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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(farsi), an epic genre widely encountered in the literature of the Near and Middle East and Middle and Southeast Asia. There are two categories of dastan: folk art (the genre of legend), in which heroic themes in poetic form prevail, and the literary development in prose of fairy-tale plots. legends, and traditions of romantic, heroic, and fantastic themes. The prose text is often interrupted by monologues or dialogues in verse. Among the Turkmenians, Azerbaijani, and Turks the dastan is also called an öğüşname (for example. The Book of My Grandfather Korkut). Some Magi hikâyets are similar to dastans.

In classic Persian, Tadzhik, Uzbek, and Azerbaijani literature of the tenth through the 15th century, dastan referred to a category of romantic narrative poems (for example, Leili and Medjnun and Khosrov and Shirin), as well as to chapters of great epic poems (Firdausi’s Shah Nama). Traces of a distinct creative style are evident in the dastans of India and Pakistan. Most dastans of literary origin that once were compiled by individual authors gradually found their way into the oral folk tradition, and they do not differ much from popular poetic dastans. Idealized heroes, hyperbole, and themes of love and adventure are characteristic of both groups of dastans. The dastan developed broadly as a genre used by professional writers between the 16th and 18th centuries. The prosaic dastan. however, became widespread much earlier. Today, dastans are still written among several peoples, including the Uzbeks, Karakalpaks, and Turks.


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Ozbĕk khalq dastanlari, volumes 1–2. Tashkent, 1957–58.
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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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