Focusing on the life and work of the Turkish novelist and translator Vâlâ Nureddin (1901–67), this article provides a historical overview of Turkish and Soviet literary entanglement in the early twentieth century. A collaborator of the globally acclaimed Turkish communist poet Nâzım Hikmet, Vâlâ was educated at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East from 1922 to 1924. Returning to Turkey in 1925, he launched his career in the daily Akşam (Evening), bringing Soviet and Turkish literature into conversation in his serialized translations and literary adaptations of Soviet erotic fiction. In reading Vâlâ’s neglected 1928 erotic historical comedy Baltacı ile Katerina (Baltacı and Catherine), unique among Vâlâ’s writings in its direct and explicit imagination and specification of an entangled revolution, this article suggests, by way of specific attention to this work’s comedic elements, that Vâlâ imagined the collapse of both Russian and Ottoman imperial sovereignty in terms of sexual revolution. It argues that a study of this unjustifiably neglected erotic comedy not only deepens our knowledge of early republican Turkish literature and culture, but provides a more nuanced understanding of the Moscow-centered transnational literary space produced in the aftermath of the Bolshevik revolution, or what scholars in Slavic studies have called the “Soviet republic of letters.”

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