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The Prose of the Mountains

Three Tales of the Caucasus

Aleksandre Qazbegi (1848-1893)

Translated and edited by Rebecca Gould, Reader in Translation Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Bristol.

The Prose of the Mountains contains three tales of the Caucasus by Aleksandre Qazbegi, one of the most prescient and gifted chroniclers of the Georgian encounter with colonial modernity. His stories offer an invaluable counterpoint to the predominantly Russian narratives that have hitherto shaped scholarly accounts of the nineteenth-century Caucasus. “Memoirs of a Shepherd” poignantly chronicles the young author’s decision to pass seven years of his life as a shepherd with Georgian mountaineers. “Eliso” (the name of a Chechen girl) offers one of the most searing accounts on record of the forced migration of this people from their homeland to Ottoman lands. Set in the sixteenth century, “Khevis Beri Gocha” (the name of a Georgian village chief) classically chronicles a tragic misunderstanding between a severe father and his loving son.

Read a short bio of Qazbegi here

The book was featured in the Nota Bene section of the Sept/Oct 2016 issue of World Literature Today.

260 pages, twelve illustrations, 2015
ISSN 1418-0162 CEU Press Classics
978-615-5053-52-8 paperback

$17.95 / €13.95 / £11.99

"This collection of 19th century tales of ethnic oppression and forced migration resonates today. It is a break-through translation of literature that has not previously been translated into English from the original Georgian. The author Aleksandre Qazbegi left his position in the Georgian ruling class for seven years to be a shepherd on the Dariel Gorge, during an era when both Georgia and Chechnya lived under the oppression of the Russian Tsar. Qazbegi got to know the mountaineers sharing their hard scrabble way of life in hamlets far removed from modern conveniences in a way no writer had done before.
The book features several background sections written by the translator. The 'Afterward' tells of the literary history before and after the author’s era and stresses how Aleksandre Qazbegi has stood out as the greatest Georgian writer because of how his writings regularly questioned the legitimacy of Imperialism. According to Gould, Qazbegi remains the writer who best understood and narrated the struggles of the Muslim mountaineers of Chechnya. Not even Tolstoy’s better known 'Hadji Murad' did a better job chronicling the mountaineer’s experience with colonialism." - An Amazon Customer

Other titles in the series