In memoriam: Izzaddin Mustafa Rasul (1934-2019), Iraqi Kurdish man of letters and Soviet-trained scholar
Keywords:Ahmed Khani, Kurdish literature, Mem û Zîn, Soviet Kurdology
The literary scholar Izzaddin Mustafa Rasul (1934-2019) was one of the greatest Iraqi Kurdish scholars trained in the Soviet Union. He was one of a cohort of Iraqi students who received scholarships for study in the USSR in the wake of the 1958 coup that overthrew the Iraqi monarchy, and his time in the USSR coincided with the period of flourishing of Kurdish studies there. Rasul’s PhD dissertation analyzed the development of Kurdish literature within a schematic Marxist-Leninist developmental framework. In his major work, however, which focused on Ahmed Khani and his Mem û Zîn, he went well beyond the standard Soviet treatment of literary works and focused especially on the dimensions of Sufi theosophy and other Islamic content in the work. In this respect, Rasul’s work stands out as a rare exception in Soviet Oriental studies. It remains one of the most ambitious studies of the early modern Kurdish poet Khani.
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