Asli and Kerem

Asli and Kerem

 

an anonymous Azerbaijani novelistic dastan (epic), widespread among the peoples of Transcaucasia, Asia Minor, and Middle Asia. It was probably formed in the 16th century. The verse parts, which are incorporated into the prose, are ascribed to the main hero—the folk singer (ashug).

The plot of Asli and Kerem is based on the ardent love of a Muslim man (an Azerbaijani) for a Christian woman (an Armenian). The obstacle to their union is the religious fanaticism of the girl’s father. The ending is tragic: the lovers are burned in a symbolic fire. The religious outline of the subject is historical; it goes back to the time when the Ghuz Turks resettled in the West during the 11th—13th centuries. The main theme of the dastan —love, which is above prejudices—permeates all details of the plot. The Turkmen version is more archaic and contains many ethnic and toponymic elements. U. Gadzhibekov’s opera Asli and Kerem, staged in 1912, is based on the dastan.

TEXTS

Azärbayjan khalg dastanlarϊ, part 1. Baku, 1961.
Asly-Kerem. Ashkhabad, 1965.

REFERENCES

Arasly, N. XVII-XVIII äsr Azärbayjan ädäbiyyatϊ tarikhi. Baku, 1956.
Molloy, R. “ ’Kerem et Asli,’ et ses variantes Balkaniques.” In Etudes balkaniques, nos. 2–3. Sofia, 1965.
Korogly, Kh. “K kharakteristike turkmenskikh romanicheskikh destanov.” Narody Azii i Afriki, 1964, no. 6.
KH. KOROGLY