Approaches to Kurban Said's Ali and Nino

Approaches to Kurban Said's Ali and Nino

Love, Identity, and Intercultural Conflict

Edited by Carl Niekerk, Cori Crane

Essays showcasing Ali and Nino as particularly topical for today's readers both in and out of the classroom, and providing a number of diverse approaches to it.

Ali and Nino is a novel published in German in 1937 under the alias "Kurban Said," a love story between a Muslim man and a Christian woman set in Baku, Azerbaijan, during World War I and the country's brief independence. It was a major success, translated into several other languages, but was forgotten by the end of World War II. Recent research by the journalist Tom Reiss has revealed the identity of the author as Lev/Leo Nussimbaum (1905-1942), a Jewish man born in Baku who converted to Islam, worked as a journalist in Berlin, and died forgotten in exile. Reiss's discovery has spurred new interest in the novel, as has the fact that the book prefigures today's perceived conflicts between East and West or Islam and Christianity, but also suggests a more peaceful model of intercultural living in multiethnic Baku's melting pot of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. The present volume collects twelve new essays on different aspects of the text by scholars from a variety of disciplines and cultural backgrounds. It is intended to showcase the suitability of Ali and Nino for inclusion in a curriculum focused on German, world literature, or area studies, and to suggest a variety of approaches to the novel while also appealing to its fans.

Contributors: Sara Abdoullah-Zadeh, Cori Crane, Chase Dimock, Christine Rapp Dombrowski, Elizabeth Weber Edwards, Anja Haensch, Kamaal Haque, Lisabeth Hock, Ruchama Johnston-Bloom, Carl Niekerk, Elke Pfitzinger, Soraya Saatchi, Daniel Schreiner, Azade Seyhan.

Carl Niekerk is Professor of German with affiliate appointments in French, Comparative and World Literature, and Jewish Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Cori Crane is Associate Professor of the Practice and Director of the Language Program in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literature at Duke University.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Ali and Nino as World Literature - Carl Niekerk
Notes on Editions of and References to Ali and Nino
Introduction: Ali and Nino as World Literature - Cori Crane
Ali and Nino: The Novel as/of Cultural Translation - Azade Seyhan
Crossing Borders, Crossing Disciplines: Ali and Nino in the Twenty-First Century - Lisabeth M. Hock and Soraya Saatchi
Glowing Rubies and Persian Daggers: The Role of the Persian Poetry in Ali and Nino - Christine Rapp Dombrowski
Gendered Stereotypes and Cross-Cultural Moral Values through the Eyes of Kurban Said - Sara Abdoullah-Zadeh
Orientalist Itineraries: Cultural Hegemony, Gender, Race, and Relition in Ali and Nino - Anja Haensch
Gendered Conflicts in Muslim and Christian Cultures: Honor (and Shame) in Ali and Nino - Elizabeth Weber Edwards
Love and Politics: Retelling History in Ali and Nino and Artush and Zaur - Daniel Schreiner
"Herr Professor, Please: We'd Rather Stay in Asia": Ali Khan Shirvanshir and the Spaces of Baku - Kamaal Haque
The Female Body and the Seduction of Modernity in Ali and Nino - Chase Dimock
Seeing the Unseen: Symbolic Writing in Ali and Nino - Elke Pfitzinger
Ali and Nino and Jewish Questions - Ruchama Johnston-Bloom
Between Orientalism and Occidentalism: Culture, Identity, and the "Clash of Civilizations" in Ali and Nino - Carl Niekerk
Works Cited
Notes on the Contributors

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