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The World of the Khanty Epic Hero-Princes
An Exploration of a Siberian Oral Tradition


Part of University of Cambridge Oriental Publications

Daniel Prior
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  • Date Published: February 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107103214

£ 78.99

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About the Authors
  • In his final book, the late Arthur Hatto analyses the Khanty epic tradition in Siberia on the basis of eighteen texts of Khanty oral heroic epic poems recorded and edited by a succession of Hungarian and Russian scholars in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book examines the world view of an indigenous culture as reconstructed from its own words, demonstrates a flexible outline for organising an analytical dossier of the genre of oral heroic epic poetry in a specific culture, and presents an abundance of new information to compare with better-known heroic epics. Consisting of main sections on The Cosmos, Time, The Seasons, Geography, Spirits, Personae, Warfare, Armour and Weapons, and Men's Handiwork, the book also includes a section of background information on the Khanty people. Marianne Bakró-Nagy contributes specialist knowledge of the Khanty language to the linguistic interpretation of the texts, and there is an afterword by Daniel Prior.

    • Provides a deep analysis of a tradition of oral heroic epic poetry from a less-studied Eurasian region and language, giving readers an abundance of new information to compare with better-known heroic epics, such as the Homeric
    • Recognises an 'exotic', 'archaic' verbal art genre as the work of serious, highly aware thinkers, presenting the world view of an indigenous culture as meticulously reconstructed through its own words
    • Demonstrates a flexible outline for organising an analytical dossier of the genre of oral heroic epic poetry in a specific culture
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… The World of the Khanty Epic Hero-Princes is in many ways a fantastically detailed primer to a world as yet invisible to those who cannot read Khanty, Hungarian, or German …' Gabriel McGuire, Journal of Folklore Research

    'Hatto finalizes his career-spanning work on epic traditions with this publication, monumental in analytical interpretation and in its attempt to glimpse some reflections of the 'archaic mind'. … This book's achievement is in documenting and conveying the cultural richness and nuanced topographies of the Khanty endemic landscapes and home territories whose singers seem to have been silenced forever.' Tero Mustonen, Sibirica

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107103214
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.53kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus. 2 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Background: the Khanty
    2. The eighteen Khanty heroic epics, their collectors and publishers
    3. Introduction
    4. The Cosmos
    5. Time
    6. The Seasons
    7. Geography
    8. Spirits
    9. Personae
    10. Warfare
    11. Armour and weapons
    12. Men's handiwork
    13. Afterword: Arthur Hatto, ethnopoetics, and epic moments Daniel Prior.

  • Author

    Arthur Hatto
    Arthur Hatto, FBA (1910–2010) was a scholar of medieval German literature and, especially after his retirement from the University of London, where he served as Professor of German from 1953 to 1977, the comparative study of oral heroic epic poetry. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where he had served as a Governor, and a Corresponding Member of the Finno-Ugrian Society. His other publications include translations from Middle High German poems for Penguin Classics: Tristan (1960), the Nibelungenlied (1965), and Parzival (1980); the edition and translation The Memorial Feast for Kökötöy-Khan (Kökötöydün Ašı): A Kirghiz Epic Poem (1977); general editorship of Traditions of Heroic and Epic Poetry (1980–1989), the two-volume proceedings of the London Seminar on Epic, which Hatto chaired from 1964 to 1972; Essays on Medieval German and Other Poetry (1980); and The Mohave Heroic Epic of Inyo-Kutavêre (1999).


    Daniel Prior

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