This dissertation represents the first general study dedicated to the qyssakhan, the Karakalpak storyteller who orally transmits written literature. It consists of an introduction, two chapters, a conclusion and a bibliography. The first chapter deals with the first school of qyssakhans, founded by a scholar named Korazbek at the end of the nineteenth century, with the aim of teaching the people mostly in Arabic and Persian literature. The author analyses the links between colonisation by the Russian Empire of the upper side of the Amu-Darya River and some positive consequences that were brought about by it for the Karakalpaks from a cultural viewpoint. The second chapter is dedicated to another school, created by Qazi Mawlikan in Chimbay. The author identifies this school as the one that brought Turkic culture into present-day Karakalpakistan, using the translation and interpretation of numerous epics such as “Görögly” and “Yusup-Ahmad”. In this chapter, K. A. Pakhratdinov analyses the cultural and artistic impact of Qazi Mawlikan’s school, and the impact of other schools on society. Through its description of the local phenomenon of the qyssakhan schools, this work contributes to a better understanding of early modern Karakalpak society.

Frédéric Léotar, University of Montreal
CER: II-5.3.A-466