First edited in Arabic script in Tehran in 2002, this anthology is relocated by its compiler in the rich tradition of exchanges between Tajik Persian poetic oral tradition and modern verse (by poets laureates like Mu’min Qana‘at or Layiq Sherali), via the collection and editing work undertaken first by the Academy of Sciences (from Aleksandr Boldyrev to Iakov Nal’skii) then the Union of Writers of the Tajik SSR (by Rajab Amonov and Bozor Tilavov in particular — on the latter, see notably Central Eurasian Reader 1 [2008]: review No. 247 p. 213). The short introduction provides insights on the main themes traditionally developed by oral verse, with special attention for the expression of local pride. Unfortunately, as usually in Tajikistani literature, the author does not enter into the detail of what he calls “popular” literature. More deplorably, the quatrains shortly commented in the introduction and those published in the text are totally extracted from the context of their production: no indication of time and place is given for any of them. It is particularly to be regretted that the author does not show great interest in the literary — and often gnostic — sociability of the local circles (mahafil) of poets, scholars and literati within which this poetry was produced, and through which it was then locally or regionally diffused, with particular dynamism during the Soviet period.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: II-5.2.B-454