Epic Azerbaijani love poem translated into Korean


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Epic Azerbaijani love poem translated into Korean

The cover of the Korean edition of
The cover of the Korean edition of “Leyli and Majnun” by 12th-century Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi / Courtesy of the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Korea

By Kwon Mee-yoo

“Leyli and Majnun”, an epic love poem by 12th-century Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi, has been translated into Korean, as a literary gesture to commemorate the ties between Azerbaijan and Korea.

The year 2021 has been declared the “Year of Nizami Ganjavi” in Azerbaijan and on the occasion of the 880th anniversary of the poet’s birth, the Azerbaijani Embassy in Korea supported the first-ever translation of Nizami’s poems into Korean.

Azerbaijani Ambassador to Korea Ramzi Teymurov noted that the Korean publication of “Leyli and Majnun” is of great importance to “present wonderful examples of classical Azerbaijani literature to Korean readers and at the same time contribute to the elimination of the dearth of information about Azerbaijan in Korea.”

“Nizami Ganjavi, a prominent representative of world literature, a great Azerbaijani poet and thinker, is one of the few personalities who opened a new page in the artistic thought of mankind. Throughout his life, Nizami Ganjavi lived and created in the ancient Azerbaijani city. of Ganja, one of the important cultural centers of the time, and created marvelous beads of word art that enriched the history of Eastern philosophical-social and artistic-aesthetic thought,” the Ambassador said. to the Korea Times via email.

“In” Leyli and Majnun “which is presented to Korean readers, Nizami was the first to bring to literature the legend of love prevalent among the people of the Middle East and created an immortal epic about freedom of conscience and love.”

Professor Kim Seong-ryong of Hoseo University and Ramin Abasov, who earned his master’s degree at the university, contributed to the translation of Azerbaijani literature into Korean.

Abasov studied Korean at Azerbaijan University of Languages ​​and majored in Korean Classical Literature at Hoseo University. Returning to Azerbaijan in 2005, Abasov worked as a Korean translator.

Abasov’s master’s thesis was on “Presenting 12th-century Azerbaijani love poetry to Korean audiences”, and he added a partial translation of Leyli and Majnun as an appendix.

“But I always wanted to translate the whole poem into Korean language one day. Because the great poet Nizami Ganjavi and his great works have remained unknown to Korean readers. Nizami Ganjavi’s poems have been translated into many foreign languages ​​until now. But there is no Korean translation among these translations. And I decided to contribute to it,” Abasov said.

“Nizami is the most influential and important poet in the history of Azerbaijani literature. Through his literary works, his humanistic view of life, human nature and free will is studied as early as elementary school in Azerbaijan. His name is perpetuated in Azerbaijan. In memory of Nizami Ganjavi you can find many monuments, museums, art centers, streets and avenues named after Nizami.”

Abasov quoted a saying in Azerbaijan, that “Shakespeare is the Nizami of the West”, reflecting the greatness of the poet.

“(Nizami’s) poems showed not only Nizami’s high mastery of poetry, but also his philosophical, aesthetic and ethical views. The virtue of Nizami’s poetry lies in his ability to express people’s desires and aspirations, with a humanism common to all mankind, with the highest artistic talent, with the delicacy of progressive ideas, in their fluidity and simplicity, perceptibility, topicality and depth,” Abasov explained.

“In his poems, he sang of the purity and unconditional love that the human heart longs for. He praised the beauty and wisdom of women while affirming the liberation and natural rights of women in the face of the conflicts of feudal society. Assuming that Nizami lived in the 12th century, when the precepts and laws of Islam were strongly governed, this is quite a surprising and notable thing.”

As the poem was written in the 12th century, translating idioms and features from the medieval language took a long time.

“I had to do a lot of research. In particular, the differences between Korean and Azerbaijani, or Middle Eastern culture, was also a difficult part of the translation,” Abasov said, adding that he was grateful to his academic advisor, Kim. , who revised and perfected the translation.

“If I have the chance, I would like to translate other wonderful literary works of Azerbaijani poets into Korean. I think Korean readers would very much like to read the works of great Azerbaijani poets, such as Fuzuli (16th century) , Nasimi (14th-15th centuries), Khatai (15th-16th centuries) and others.”

“And of course, it would be great if I had the chance to work on the rest of Nizami Ganjavi’s poems that are included in Khamsa, such as ‘The Treasure of Mysteries’, ‘Khosrow and Shirin’, ‘The Seven Beauties’ . and ‘The Book of Alexander.'”

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