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27 - From the Wandering Poets to the Stateless Novelists

A Short Introduction to Kurdish Literary History

from Part VI - Art, Culture and Literature

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 April 2021

Hamit Bozarslan
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris
Cengiz Gunes
The Open University, Milton Keynes
Veli Yadirgi
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
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While Kurdish classical poetry has a long history of many centuries, the modern Kurdish narrative discourse, that is, the Kurdish novel and short story, rises in the early decades of the twentieth century. Reviewing the life of some of the most influential Kurdish poets shows that they usually crossed the borders between the different parts of Kurdistan within the frame of the Ottoman and Iranian empires. These poets mainly served the Kurdish ethnic awareness and literary heritage. Having been deprived of a Kurdish nation-state, modern Kurdish narrative discourse encounters a dilemma as far as the national setting of its narratives is considered. Contrary to the earlier Kurdish poets who could wander to different parts of Kurdistan, the modern Kurdish novelists provide their imaginary characters with such an opportunity of crossing the strictly defined national borders of the modern nation-states in which the Kurds live. These characters, suffering from the lack of a defined national identity and a state of their own, challenge the borders between various parts of Kurdistan by crossing them. The wandering feature of the classical poets and the imaginary communities of the Kurdish novelists are among the distinguishing characteristics of the Kurdish literature in the past and the modern era.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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