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2024  N1-2(227-228)
The legacy of Magtymguly became the subject of scrupulous and thorough research in the first half of the last century. Over the past time, many monographs and articles about the poet’s works have been written, works of art have been created. Magtymguly’s poems have been translated into many languages of the world.
Magtymguly’s poetry has withstood the severe test of time and survived in its magical and captivating purity, stunning with its deep thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, many of the poet’s manuscripts disappeared during his lifetime, and Magtymguly’s lyrics reached us only in copies, in the oral art of folk singers (bakhshi), whose repertoire was passed on from generation to generation.
Specialists and literary scholars reconstructed pieces of information about Magtymguly’s life mainly from his poems, folk tales and legends. This was greatly facilitated by the fact that the poet’s surviving works were printed over time by printing and publishing houses around the world.
The Polish researcher, scientist and writer, Alexander Chodzko-Boreyko, can be considered one of the first publishers of the poet’s works. In 1842, he published three poems by Magtymguly in London. It was from that moment that Magtymguly’s lyrics began to be printed in books, and this process continues to this day, constituting an independent, original branch of the history of common book printing. He was followed by Hungarian researcher Arminius Vambery and Russian scientists Fyodor Bakulin and Ilya Berezin who published the works by the Turkmen poet and studied them in their scientific research.
However, the poems by the great poet of the East became widely available to the general public only beginning the twentieth century, when the collections of his works were published. And the first to do this was famous orientalist Nikolai Ostroumov, who published a cycle (collection) of poems by Magtymguly in 1907. We can safely say that it was from that moment that Magtymguly’s poems began to be printed by many printing and publishing houses around the world.
Today’s readers and connoisseurs of Magtymguly’s lyrics understand and enjoy the fact that Uzbekistan decided to widely celebrate the poet’s anniversary at the highest level. It was back in 1911, in Tashkent, that poetry and one of the first collections of Magtymguly’s works titled “Stories about Thirty-Two Seeds and Magtymguly” were published at the private printing house of Gulyam Arifjanov. It is gratifying that Magtymguly remains a favourite poet of the Uzbek people to this day.
It was exactly a year later that Magtymguly’s fellow countryman, Turkmen educator Abdurakhman Niyazi became the next publisher of Magtymguly’s poems. He published a collection of his poems at the Astrakhan printing house. Scientists and researchers of the great poet’s works believe that the collection called “Divan Magtymguly”, printed in Bukhara in 1914, was one of the most complete early publications of the pre-revolutionary period that included some two hundred poems by the Turkmen poet.
In general, the development of book printing in Central Asia and emergence of local private printing houses opened a new page in publishing the Turkmen authors’ works. This was greatly facilitated by the emergence of book publishing in the 80s of the 19th century in the territory of Turkmenistan. Unlike other large cities of Central Asia, such as Khiva, Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, not many books were published in Ashgabat at that time in the Turkmen language and other eastern languages. And the first Turkmen book publishers and booksellers Mirzahid Mirsadyk ogly, Gurbanberdy Gurgenli and Abdurakhman Niyazi initially printed works by Turkmen classics at their own expense at the popular printing house (lithography) of Gulyam Arifjanov in Tashkent. For example, the book of Magtymguly’s poems “Stories about Thirty-Two Seeds and Magtymguly” published as a separate edition was reprinted several times at this printing house. These facts provide evidence that poetic editions of Magtymguly’s works were very popular in pre-Soviet times and greatly contributed to the popularization of his works among the population of the region.
The fundamental scientific research of the poet’s literary heritage started already in the Soviet period. In this regard, academician Alexander Samoilovich was one of the first to make a huge contribution to the study of Turkmen literature, including the works by Magtymguly. He compiled an extensive “Index to Magtymguly’s Songs,” which included more than 190 lyrical works by Magtymguly. This work by Samoilovich subsequently became one of the basic starting points for Turkmen scientists in studying the specifics of Magtymguly’s works. A collection of the poet’s works published in Turkmenistan in 1926 testified that the young state, along with other important issues of its existence, paid attention to the collection, study and publication of the centuries-old literary monuments of the Turkmen people. More than three hundred poems in the collection became available to the general public for the first time.
On the eve of the Second World War, the authorities of the republic decided to celebrate the poet’s anniversary, yet the plan was hard to realize in full for obvious reasons. However, in 1940, Magtymguly’s “Selected Works” (74 poems) were published for the first time, which, by the way, were printed in three editions. In 1948, the tragic year for Ashgabat, the most complete collection “Selected Poems” by Magtymguly (257 poems) was published in translation by Arseny Tarkovsky, Georgy Shengeli and Mark Tarlovsky.
In the following years, the printed products published at the newly created republican printing houses, including the works by the Turkmen classic, were distinguished by the fact that the poetry collections were constantly replenished with new poems found by researchers of Magtymguly’s work. And in 1959, a number of new publications were published, including “Aphorisms of Magtymguly,” a one-volume and two-volume editions of the poet’s selected works.
Turkmenistan’s bibliographers noted that Magtymguly’s poems were published more than 500 times at various printing and publishing houses in the period from the first printing of his poems until the end of the 80s of the last century. And this is excluding publications in the mass media and broadcasts on radio and TV. How many publications were left unaccounted for various reasons? It was also noted that the large-scale publishing boom of Magtymguly’s poems occurred in 1941, 1946, 1959, 1961, 1971 and 1983, in other words, in the pre- and post-war times, as well as in the 70s and 80s of the last century, which is associated with the increased interest of the country’s younger generations, poets and writers in the works by the great son of the Turkmen people.
Printing of Magtymguly’s poems in foreign countries began, as mentioned above, with the publication of the poet’s poems in English and German in the 19th century with the support of Khodzko-Boreyko and Vambery. In the twenties of the last century, Sheikh Musin Fani in Turkey continued introducing readers to the poet’s lyrics, reprinting Magtymguly’s poems in the form of a separate collection. The example of his Turkish colleague was followed by Iranian publishers, who repeatedly published Magtymguly’s works in the Turkmen language since the mid-20th century. A little later, but around the same years, the publishing baton of Magtymguly’s poems was picked up by specialist in Turkic philology Louis Bazin, who published the collection “Poems about Turkmenistan” in French.
Beginning 1940, Magtymguly’s poems were published in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It is worth noting that a special credit undoubtedly goes to translators who made it possible to publish his works in the languages of the peoples of the world. Poet-translators and publishers deserve special respect for their work on familiarization of readers with the inspired poems by the leading figure of Turkmen literature.
Magtymguly’s poems were translated into almost all languages of the peoples of the former Soviet Union. In 1975, a collection of poems was published for the first time in French in Paris with the support of UNESCO under the auspices of the UN, the author and compiler of which was Baimukhamed Karryev. Later, this collection was reprinted twice.
It can be argued that from that moment Magtymguly’s poetry became the focus of attention of researchers and publishers who contribute to understanding the poetic world of Magtymguly and invariably expand their publishing portfolio, including through the lyrical works by the poet of Turkmenistan.
Similar to the past anniversary celebrations, new editions of Magtymguly’s poems are being prepared for release in many countries around the world on the occasion of his 300th anniversary. The mass media regularly post messages from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan about various events being held abroad on the occasion of Magtymguly’s anniversary. The publishers intend to please the poet’s fans with new collections of his works. For example, one of these events was held not long ago in Baku, where a presentation of selected works by the Turkmen poet in the Azerbaijani language took place. The book was prepared for publication by Professor Ramiz Asker, famous translator of Magtymguly’s poems.
In Uzbekistan, celebrations on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Magtymguly’s birth will be held at the highest level by the decision of the President of Uzbekistan. A special program has been approved that provides for a number of specific festive events, including the release of the book “Selected Works” by Magtymguly Fraghi.
Turkmen publishers have also prepared new books about the poet’s work as well as collections of Magtymguly’s poems for publication on the occasion of the poet’s anniversary. The Turkmen State Publishing Service has already released a number of books dedicated to the heritage of the classic of Turkmen literature. One of the new products is a book about the poet’s works by Doctor of Philology Mukhammetguly Amansakhatov. Another publication is a collection of articles about Magtymguly by the academic staff of the Seyidi Turkmen State Institute. The publishing house “Ylym” (Science) is to publish the book “Magtymguly in the literature of the Turkic peoples” by Doctor of Philology Akhmat Mammedov. The Institute of History and Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan has prepared a collection of articles titled “Great Magtymguly and the life of Turkmens”. Gurbandurdy Geldyev, researcher of Magtymguly’s works, published a paper titled “Names of places and countries in the works by Magtymguly and their poetics.”
The Manuscript Fund of the Institute of Language, Literature and National Manuscripts named after Magtymguly of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan continues the scientific work to study the heritage of the poet. The works by the great master of words is scrupulously researched. According to senior researcher Allayar Churiev, who has devoted many years to studying the works by Magtymguly, one of the challenges facing researchers of the poet’s works is, firstly, that they have to search for new historical and biographical facts related to the personality and literary path of the great son of the Turkmen people. And scientific research in a variety of areas is an indispensable factor for effective work. This includes research in libraries of foreign countries, joint work with specialists from other countries who study oriental poetry. And when something previously unknown and interesting is found, problems of a different nature arise. The fact is that manuscripts can be in different languages, written in different alphabets, etc. Nevertheless, the meticulous work of Turkmen scientists is yielding positive results. It is already known that leading and young specialists of the institute who visited France, Italy, Spain and India found many handwritten publications, including those related to the works by Magtymguly. This work continues and gradually expands our understanding of the greatness of the genius of Turkmen literature.

Allaberdy NIYAZOV

©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005