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The imagined nation-state in Soviet literature: The case of Koshpendiler

  • Gulnara Dadabayeva (a1) and Dina Sharipova (a1)


This article focuses on the famous novel Koshpendiler (1976) by Ilyas Esenberlin. This literary work occupies a special place in Soviet Kazakh literature because it raises important problems such as the foundation of the state and nation, the sense of territoriality, and the struggle against Russian colonizers. The authors argue that this historical novel can be considered as an example of post-colonial discourse. The novel itself is an extrapolation of the 1970s’ Soviet reality when national Union republics, including Kazakhstan, were seeking greater independence. Kazakh cultural elites and the intelligentsia turned to the past history of nation-building to address the problems of the present day. Not having an opportunity to openly express their views, the Kazakh establishment preferred to express their national sentiments through the historical genre. In this work, the authors suggest their own vision of Soviet national literature from political science and historical perspectives.


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The nation comes into being with understanding and respect for its past. (Ilyas Esenberlin)



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Nationalities Papers
  • ISSN: 0090-5992
  • EISSN: 1465-3923
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