External Publications

Azerbaijan-related books and documents published by external organisations.


Leyla and Majnun / Köroghlu

Author: Uzeyir Hajibeyov

Translated from Azerbaijani to French, and prefaced by Shirin Melikov, with the support of the French embassy in Azerbaijan and the French Centre National du Livre (2003).

Leyla and Majnun and Köroghlu are masterpieces of Azerbaijani literature and music, inspired by the two main themes of the Turkic-Oriental culture’s epic tradition. Leyla and Majnun was created in 1908 and tells the tragic love story between two young people. It is an ‘opera in the oriental style’; a synthesis of dramatic action taken from classical poetry and the musical tradition of mugham.

Köroghlu (The Blind Man’s Son), originally published in 1937, is an occidental opera in the tradition of Verdi. Inspired by an epic legend of the 16th Century, the eponymous hero, Körughlu, is well known in the Turkish-speaking world, and across the Caucasus and Central Asia. Körughlu is an oriental Robin Hood. He rebels against the all-mighty feudal seigniors and frees his people from their domination. The opera incorporates original poems as well as ashiq (‘aoidos’ – oral epic poets) chants.

Uzeyir Hajibeyov (1885–1948) descends from a family of musicians and grew up with the popular songs of the mugham singers in his ears. Author of the Azerbaijani national anthem and founder of the Azerbaijani music school, he is the main figure of the musical culture in Azerbaijan. Leyla and Majnun was read by Shain Sinaria at the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris in 2003.

ISBN 2-915037-04-3 / 112 pages / 10€

Purchase at Maison d'Europe et d'Orient (please note: French language website).



The Botanist Monsieur Jordan and the Sorcerer-Dervish Mastali Shah

Author: Mirza Fatali Akhundov

Translated from Azerbaijani into French by Louis Bazin, prefaced by Kazem Shahryari, with the support of the French embassy in Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan (2008).

Shahbaz Bey is a young intellectual who is gripped by the fear that he will not experience anything other than the traditional society of Karabakh in which he was born. His dream is to go to Paris with Monsieur Jordan and study French language and culture.  Yet, his future family-in-law wants to prevent him from leaving and asks the Sorcerer-Dervish Mastali Shah for help. Mastali Sha promises them the destruction of Paris. Soon after, a message from Paris reaches Monsieur Jordan: the city has become hostage to the 1848 turmoil… In this comedy, Mirza Fatali Akhundov draws an admirable picture of the traditions of oriental society. The play mocks the religious archaism and the corruption prevalent in society at the time.

Mirza Fatali Akhundov was born in 1812. In 1834, he started working as a translator of oriental languages for the Russian imperial authorities in Tbilisi, Georgia. Next to his philosophical, poetic texts and pamphlets, he also wrote several comedies that gained him the reputation as the Molière from the Orient’.

ISBN 978-2-915037-48-7 / 96 pages / 11€

Purchase at Maison d'Europe et d'Orient (please note: French language website).