such as B.Azeroglu, A.Tuda, M.Gulgun, H.Bulluri, S.Tahir, who continued their work in the North by the will of fate, enriched the Azerbaijani literature created in both sides with valuable examples.
Literary genres that emerged in the modern style in South Azerbaijan and Iran began with the stories of Mirza Fatali Akhundzadeh translated from Azerbaijani-Turkish into Persian.
His novels "Deceived Stars" and "The Story of Yusif Sarraj" are especially noteworthy. These works, translated by Mirza Jafar Garajadagli in the middle of the 19th century, had a great influence on the development of South Azerbaijani literature. This was followed by The Journey of Mr. Ibrahim by Zeynalabdin Maragali, The Profession of Mohsin by Abdul Rahim Talib, and The Book of Ahmad Safi Talib. These works laid the historical foundation for a new genre of storytelling in Iran. Contemporary prose became widespread in southern Azerbaijan during the Constitutional Revolution. Although there were very few prose writers in Tabriz and Azerbaijan during the constitutional period, at that time these works were mainly published in political magazines and newspapers. The most important of these is Jalil Mammadguluzadeh's "Molla Nasreddin" magazine. Mirza Jalil also published his first story, 'Khan's Rosary', about village life. This work has had a great influence on the work of most of Iran's writers. In this story, the author describes how the Azerbaijani peasants were tired of the oppression of the khans and lived in superstition. The content of the work has been loved by readers for many years. After Moll Nasruddin, Ahmad Basirat published another Turkish-language magazine - Molla Ami. He also published a 110-page book, Animal Testimonies. Here the character of people is revealed in the language of animals. Two years later, Mirza Hassan Rushdie published a book of stories, Amsali Logman. The work is written in the Tabriz dialect. As we have mentioned, these works are considered to be the basis of modern prose in South Azerbaijan in scientific sources. These realistic works also influenced the work of other Turkish writers writing in Persian. In 1950-1975, world-famous works were created in South Azerbaijan. During this period, in 1961, the famous writer of Tabriz Gulamhuseyn Saedi published his book "Bayal mourners" and thus signed one of the most famous short stories in the world. This work is known as one of the most famous stories in the world about the rural life of Azerbaijan. During this period, Samed Behrangi's work "Little Black Fish" also appeared as a world-famous work. Bahrangi's stories became especially popular among children and teenagers. According to experts, Behrengi is considered the founder of the genre of realist writing for children and adolescents in Iran. Our contemporary prose is still not independent today. They are not able to write great literary works in their national language, because our writers who are not educated in their native language always have to face this problem. Therefore, in the literature of South Azerbaijan, either Turkey or North Azerbaijan was used in our prose. The formation and development of any literature should not only reflect reality but also comply with the norms of the literary language. Today, many of our poets are developing the norms of the literary language. This is a very good and successful step. Recently, our prose writers have been making great efforts in this direction. Now in South Azerbaijan, it is very important to think globally and create in the national language. The foundations of a new wave of literature in our national language are being prepared. It is very important to pay attention to translation work in order to further strengthen the activity in this direction. That is, reading the world in your language is as important to us as air and water. Thus, reading and studying modern ideas and using the achievements of the world art of speech can contribute to the further development of our worldview.
From the beginning of the 19th century, as a result of Russian invasions, Azerbaijani literature was divided into two branches. While North Azerbaijani literature was formed under Russian knowledge, South Azerbaijani literature also faded within the classical framework and became imitation literature. Although folk literature developed during this period, the language of fiction fell behind in this process. In addition to ashug poetry, examples of oral literature such as folk epics, tales, anecdotes, riddles, and bayats were at a high level. At the same time, however, classical literature has become increasingly weak. Ghazal and especially lamentation were the main places in the literature of South Azerbaijan. Dilsuz, Raji, Purqam, Shuayi, Ahi, and Mugbil are known as important mourning poets of the 19th century. Among the first representatives of new literature in South Azerbaijan, Abdul Rahim Talib, Zeynalabdin Maragali and Mirza Ali Tabrizi were among the leading poets. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Azerbaijani writers, thinkers, and public figures turned their eyes to the world and, in the light of what had happened, laid the groundwork for our future literature and culture. In particular, as a result of relations with the Turkish press, along with rapprochement in language, literary and political relations were formed. At a time when literary thought in Azerbaijan intersected in parallel with literature in Turkey, it was not far from the good of two different thoughts. One of them was Islamism, and the other was a social movement. Among the famous figures of this period are Jalil Mammadguluzade, Mirza Alekper Sabir, Aligulu Gamkusar, Omar Faig Nemanzade, Ali Nazmi, and others.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the poets of South Azerbaijan took advantage of the events in the world, especially around them, and showed interest in political, mass, and realistic literature, using this process to create our truly national literature. So, our poetry has become popular and modern since the days of the Constitution. The new poem of South Azerbaijan begins with Khabib Sahir. Khabib Sakhir took the first steps in the emergence of a new poem and wrote bold poems. In 1914 he published his book "Shadows", and two years later his book "Shagayeg" in the form of free poetry. In these books, both the content was new, and the author showed his position as a realist poet. So, Sahir sent a poem from heaven to earth. He uttered new words, in a new form, and took great strides in the revival of our political, satirical, and epic poetry. He is the first poet to criticize the past and destroy traditional poetic thought. Over the past 60 years, many Iranian poets have benefited from the Sahir in terms of thought and form. In other words, Habib Sahir, one of the great figures of South Azerbaijani literature in the 20th century, was considered one of the most important poets in the Turkic world. Although writing in Turkish was banned for many years when Persian language and literature existed in Iran, Shahriyar, the greatest poet of modern Turkish literature, grew up during this period. The new stage of Shahriyar's creative period is considered to be 1950-72. During these years, he became known as a world poet due to his poems in Turkish. He gave a great impetus to the development of our national literature, publishing such great works as "Hello, Heydar Baba", "Turkic language", "Letter to Muhammad Rahim", "Sahandia". Shakhriyar is a romantic and realistic poet. He took the theme of his poems from real life and expressed it in a simple and natural language that people can understand. Due to his rich vocabulary, he also devoted a lot of space to literary expressions. He also skillfully used the fluent and simple style of folk literature. Shahriyar, unlike Persian in Iran, raised the Turkish language, which is in danger of losing its literary and artistic value, to the skies forever with his work "Hello Heydar Baba". One of the poets of South Azerbaijan is Bulud Garachorlu (Sahand). In the suffocation of the Pahlavi regime, he composed the epics of Dada Gorgud in his "Word of my Saz (instrument)", showing the glorious past of his people — the Turkish nation, and the greatness of their national consciousness. A total of 6460 lines, "The Word of My Music" was also published in Turkey and Northern Azerbaijan. With this work, Bulud Garachorlu managed to prove the power of the Turkish language. In his other poems, love for the homeland, freedom, and national rights are expressed in high artistic language. Sahand also left a deep mark on the development of contemporary poetry in South Azerbaijan, urging all poets to write in their native language.
In the last 60-70 years, political motives have developed in the works of poets who wrote in South Azerbaijan. Alirza Nabdil (Okhtay) was one of the poets who lived and worked in the Pahlavi period. Although his works are short, they are a reflection of the way of life of our national and human thought. In Oktay's world of cognition, war and art are inseparable. The main aspect of his ideal and works is Man and his highest value, freedom. It was these qualities that made Oktay a tireless traveler on the road to freedom.
After the overthrow of the Pahlavi regime, the dark clouds disappeared and a new era began in South Azerbaijani poetry. With the publication of Hamida Raiszadeh's (Sahar) book of poems "Blues", a new atmosphere appeared in our contemporary literature and our literature in our native language was revived. In his poems in the book "Blues", he expressed a completely different form and vivid description, representation, and desire in his thoughts and feelings, and was able to boldly express his hidden sorrows in literary and artistic form, touching on the modern desires and difficulties of the time.
Contemporary poetry in South Azerbaijan is manifesting itself in a different form. Today, many poets reflect the mass problems and try to express in the language of poetry the political pressures, public rallies, feelings of mass discontent, and nationalist thoughts, ranging from the financial difficulties in the South. In recent years, the Student Movement has emerged in the South, and in this environment, students have continued to publish different publications. So that, all young writers, in spite of everything, try to write in Turkish. However, all grammatical structures were in Persian, in short, they thought in Persian and wrote in Turkish.
Now the current creative situation in South Azerbaijan can be summarized as follows:
1- Some people are in favor of the development of only modern and avant-garde literature, while others are in favor of modernizing the literature of the past by re-perceiving it and instilling new features.
2- Some people summarize the literature in poetry, and some only in prose.
3- In the field of language used in our modern literature today, some advocate writing in Anatolian Turkish, which is common in Turkey, some in Turkish in Northern Azerbaijan, and some in common Turkish.
4- In our contemporary literature, the main contents in both poetry and prose are homeland, freedom, exile, separation, love, longing, and so on. Written works, especially in poetry, speak more of a return to national identity and absolute protest. There is a great need for literary critics for the further development of our literature. So, it is very important to have a critic to strengthen young writers. Because the critic is considered as a bridge between the written work and the reader, and there is a great need for every work of art, especially literary works, to pave the way for new successes.
The Anthology of South Azerbaijani Literature (Contemporary Period), a joint project of the Center for Azerbaijani Studies of the European Azerbaijan Society and the Institute of Literature of ANAS, was recently published by TEAS Press Publishing House in Baku.
The anthology contains short biographies and works of about 100 talented representatives of the new literary generation who have written and created in South Azerbaijan over the past 30 years. The anthology includes poems and stories of writers who wrote in the style of folk poetry, divan literature, as well as under the influence of various literary trends that have recently spread in Europe.
Togrul Athab, Togrul Athab, along with writers such as Ruqayya Kabiri, Kiyan Khiyav, Said Muganli, Heydar Bayat, Ismail Ulker, Hadi Garachay, Nadir Azhari, Mahammadrza Lavai, Sayman Aruz, Ulker Ucgar, Ramin Jabbarli, Meliha Azizpur, who got acquainted with the wide readership in the collection. Works of Murtuza Majidfar, Nadir Pashazade, and other writers in their native language are presented to readers for the first time.
The collection also includes prose works in the style of "Flash fiction" formed in Europe in the 60s of the last century and based on minimalism, small volume, as well as poems that reflect some of the possibilities and transformations of postmodernism.
Along with the writers and poets who wrote in Iran, in the works of young southern writers from all over the world, the landscape of literary thought is distinguished by its diversity. Poems and stories of young poets and writers are distinguished by new themes, form searches, and creative experiments. Along with the peculiarities of South Azerbaijani literature, the style of North Azerbaijani poetry and many Turkish poets, especially Nazim Hikmet's poetry, is felt.
Despite the limited opportunities for language, publication, and propaganda, the new generation confirms and promotes its national presence in the South, and continues its literary search to meet new trends in world literature.
A collection consisting of 364 pages is an important anthology of poetry and prose on contemporary South Azerbaijani literature. The compiler of this richly published anthology and the author of the foreword is Parvana Mammadli, Doctor of Philosophy in Philology. The anthology is intended for specialists in Azerbaijani literature, students, and literature lovers.