List of Questions
Frequently Asked Questions about the Authorship of “Ali and Nino”
158 Questions, 543 Endnotes
Purchase this edition: Azerbaijan International, Vol. 15:2-4 (2011)
Table of Contents
364 pages, 1200 photos
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. When was "Ali and Nino" originally published?
2. Where was it first published?
3. In which language?
4. Who owns the copyright?
5. How many languages has the novel "Ali and Nino" been published in?
6. So, that makes "Ali and Nino" the most internationally well-known literary work about Azerbaijan. Right?
7. What does the book have to do with Azerbaijan?
8. Who is the author of "Ali and Nino"?
9. So, who is “Kurban Said"?
10. Which of these authors does Azerbaijan International support?
11. Why are you so sure that Yusif Chamanzaminli is the core writer?
12. Were attitudes about plagiarism different in the early 20th century than what they are today?
13. Is Chamanzaminli the sole author?
14. Who were the other authors involved?
15. What was the chronology? How did these other authors get involved with "Ali and Nino"?
16. How can you be so sure that Essad Bey was involved in writing "Ali and Nino"?
17. But if certain passages in "Ali and Nino" can absolutely be traced to Essad Bey, then how can you be so sure that he didn’t write the entire original script?
18. What about Grigol Robakidze?
19. What about Elfriede Ehrenfels?
20. Did these four authors collaborate together on the work?
21. Did Chamanzaminli know Essad Bey?
22. Did Essad Bey know the other writers? What about Robakidze?
23. Did Essad Bey know Elfriede Ehrenfels?
24. The novel "Ali and Nino" was not published until 1937—17 years after the Bolsheviks seized power in Baku. So when would the original manuscript most likely have been written?
25. If Chamanzaminli were the core writer of "Ali and Nino," when would he have written it?
26. Had Chamanzaminli written any novels before 1920?
27. What was Essad Bey doing between the years of 1920 and 1923?
28. If Chamanzaminli is the core writer of "Ali and Nino," then how did an Austrian publisher gain access to the novel?
29 How is the novel "Ali and Nino" linked to the Istanbul National Library?
30. What claims are made about the identity of Kurban Said in the 1971 Turkish edition of "Ali and Nino"?
31. Who did Lucy Tal think had written Ali and Nino?
32. What did Lucy Tal think about Essad Bey?
33. Was Chamanzaminli courageous enough to have written a book that would challenge governmental authority and place his life in jeopardy?
34. Are there any known links between Yusif Vazir Chamanzaminli and Vienna?
35. Did Kraelitz have any relationship with Chamanzaminli?
36. If "Ali and Nino" was published in Vienna in 1937, did Chamanzaminli ever see the book since he had already returned to Baku in 1926?
37. Tom Reiss doesn’t give any credence to the idea of Chamanzaminli having anything to do with "Ali and Nino".
38. Why was it so important for Reiss to make the link between Essad Bey and "Ali and Nino"?
39. When did Tom Reiss visit Azerbaijan?
40. When did Reiss first publish about Essad Bey being the author of "Ali and Nino"?
41. Why did Reiss return to Azerbaijan a second time?
42. So it was after Reiss had built his reputation in "The New Yorker" and made his claims about Essad Bey’s authorship for "Ali and Nino" that he interviewed serious contenders for the Chamanzaminli point of view?
43. Who did Reiss interview in Azerbaijan?
44. Does Reiss discuss Yusif Vazir Chamanzaminli in "The Orientalist"?
45. How did Reiss come to the conclusion that Chamanzaminli was not part of the picture?
46. Where did Tom Reiss go wrong in his research about Yusif Vazir Chamanzaminli?
47. Where else does Reiss’ research fall short in regard to the authorship issue?
48. Which of Chamanzaminli’s works did Reiss read?
49. Was Chamanzaminli a poet?
50. Why was Tom Reiss convinced that Lev Nussimbaum (Essad Bey) was Kurban Said and, thus, the author of Ali and Nino.
51. To which nationality did Essad Bey claim to belong?
52. And what about Azerbaijan? Did Essad Bey ever claim to be Azerbaijani?
53. Where does Lev Nussimbaum say he was born?
54. But was Lev Nussimbaum (Essad Bey) actually born in Baku?
55. Is there no place in writing where Essad Bey himself claims to be Azerbaijani?
56. Were there any book reviews or publisher’s announcements that identified Essad Bey as an Azerbaijani?
57. When "Ali and Nino" was published, did Essad Bey make any effort to identify with it?
58. What attitude did Chamanzaminli hold about the Arabic script?
59. What do we know about Essad Bey’s attitude toward the Arabic script especially since Azerbaijani was written in this alphabet when he was living in Baku?
60. What books did Essad Bey write about Azerbaijan?
61. How did Essad Bey describe his own flight from Azerbaijan?
62. How does the last scene in "Ali and Nino" contrast with Essad Bey’s last scene in "Blood and Oil"?
63. What about Essad Bey’s other books? For example, how does he depict Azerbaijan in "Twelve Secrets of the Caucasus"?
64. What about Essad Bey’s first biography "Stalin"? How is Azerbaijan described there?
65. What about the book "Der Kaukasus" (The Caucasus)? In the context of the entire region, how does Essad Bey depict Azerbaijan?
66. What about Essad Bey’s "Flüssiges Gold"? Are Azerbaijani Oil Barons mentioned?
67. Is "Flüssiges Gold" written from an Azerbaijani perspective?
68. What about Essad Bey’s book about "White Russia". Are Azerbaijanis mentioned?
69. What about Essad Bey’s articles? What did he write about Azerbaijan?
70. Was Griboyedov’s play “Woes from Wit” ever staged in Azerbaijan?
71. Was there any connection between Yusif Vazir Chamanzaminli and Griboyedov?
72. How accurate is Essad Bey’s account of Griboyedov?
73. Was Essad Bey able to choose his topics in the German literary magazine "Die literarische Welt"?
74. Did Essad Bey write about Azerbaijan in any other publication?
75. Did Essad Bey write anything about “Oriental Love” or women’s rights since it is one of the central themes in "Ali and Nino"?
76. Did Essad Bey write about the veil?
77. What about other Eastern traditional practices related to marriage—kidnapping and divorce?
78. How does Chamanzaminli depict love in the Orient?
79. Why did the author use a penname for "Ali and Nino"?
80. But doesn’t Tom Reiss say that Essad Bey needed a pseudonym?
81. What were the reasons that Essad Bey would have needed a pseudonym?
82. Are the reasons true that Reiss suggests for Essad Bey needing a new pseudonym?
83. Did anyone else claim to be Kurban Said?
84. What is the meaning of “Kurban Said”?
85. What about Essad Bey? Does he explain where the name “Kurban Said” came from?
86. How did Vacca explain the meaning of the pseudonym “Kurban Said?”
87. Do Muslims greet each other by saying “Kurban Said” on that Muslim holiday? Is that true?
88. Could the pseudonym Kurban Said convey some other meaning?
89. Are there any possible links between Yusif Vazir Chamanzaminli and the name “Seyid?”
90. Are there any links between Chamanzaminli and the name “Kurban?”
91. Did Chamanzaminli ever refer to himself as “Gurban?”
92. So, who created the name of Kurban Said?
93. Did Chamanzaminli ever use other pseudonyms?
94. What were some of the pseudonyms that Chamanzaminli used throughout his career?
95. Isn’t “Chamanzaminli” also a pen name?
96. How did Yusif Vazirov decide to settle on “Chamanzaminli” as his main penname in Azerbaijan?
97. What about Essad Bey? Did he use other pen names?
98. Why do some editions of "Ali and Nino" identify the author as German?
99. Did Essad Bey know Azeri?
100. What languages did Lev Nussimbaum use at home?
101. Did Lev ever study Azeri?
102. What about Turkish? Did Lev know Turkish?
103. Did Essad Bey ever comment about the Azerbaijani language in his books?
104. How does Essad Bey use the Azeri language in dialogs in his one book that is set in Azerbaijan?
105. Originally, in what language was "Ali and Nino" written?
106. If the text were originally written in Azeri, how did it get translated into German since the first edition came out in German?
107. Why is some of the dialog in "Ali and Nino" expressed in Turkish?
108. Tom Reiss insists that "Ali and Nino" could not have been originally written in Azeri because the first translation into Azeri was made in the 1970s.
109. Could Chamanzaminli have carried the original Azeri manuscript back to Baku with him?
110. Are Chamanzaminli’s works available to researchers?
111. Who was Vacca?
112. How do other researchers view Vacca?
113. Does anyone support Vacca?
114. What is Azerbaijan International’s position about Vacca?
115. How does Vacca try to support Essad Bey?
116. What role did Vacca play in Essad Bey’s burial?
117. What is the controversy about Vacca’s Italian edition of "Ali and Nino"?
118. Why did Vacca change the name to Ali Khan?
119. When did “Ali Khan” appear in print?
120. Why would Girl from the Golden Horn have appeared in print before "Ali and Nino"?
121. Then why would Vacca have released "Golden Horn" first?
122. Was Asiadeh the original title of "Girl from the Golden Horn"? Is that why Vacca changed it?
123. Is it possible that "Ali Khan" and "Girl with the Golden Hair" really were the original titles?
124. Except for changing the title to "Ali Khan," did Vacca make any other changes to the original text of Ali and Nino?
125. Why was the main character in the 1944 Italian edition of "Ali and Nino" named Erika, instead of Nino?
126. Were there any other significant changes made to the storyline in Vacca’s Italian edition—"Ali Khan"?
127. What were the “working titles” for Kurban Said’s books? Were they identical to the titles that Vacca said were the original titles?
128. How do we know that Essad Bey was really Lev Nussimbaum? Maybe these were two separate individuals.
129. In what cases did Essad Bey himself reveal his identity as Nussimbaum?
130. On what occasions did contemporaries identify Essad Bey as Nussimbaum?
131. What government documents exist that combine the two names—Lev Nussimbaum with Essad Bey?
132. Was Lev Nussimbaum a Jew?
133. Was Essad Bey a Muslim?
134. Did the émigré Muslim community consider Essad Bey a Muslim?
135. Was Essad Bey knowledgeable about Islam?
136. Did Westerners think that Essad Bey was Muslim?
137. Did Lev Nussimbaum (Essad Bey) die from Raynaud’s disease?
138. When did Essad Bey first become aware that he had this disease?
139. What is the story behind "Allah ist Gross"? Whatever happened to Wolfgang von Weisl, who co-authored the book with Essad Bey?
140. What was Niva von Weisl’s reaction to the removal of her grandfather’s name in writing "Allah ist Gross"?
141. Is there any precedence in Essad Bey’s works for dropping the name of a co-author?
142. What is "Der Mann"?
143. Who wrote "Der Mann"?
144. What is the relationship between "Ali and Nino" and "The Man Who Knew Nothing About Love" (Der Mann)?
145. How do "Der Mann" and "Ali and Nino" compare in content?
146. When was "Der Mann" written?
147. When did Essad Bey become ill?
148. Did Essad Bey’s governess Alice Schulte mention the "Der Mann" notebooks?
149. Did Vacca-Mazzara mention the "Der Mann" notebooks?
150. Is there evidence that "Der Mann" might have been written earlier than 1940?
151. What does it matter if "Der Man"n were written earlier?
152. How did Tom Reiss gain access to the "Der Mann" notebooks?
153. Are the "Der Mann" Notebooks available for readers to study?
154. Who was Annemarie Selinko and how does she figure into the issue of authorship of "Ali and Nino"?
155. What other issues are left to research about the authorship of "Ali and Nino"?
a. Grigol Robakidze (1882–1962)
b. Rene Fülöp-Miller (1891-1963)
c. Amin Al-Rihani (1876-1940)
d. Egon Erwin Kisch (1885-1948)
e. Herta Pauli (1906-1973)
f. Werner Schendell (1891-1971)
156. Where is the original manuscript of Kurban Said’s "Ali and Nino"?
157. Where might researchers begin to look for the original manuscript?
158. When Vacca was preparing the Italian edition of "Ali and Nino", didn’t he claim to have access to the original manuscript?
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