Mamedkulizade, Dzhalil

Mamedkulizade, Dzhalil

 

(pseudonym, Molla Nasreddin). Born Feb. 22, 1866, in Nakhichevan’-na-Arakse; died Jan. 4, 1932, in Baku. Soviet Azerbaijani writer and public figure.

Mamedkulizade was the son of a merchant. In 1887 he graduated from the Gori Teachers’ Seminary. He taught in village schools. In 1898, Mamedkulizade moved to Yerevan and in 1903 to Tbilisi, where he worked on the editorial staff of the Azerbaijani newspaper Sharki rus (Russian East). He wrote satirical features for the legal Bolshevik newspaper Kavkazskii rabochii listok (Caucasian Workers’ Leaflet). In 1905, Mamedkulizade acquired a printing press and in April 1906 he began to publish the satirical magazine Molla Nasreddin, which was immensely popular among the masses. The magazine supported the popular liberation movement in the countries of the colonial East and provoked attacks from reactionaries. The Moslem “senate” adopted a resolution that the blood of the godless Mamedkulizade would be forgiven to the man who killed him. The magazine was published with interruptions until 1931. Continuing as editor of the magazine into the Soviet period, Mamedkulizade contributed greatly to the introduction of the new Azerbaijani alphabet.

Mamedkulizade’s first important work, the novella The Loss of a Donkey (from the cycle Events in the Village of Dana-bash), was written in 1894 (published 1936). In this work, Mamedkulizade’s ideological stance was made clear—that of a democratic writer and a militant satirist, boldly attacking the feudal customs and the stagnant way of life in the remote provinces and just as fearlessly defending the poor, downtrodden peasants deprived of civil rights.

Mamedkulizade was a master of the short story and displayed his satirical talent most brilliantly in this genre; his short stories include “Mailbox” (1903; published 1904), “The Constitution in Iran” (1906), “Kurban-Ali-bek” (1907), “The Lamb” (1914), “Mullah Fazl-Ali” (published 1925), and “Two Husbands” (published 1927). His comedies Corpses (1909) and A Gathering of Lunatics (published 1936) were directed against the very foundations of the Moslem religion and against stagnation and fanaticism. The play Kemancha (1920; published 1935) affirms the friendship of the Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples. Mamedkulizade’s creative work played a significant role in the development of Azerbaijani literature and social thought.

WORKS

Äsärläri, parts 1-3. Baku, 1936-47.
Dram vä näsr äsärläri. Baku, 1958.
Felyetonlar, mägalälär, khatirälär, mäktublar. Baku, 1961.
Äsärläri, parts 1-3. Baku, 1966-67.
In Russian translation:
Izbrannye proizvedeniia, vols. 1-2. Baku, 1966.
Chetki khana. Moscow, 1966.

REFERENCES

Ibragimov, M. Dzhalil Mamedkulizade. Moscow, 1966.
Sharif, A. Rozhdenie Molla Nasreddina. Baku, 1968.
Mammadov, M. Jälil Mämmädguluzadänin bädii näsri. Baku, 1963.
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