Sunday, September 23, 2018

New poems

With the gracious consent of the council of experts at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg, I have been allowed to have scanned two notebooks formerly belonging to the great A. V. Grebenshchikov. Together, these notebooks contain more than 150 Manchu poems.

According to a note on the first page, the first notebook appears to be a copy made for Grebenshchikov from some other book, which was becoming damaged due to frequent handling. Like the Staatsbibliothek poetry, no author seems to be named for these poems. Unlike the Staatsbibliothek poetry, these poems do not seem to have titles.

In terms of literary devices, the new works seem to fit more into Chinese traditions of poetry than Mongolian, but in terms of meter and rhyme they seem quite different from both the Staatsbibliothek and Jakdan poems. I have only begun to dig into this new trove, however, and my impressions are certain to change, so I don’t want to say too much yet.

When I started this blog I only knew of the existence of around 70 Manchu poems, and I thought I could translate them all within a year. Now, with my collection numbering about 329 works, the end of the tunnel seems much farther away than it did before. But the tunnel is also much more interesting than I suspected!

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