Jangar: The Heroic Epic of the Kalmyk Nomads

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Univ of California Press, Jan 10, 2023 - History - 264 pages
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The first English translation of a Kalmyk epic nearly lost to history.

This is the first English translation of Jangar, the heroic epic of the Kalmyk nomads, who are the Western Mongols of Genghis Khan’s medieval empire in Europe. Today, Kalmykia is situated in the territory that was once the Golden Horde, founded by the son of Genghis Khan, Juchi. Although their famed khanates and cities have long since disappeared under the sands of the Great Eurasian Steppe, the Kalmyks have witnessed, memorized, and orally transmitted some of the most transformative developments, both victorious and tragic, in the history of civilizations. A tribute to the protectors of the mythical country Bumba, Jangar reflects the hopes and aspirations of the Kalmyk people as well as their centuries-long struggle for their cultural existence.
 
This new English translation is more than a tribute to the artistic creativity and imagination of the Kalmyk people—it is also an important step in their struggle for cultural survival. It was only after centuries of oral transmission that the songs and stories surrounding Jangar were written down. When the first translation, into Russian, finally appeared, Stalin had the entire Kalmyk population deported to Siberia and ordered that their national literature be eliminated from the published world. This Soviet repression has had enormous consequences for world literature, silencing nomadic voices and keeping hidden their distinctive contributions. Making Jangar available in English is a landmark event, bringing a lost classic to the world’s attention and restoring the voices of an almost-erased tradition at the heart of the history of Eurasia.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
jangar
31
Prologue
33
How Shaman Golden Heart Joined Jangars Khanate
45
How Scarlet Lion Khongor Got Married
55
How Scarlet Lion Khongor Fought with Mighty Hero Jilgan Khan
109
How Scarlet Lion Khongor Defeated Khan Iron Head Mangna
127
How Alya Monkhlya Stole Great Khan Jangars Eighteen Thousand Golden Palominos
141
How Mingian the Finest Man in the Universe Stole Ten Thousand Pintos from Turk Khan
151
How Mingian the Finest Man in the Universe Captured Mighty Kurmen Khan
177
How Serious Sanal Defeated the Country of HalfHuman Giants
197
How Savar Heavy Arm Defeated Kilgan Khan
219
How Three Sons Captured Mighty Badmin Ulan
231
Glossary
251
Copyright

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About the author (2023)

Saglar (Saga) Bougdaeva was born and raised in Kalmykia. Central to Bougdaeva's work as a scholar of the Eurasian studies is a commitment to identifying and preserving the nomadic oral and written heritage of the Great Eurasian Steppe. Before receiving a PhD in Sociology from Yale University, Bougdaeva studied Mongolian-Tibetan-Mandarin linguistics at Saint Petersburg State University.

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