The Secret History of the Mongols: The Origin of Chinghis Khan (expanded Edition) : an Adaptation of the YŁan Chʼao Pi Shih, Based Primarily on the English Translation by Francis Woodman Cleaves

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Cheng & Tsui, 1998 - Foreign Language Study - 201 pages
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So begins Paul Kahn's elegant and readable adaptation of The Secret History of the Mongols, the Chinese version of which is known as the Yuan Chʼao Pi Shih. In open verse stanzas of great suppleness and power, Kahn has adapted the scholarly English translation of Francis Woodman Cleaves into colloquial language, making this exciting narrative accessible to all readers. The original Secret History is perhaps the oldest text written in the Mongolian language. It was composed in the mid-13th century, just decades after the death of Chingis Khan in 1227, and was the private property of the royal family. This uniquely detailed account of the rise of the great "world conqueror," no doubt partly served as a confirmation of the Mongolian nobility's status, and therefore may be compared with the Aeneid of Virgil and The Song of Roland. Although it opens in a mythical past, The Secret History of the Mongols quickly becomes a treasure-trove of factual information, not only about the life and career of Chingis Khan, but about the Mongolian people. It describes in fascinating detail the daily life, social structures, and customs of the tribes of Central Asia, and in terms of accuracy and immediacy eclipses the more familiar Travels of Marco Polo. It thus stands as a cultural and historical record of unusual value. -- Back cover

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