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Kurban Said. "Ali und Nino" (German). Klassik Azərbaycan bədii nəsrinin dəyərli nümunəsi alman dilində...


Qurban Səid (Məhəmməd Əsəd bəy)



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Kurban Said. "Ali und Nino" (German). Klassik Azərbaycan bədii nəsrinin dəyərli nümunəsi alman dilində...

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Kurban Said

"Ali und Nino"

Klassik Azərbaycan bədii nəsrinin dəyərli nümunəsi alman dilində...

Ali und Nino (Ali and Nino)

German 1937 - First time ever published

Original Published Volume
Publisher: E. P. Tal 
Vienna and Leipzig
289 pages
ISBN: Not Applicable (too early)


Ali and Nino: A Love Story



Ali and Nino: A Love Story is a love story published under the pseudonym Kurban Said. The novel now has been published in more than 30 languages,[2] with nearly 100 editions] or reprints.[3] The book[4] was first published in Vienna in the German language in 1937, by E.P. Tal Verlag. Current research shows that Yusif Vazir Chamanzaminli, not Essad Bey, is the primary core author of the novelAli and Nino.[5]

In January 2012, it was announced that the novel is being adapted for filming by British screenwriter and playwright Christopher Hampton. The film will be produced by Kris Thyker of Peapie Films.[6]

In April 2012, a musical version of Ali and Nino premiered in Paris at the Sorbonne Amphitheater directed by Saida Zulfugarova. [7]


Authorship debate

For decades, there has been a controversy about the identity of Kurban Said, the pseudonym used to hide the identity of the author of this novel. Recent extensive research[8] about the authorship issue points to the following conclusions and identifies the creative activity of several people involved with the final version of the novel:

(1) The core author of the novel "Ali and Nino" is Azerbaijani writer and statesman Yusif Vazir Chamanzaminli (1887–1943).[9] Evidence comes from both his life experiences and his works including his diaries, articles, short stories and novels, which are archived in the Manuscript Institute, Baku, Azerbaijan.[10]

(2) The fingerprints of Lev Nussimbaum (1905–1942),[11][12] who wrote as Essad Bey,[13] are evident in the novel and can clearly be identified in folkloric and legendary material some of which he copied from his earlier books. It should be noted that much of this material is neither culturally or ethnically reliable.[14] Lev Nussimbaum had fled the Bolsheviks takeover in Azerbaijan in 1920 when he was only 14 years old and he admits himself that he had lived a very sheltered life.

(3) Essad Bey took passages related to the travels of Ali and Nino, specifically about Tiflis (Tbilisi) and Persia directly from The Snake's Skin (Das Schlangenhemd, 1928) by "Ali and Nino" – Literary Robbery! Georgian writer Grigol Robakidze (1882–1962).[15] Whether Robakidze knew about these "borrowings" is not known. However, Essad Bey went to considerable length to disguise the material which would make one suspect that, indeed, it is plagiarized. Research shows that Essad Bey personally knew Robakidze.[16]

(4) Austrian Baroness Elfriede Ehrenfels (1894–1982) registered the novel Ali and Nino with German authorities,[17] claiming that the pseudonym Kurban Said belonged to her. However, evidence of her involvement in the actual writing of the novel has yet to be proven.

An Italian edition, Ali Khan,[18] appeared in 1944] under the name M[ohammed] Essad Bey, Nussimbaum's pen name. Strangely, in this edition, Nino Kipiani is called "Erika Kipiani" (obviously not a true Georgian name). The name of Nussimbaum's wife was "Erika" but she had run off with his colleague, René Fülöp-Miller, in a scandalous divorce (1935). Other changes were made in this edition as well.[19]

This Italian edition was published posthumously under suspicious conditions by Essad Bey's drug dealer Vacca Bello[20] who called himself "Ahmed Giamil Vacca-Mazzara." He tried to show that he was related to Essad Bey four generations back and, thus, Essad Bey's only living descendent, and therefore, in line to inherit Essad Bey's royalties from his various books. Such an edition as the Italian Ali Khan has never again been re-issued.


"Ali and Nino" is the story of an Azerbaijani youth who falls in love with a Georgian princess. Essentially, the book is a quest for truth and reconciliation in a world of contradictory beliefs and practices – Islam and Christianity, East and West, age and youth, male and female. Much of the novel is set in Baku's Old City (Ichari Shahar) on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution beginning around 1917–1918. The novel was first published in 1937, in a foreign country (Austria), in a foreign language (German), by someone using the pen name of Kurban Said (Gurban Said, in Azeri).

Ali Khan Shirvanshir, descendant of a noble Muslim family, is educated in a Russian boy's high school. While his father is still completely a part of Asia, Ali is exposed to Western values in school and through his love to Georgian princess Nino, who has been brought up in a Christian tradition and belongs more to the European world.

The book describes the love of Ali for Nino, with excursions to mountain villages in DaghestanShusha in Azerbaijan, Tbilisi, Georgia and Persia. Upon graduating from high school, Ali determines to marry Nino. At first she hesitates, until Ali promises that he will not make her wear the veil, or be part of a harem. Ali's father, despite his Muslim traditional view of women, supports the marriage; Nino's father tries to postpone the marriage.

The book takes a dramatic turn when an Armenian, whom Ali thought was a friend, kidnaps Nino. In retaliation, Ali pursues him on horseback and overtakes his car and kills him. Contrary to tradition, he spares Nino. Ali flees to Daghestan to escape the vengeance of the Armenian family.

After many months, Nino finds Ali in a simple hilltown, the two marry on the spot and spend a few months in blissful poverty. As turmoil follows the Russian Revolution, Ali Khan makes some tough ideological decisions. When the Ottoman Army moves closer to liberate his native Baku, Ali Khan watches the developments closely. The Bolsheviks recapture Baku, and Ali and Nino flee to Iran (Persia). In Tehran, Ali is reminded of his Muslim roots, while Nino is fundamentally unhappy in the confinement of the harem.

Upon establishment of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ali and Nino return and become cultural ambassadors of their new country. Ali is offered a post as ambassador to France – an idea Nino had arranged – but Ali declines, because he fears he will be as unhappy in Paris. When the Red Army descend on Ganja, Azerbaijan, Ali takes up arms to defend his country. Meantime, Nino flees to Georgia with their child, but Ali Khan dies in battle as the Bolsheviks take the country, which in reality led to the establishment of the Soviet domination of Azerbaijan from 1920–1991 and the end of the short-lived Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR, from May 1918 to April 1920).

See also


  1. ^ Azerbaijan International, Vol. 15:2–4 (2011), Photo 5, p. 23
  2. ^ http://azer.com/aiweb/an_covers/123_ali_nino_cover.html
  3. ^ See covers. [1]
  4. ^ http://azer.com/aiweb/an_covers/an_html/german_1937.html
  5. ^ See "101 Reasons Why Yusif Vazir Chamanzaminli is the Core Author of Ali and Nino" in Azerbaijan International, Vol. 15:2–4, pp. 262–318. Also "Essad Bey as Core Author of Ali and Nino: Seven Reasons Why It Just Ain't So," in Azerbaijan International, Vol. 15:2–4, pp. 180–217.
  6. ^ http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118048284?refCatId=13
  7. ^ Ali and Nino musical to premiere in France
  8. ^ Research was carried out by Betty Blair, editor of Azerbaijan International magazine and staff over a period of six years (2004–2010). Documents were studied and analyzed in 10 languages: Azerbaijani, Russian, English, German, French, Italian, Turkish, Georgian, Persian and Swedish and materials were found in National History Archives of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine. Results are published in 360 plus page triple edition of Azerbaijan International, Vol. 15:2–4 (2011), available in English and Azerbaijani languages. Magazine layout hereWhat people say about Azerbaijan International's research here.
  9. ^ http://azer.com/aiweb/categories/magazine/ai152_folder/152_index_eng.html
  10. ^ "101 Reasons why Yusif Vazir Chamanzaminli is the Core Author of Ali and Nino," in Azerbaijan International, Vol. 15:2–4, pp. 262–318.
  11. ^ “'Cut and Paste' Author: Essad Bey’s Fingerprints in Ali & Nino," in Azerbaijan International, Vol. 15:2–4. pp. 230–251.
  12. ^ http://azer.com/aiweb/categories/magazine/ai152_folder/152_pdf/152_pdf_english/ai_152_index_eng.pdf
  13. ^ "Essad Bey as Core Author of Ali and Nino: Seven Reasons Why It Just Ain't So," Azerbaijan International, Vol. 15:2–4, pp. 180–217. [2]
  14. ^ "Folklore: What Essad Bey Didn’t Know. Portrait of the Caucasus"
  15. ^ Injia, Tamar. Ali and Nino – Literary Robbery! IM Books. Norwalk, Conn: 2009. ISBN 0-615-23249-3 / 978-0-615-23249-2
  16. ^ Frequently Asked Questions about the Authorship of "Ali and Nino," FAQ 22, Endnote 37. Azerbaijan International, Vol. 15:2–4 (2011), pp. 56, 100.
  17. ^ Reader's Forum:Ali and Nino Copyright: Leela Ehrenfels
  18. ^ http://azer.com/aiweb/an_covers/an_html/italian_1944.html
  19. ^ For a thorough discussion about the 1944 edition of Ali Khan published by Vacca, see "Frequently Asked Questions about the Authorship of 'Ali and Nino'", in Azerbaijan International, Vol. 15:2–4, pp. 52–137. See specifically FAQ 111–117.
  20. ^ "What a Hoax! Vacca’s Sensational Biographical Account of Essad Bey," in Azerbaijan International, Vol. 15:2–4, pp. 146–147 [3]

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