The Secret History of the Mongols: A Mongolian Epic Chronicle of the Thirteenth Century - Vol. 1

The Secret History of the Mongols: A Mongolian Epic Chronicle of the Thirteenth Century - Vol. 1

The Secret History of the Mongols: A Mongolian Epic Chronicle of the Thirteenth Century - Vol. 1

The Secret History of the Mongols: A Mongolian Epic Chronicle of the Thirteenth Century - Vol. 1

Synopsis

"The present translation of the famous thirteenth century epic chronicle known as the Secret History of the Mongols is the product of thirty years' continuous investigation of this difficult text. Over 1,300 primary and secondary sources, as well as monographs and essays in many languages, have been consulted by the author who is a specialist in Sino-Mongolian Studies at the Australian National University, Canberra. Its chief value lies in the historical and philological commentary accompanying the translation, by far the most extensive of its kind. The translation itself, while close to the original, is at the same time eminently readable. The lengthy introduction provides a valuable and original insight into the history of the text and its importance as a historical source and literary monument. The three comprehensive indices (of names, subjects, grammar and lexis) also make this book a useful reference work for research on a variety of subjects related to Central Asia and China in the 12th and 13th centuries." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Thirty-five years ago I began working on a translation of the Secret History of the Mongols which was published in eleven instalments in the journal Papers on Far Eastern History at the Australian National University between 1971 and 1985.

As I stated in the Introduction to the first issue, my reason for undertaking the translation was to provide students and nonspecialist readers with an up-to-date English rendering of the Secret History pending the publication of Professor F.W. Cleaves' magnum opus. the latter had been completed in 1956 and typeset in 1957, but Cleaves deferred its release. the reasons for the delay were such that publication might be postponed indefinitely. Furthermore, I knew from Cleaves' other publications that his translation was a literal one in somewhat archaic, biblical English, modelled on that of the Authorized Version of 1611. Professor N. Poppe, then at the University of Washington, Seattle, had earlier encouraged me to prepare a complete word-index to the Secret History, which appeared in the Indiana University Uralic and Altaic Series in 1972. Fearing that Cleaves' work would never be published, he now urged me to prepare a badly-needed translation into current English together with a basic commentary. Fr. Henry Serruys, with whom I was corresponding, also encouraged me to undertake the task.

When Cleaves' translation was eventually published in 1982, mine was well advanced and the commentary was assuming fairly large proportions. Since Cleaves' announced commentary (which was to form Volume ii of his edition) did not eventuate, I persevered and completed my translation in 1985, following it with a list of Additions and Corrections in 1986. I was by then aware that 1) my translation and commentary, especially of the first six chapters, needed a thorough revision, and 2) Cleaves had virtually given up the idea of producing the commentary volume.

For these reasons, I decided in 1987 to prepare a new, updated edition of my translation, enlarging the commentary so as . . .

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