Night and Day
Night and Day
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
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.