Night and Day

Night and Day

from 26.95

Abdulhamid Sulaymon o’g’li Cho’lpon
Translated and introduced by Christopher Fort

Series: Central Asian Literatures in Translation
ISBN: 9781644690468 (hardcover), 9781644690475 (paperback)
Pages: approx. 300 pp.; 2 illus.
Publication Date: November 2019

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Night (1934), the first novel of Abdulhamid Sulaymon o’g’li Cho’lpon’s unfinished dilogy of novels, Night and Day, gives readers a glimpse into the everyday struggles of men and women in Russian imperial Turkestan. More than just historical prose, Cho’lpon’s magnum opus reads as poetic elegy and turns on dramatic irony. Though it depicts the terrible fate of a young girl condemned to marry a sexual glutton, nothing is what it seems. Readers find themselves questioning the nature of women’s liberation, colonialism, resistance, and even the intentions of the author, whose life and sequel, Day, were lost to Stalinist terror.


Abdulhamid Sulaymon o’g’li Cho’lpon (1897-1938) was the preeminent poet and litterateur of 1920s and 1930s Uzbekistan. His early 1920s associations with so-called “nationalist” circles, his pessimistic poetry, and his criticism of Soviet power made him the target of a barrage of denunciations in the latter half of the decade. After escaping to Moscow during the first round of purges in Central Asia, he returned to Uzbekistan in 1934 and entered the first half of the incomplete dilogy of novels, Night and Day, into a contest for Uzbek socialist prose works. The novel did not win any of the prizes, but the jury recommended for publication, and it was printed in 1936. The following year the book was the subject of yet further denunciations, and Cho’lpon was arrested. After a relatively acquiescent interrogation—Cho’lpon knew his death was imminent—he was convicted and executed on October 4, 1938.

Christopher Fort holds a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Michigan and an MA in Russian Area Studies from The Ohio State University. He is also the translator of Uzbek author Isajon Sulton’s The Eternal Wanderer.


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Praise

What we call now ‘Uzbek literature’ is one of the branches of great Turkic epic literature, which gave to the world poems like ‘Dede Korkut,’ ‘Manas,’ ‘Alpomysh,’ and many others. It particularly blossomed when cross-pollinated with other cultures and literatures. The first great epoch came with Alisher Navoi, who imbued it with treasures of Arabian-Persian literature. The second great revolution is found in the work of Abdulhamid Cho’lpon. In the beginning of the 20th century he amalgamated Uzbek poetry and prose with Russian and world literature. Cho’lpon is truly an innovative modernist writer and poet, who liberated Uzbek literature from centuries-long classical canons. Christopher Fort’s translation of his only novel brings Cho’lpon back to world literature.
— Hamid Ismailov, author of The Devils’ Dance
Cho’lpon is a foundational figure of modern Uzbek culture and one of the creators of the modern Uzbek language. Night, his major prose work, was banned almost immediately after publication and was out of print for fifty years. Christopher Fort has done us all a tremendous favor by making it available in English. Thanks to his fluent translation, the English-reading public has for the first time direct access to the world of Turkestan under Russian rule. A great achievement.
— Adeeb Khalid, Carleton College

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