The evolution of the ruba‘i poetical form is followed throughout the centuries from its first developments with Rudaki to its improvements by Persian-writing poets of the Ghaznawid and Saljuqid periods (‘Unsuri, Farrukhi, Manuchihri, Mu‘izzi—but also the lesser known Am‘aq Bukhari, Suzani Samarqandi, Hasan Ghaznawi . . .), and its sophistication in the fourteenth century with ‘Umar Khayyam and the growing influence of Sufism. In spite of the author’s erudition, some unfortunate misconceptions and a conceptual apparatus still limited to arch-classical authors of the Soviet period (Bertel’s, Braginskii, Hodizoda . . .) do not really permit him to propose an innovative historical reconstruction. The paper’s main originality (allowed by the author’s good command of both Uzbek and Tajik bibliographies) has consisted of bracketing together the history of Turkic ruba‘i from the thirteenth century onwards at the court of Sultan Sanjar (with trilingual poets like Badr al-Din Qawwami and Jamal Qarshi) with the Persian roots of this form. However, in this part too E. Ochilov’s historical narrative remains rather classical, with reference to the Turkic or bilingual achievements of Nawayi, Babur, and ‘Ubaydi in the fifteenth century, and to Bidil’s growing influence in Transoxiana from the eighteenth century onwards. As it is too often the case in Soviet and Central Eurasian history writing, the historical development on the long or medium duration is sometimes limited to the enumeration of poets’ names without great effort at assessing their respective contribution.
In the same issue of Uzbek tili va adabiioti, the reader can get acquainted with another study, by Maqsud Asadov, on the saqi-nama [lit. ‘cupbearer’s book’] genre (“‘Soqinoma’ zhanri haqida,” 54-7). The author of this paper surveys the different poetical forms (tarkib-band, tarji‘-band, qasida, ruba‘i) cultivated by authors of Persian and Turkic saqi-namas, and identifies the eleventh-twelfth centuries CE as the period of the first expansion of this specific literary genre.