The original title of this short novel,


, is a Persian word that has been adopted into the Turkic languages of Central Asia. Platonov himself glosses the word as “a soul in search of happiness”. In the novel, however, he uses it primarily to designate an imaginary nation composed of the exiles and outcasts of countless other nations. These people are so poor that they have nothing left but their soul, “their ability to feel and suffer” they are so weak, thin and exhausted that their bones rattle when they move and they are in constant danger of forgetting to go on breathing.

Soul begins with the hero, Nazar Chagataev, being ordered by the Party to return from Moscow to his Central Asian homeland, to rescue “the Dzhan nation” and lead it from the “hell” of the

1972 words

Citation: Chandler, Robert. "Dzhan". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 June 2006 [, accessed 22 June 2024.]

14442 Dzhan 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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