16 H. B. Paksoy


H. B. Paksoy
ALPAMYSH: Central Asian Identity under Russian Rule
(Hartford, CT: Association for the Advancement of Central Asian Research, Monograph Series, 1989)
ISBN: (Hardback) 0-9621379-9-5; ISBN: (Paper) 0-9621379-0-1
C I P Data: DK847.P35 958.4 89-81416
Copyright in the Register of Copyrights (U. S. Library of Congress) is owned by the author, and is not assigned.
The volume is also Registered with the Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive Danvers, Massachusetts 01923.

Comments on ALPAMYSH by scholars around the world

Paksoy... is absolutely right about the value of the oral, "folk" records like the dastans for preserving ethnic identity... I am also impressed by Paksoy's insistence (contra a rash of superficial contentions recently) that a fundamental unity of Turks persists across all artificial Soviet divisions.

John A. Armstrong
Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison

It's an impressive achievement and a valuable contribution to an area which has rarely received such meticulous examination as Dr. Paksoy has carried out.

Muriel Atkin
George Washington University

I believe Professor Paksoy has made a germane contribution to our understanding of the dastan genre. His investigation of the Alpamysh epic reveals both the intricacies of the discriminatory processes employed by patrons to suppress individuals' concerns for their nation, and the resilience of the culture itself. He shows as well how determine
generations of Central Asians have been to safeguard the integrity of the Turkish culture. Furthermore, Professor Paksoy's study sheds light on the stories in The Book of Dede Korkut. It shows not only how the Apamysh epic is preserved in the story of the "Bamsi Beyrek of the Grey Horse", but also what processes the latter story, and possibly the other stories in the collection have undergone after the transplantation of the Oghuz from Central Asia to Anatolia. This is, of course, in addition to the lively discussion of Alpamysh's own "ordeal" at the hand of the Russian and Soviet censors who endeavored to destroy its national and Islamic contents.

Iraj Bashiri
University of Minnesota

Through his scholarly commentary on this important epic of the Turkic peoples of Central Asia, Paksoy conveys an understanding of its political as well as its cultural significance for the relationship between the Turkic peoples and the Russian or Soviet state.

Ralph T. Fisher
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Epic and politics -- yes, always!

Arthur T. Hatto
University of London

I have only the highest praise for its scholarship. It combines a solid examination of the dastan with an illuminating case study of the importance of the collective memory for the maintenance of ethnic and community identity.

Keith Hitchins
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

H. B. Paksoy masterly reconstitutes the shabby saga of Tsarist/Soviet efforts first to muzzle this authentic vox populi and then to pervert the message of these texts, now with such petty means as alphabetical/orthographic discrepancies, artificially introduced to limit popular access to such or such variant, then through "softer" and more subtle methods such as various "refinements" of the text itself, i.e in fact outward, fraudulent rewriting of it. Soviet totalitarianism added to this panoply of interferences in foreign affairs the corruption of the corrupters by including into, and submitting to "administrative" structures ultimately dependent on political police the very students put in charge of violating these dastans (pp. 28-32), cornering them at a time into having to express shameful --and how ridiculous-- judgements (pp. 26-27) while depriving them --until now-- of the main, first-hand documents, still buried in various "spetzkhraneniia." No wonder in such conditions if some notorious "coryphei of Soviet Science" turned out, on inquiry, to be mere plagiarists and "falsifiers of History" of the usual, Lyssenko-type (p. 120).

Guy Imart
Universite De Provence
Aix Marseille I

Dr. Paksoy has with the publication of his book rendered a great service not only to Turcologists and Orientalists but also to all tose scholars who devote their time t research in Soviet inter-ethic relations. The Alpamysh is a Central Asian Turkic epos which is of fundamental value and importance for Turkic literature in general. Dr. Paksoy's translation of the Alpamysh, his extensive comments on the text, his deductions based on this genuine Turkic literary monument will be received with great satisfaction everywhere. In addition I would like to express my admiration for Dr. Paksoy's wide reading in a field which has always been connected with difficulty of access.

Ambassador Gunnar Jarring

Dr. Paksoy opened a new stage in Central Asian area studies. The fresh fruits of [his] thorough investigation on Soviet Central Asian literature, history and politics are integrated in this work, in which readers can find two impressive stories, one is the heroic story of Alpamysh commonly known in whole Central Asia and the other the admirable story of Central Asians' persistent efforts to defend their national heritage.

Hisao Komatsu
School of Letters-Tokai University

The epic of Alpamysh (oddly, the very name is virtually unknown in the Turkish Republic) may fairly be described as part of the soul of the Central Asian Turk. Dr. Paksoy's absorbing book contains, besides a text and annotated translation, the story of its fortunes under successive Russian regimes and a concise account of Soviet language policy. This policy has largely succeeded in persuading the scholarly world that the various Turkish dialects of Central Asia are so many distinct languages. The Central Asian Turks, happily unaware of this, find little more difficulty in communicating with each other than a Yorkshireman finds communicating with a Californian. And they all know and love Alpamysh.

Geoffrey L. Lewis
Oxford University

I feel that Paksoy's work is significant, not only in that it lays out the most complete rendition of Alpamysh in English to date, but also in that the accompanying background and analysis present a good picture of an aspect of the cultural transition from a traditional to modern society for the peoples of Central Asia. I recommend it to my students and colleagues.

David C. Montgomery
Brigham Young University

This is one of those rare books which offer the Western Reader a Central Asian Perspective on the Russian conquest of the non-Slavic territories in Asia.

Ewa M. Thompson
Rice University

Dr. Paksoy has done a beautiful job with the dastan Alpamysh. The work is meticulously and exactingly done, and presented clearly.

Wayne S. Vucinich
Stanford University

Full-page advertisements containing above testimonials for ALPAMYSH have been placed by the publisher in the following scholarly journals:

International Journal of Middle East Studies of the Middle East Studies Association, University of Arizona (Cambridge University Press) Vol. 22, No. 4, November 1990
Slavic Review of the American Association for the Advncement of Slavic Studies Stanford University Vol. 49, No. 2, Summer 1990
American Historical Review of the American Historical Association Washington, DC, Vol. 96, No. 1, February 1991
Comparative Literature Studies, Pennsylvania State University Press Vol. 28, No. 2, June 1991
Asian Studies of the Association for Asian Studies, University of Michigan, Vol. 50, No. 3, August 1991
American Political Science Review of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC. Vol. 85, No. 3, September 1991
American Anthropologist, of the American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC, Vol. 93, No. 4, December 1991
Journal of American Folklore of the American Folklore Society, Washington, DC, Vol. 105, No. 416, Spring 1992
Virginia Quarterly Review of the University of Virginia, Vol. 68, No. 2, Spring 1992

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