The Rhetoric and Performance of the Trickster Nasreddin

This article was published in Iran Namag, Volume 2, Number 1, Spring 2017, co-authored with Kamran Afary.


The legendary Nasreddin is the most popular folk character in the lore of the Middle East, Central Asia, the Balkans, Southern Russia, and Transcaucasia. There are some regional variations on his name. The Turks, Greeks, Serbs, Croatians, and Albanians call him Nasreddin Hoçâ (pronounced “Hoja”). In Iran and the modern-day republics of Azerbaijan and Georgia, he is called Mullâ Nasreddin. Some of the puns attributed to Nasreddin originated in the Arab world, where the trickster is called Johâ (Djohâ). In Central Asia, Nasreddin is known as Ependi (Effendi).

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