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Samples of Folk Literature of the Northern Turkish Tribes. First publication of Manas.

Samples of Folk Literature of the Northern Turkish Tribes. First publication of Manas.

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Central Asia / Poetry
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[Samples of Folk Literature of the Northern Turkish Tribes. Part V. Dialect of the Kara-Kyrgyz]. Proben Der Volksliteratur Der Noerdlichen Tuerkischen Staemme. Part V. Dialect Der Kara-Kirgisen. 

Compiled by V. Radlov (Radloff). 
Title in Russian and German.

Sankt-Peterburg, tipografiia Imperatorskoi Akademii Nauk, 1885.
8vo, [6], XXVI, 599 pp.

In modern hardcover.
In good condition, restoration to title and original wrappers.

The first publication of the Kyrgyz epic Manas (in the Kyrgyz language using the Cyrillic-based alphabet). Most likely, the first instance of Kyrgyz appearing in print.

Manas is arguably the world's longest poem, with its origins dating back about a thousand years, though the entire text was recorded approximately five hundred years ago. Traditionally sung without the accompaniment of any musical instrument, the epic existed solely in oral form for centuries as the Kyrgyz people had no written language.
One of the songs was first transcribed in 1856 by Shoqan Walikhanov, a Kazakh ethnographer and participant in The Great Game, who dubbed Manas "The Iliad of the Steppe." However, it was only in 1904 that this song was published in his Russian translation.
This particular publication of Manas was compiled by Friedrich Wilhelm Radloff (Radlov; 1837-1918), a German scientist and orientalist. While studying Uralic and Altaic languages, he learned Russian and eventually became a Russian citizen. The results of his extensive expeditions were documented in his multi-volume work "Samples of Folk Literature of Turkic Tribes" (1866-1907), which included the text of Manas. Radloff recorded these songs during expeditions in 1862 and 1869.
Radloff developed his own alphabet to transcribe Turkish language texts, including the songs of Manas, based on the traditional Russian transcription system. This alphabet comprised 17 letters for vowels, 34 for consonants, as well as diacritic signs and unique symbols to denote specific pronunciations.
In the early 20th century, Kyrgyz texts began to be published using Arabic and Latin alphabets before transitioning to the Cyrillic-based alphabet in the 1940s.

OCLC locates only one copy in USA: in the Dartmouth College Library.

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