Originally published in 1969, this book consists of a revised
version of Dr Chadwick's section on the oral literature of the
Turkic peoples in The Growth of Literature with supplementary
material on the results of research in the Soviet Union by
Professor Victor Zhirmunsky. This literature is of the greatest
interest and variety, and not excessively 'strange' to readers of
European oral literature. It was produced by nomadic peoples with
well-developed traditions of narrative heroic poetry. Dr Chadwick
paraphrases and analyses the more important epics; and Professor
Zhirmunsky adds a study on epic songs and their singers on the
processes of oral transmission. This is a fascinating study that
will be of particular interest to scholars of comparative
literature and of the origins of literature generally; but it
should also be read by anthropologists and scholars of folklore.
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