Founder of Azerbaijani realistic tragedy genre in literature
By Laman Ismayilova
Najaf bay Vazirov has gone down in the history books as the founder of the realistic tragedy genre in Azerbaijan. The writer was also known as the first feuilletonist (a writer of feuilletons) in the country, Azernews reports.
Vazirov was born in Shusha, where he also received his primary education. He finished a gymnasium (secondary school) in Baku with a silver medal.
In Baku, the young writer met with the founder of the first Azerbaijani language newspaper "Akinchi" (The Ploughman) who taught at the school.
Noticing the student's interest in the theater, Hasan bay started to involve him in staging the works of the founder of the Azerbaijani drama Mirza Fatali Akhundov.
Akhundov's plays were staged for the first time in the Azerbaijani language, and thus, they laid the foundation for professional Azerbaijani theatrical art.
In his student years, Najaf bay often visited Moscow theaters, where he became more deeply acquainted with the works of the classics of the Russian drama, among which he especially admired Alexander Ostrovsky's plays.
Moscow theaters made an indelible impression on the young Azerbaijani writer and aroused in him an interest in realistic dramaturgy.
So, Najaf bay started to write articles, essays, and feuilletons for the newspaper "Akinchi" (The Ploughman).
Founder of realistic tragedy genre in Azerbaijan
In his works, Vazirov exposed and criticized the remnants of feudalism in society.
In 1896, Vazirov wrote the first Azerbaijani tragedy "Fakhraddin's grief" in which he created a positive image of a young Azerbaijani educator-landowner, protesting against feudal orders, and striving to reform the patriarchal lifestyle.
The tragedy touches upon the theme of fanaticism suppressing young educated minds who struggle against reactionism and ignorance.
Najaf bay Vazirov is considered the first example of the realistic tragedy genre in Azerbaijani literature.
In his subsequent works such as Pahlivan-i Zamana (Heroes of Our Time) the writer also criticized the patriarchal social system.
His last work, Taza asrin ibtidasi (The Beginning of the New Century) was dedicated to women's emancipation.
Najaf bay Vazirov's theater productions
The second period of Najaf bay Vazirov's creativity coincided with the oil boom, the flourishing of Baku capitalism, and bourgeois life in the late XIX and early XX centuries.
His works "Heroes of the time" (1898–1900), "Aghakarim Khan of Ardabil" (1902), "The Cursed Money Hunter Haji Faraj" (1914), and other plays significantly enriched the repertoire of the Azerbaijani theaters.
The theater productions, like "The Stone Thrown From Behind Hits the Heel", "From Rain To Downpour" also made Vazirov an immortal classic of Azerbaijan literature.
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Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lamiva993