Az i Ya
Poet, scholar and anti-nuclear campaigner Olzhas Suleimenov is an inspirational fi gure in his native Kazakhstan and the Turkic world as a whole. Having made his name as a poet, he came to even greater prominence in 1975 with the publication of "Az i Ya". A ground-breaking study of language in the medieval Russian epic poem "The Song of Igor's Campaign", "Az i Ya" challenged assumptions and shook Soviet scholarship to its core.
The book flew off the shelves, as the author recalls in his introduction. "Today's young generation, accustomed to free speech in the press and on the Internet, cannot understand the scale and fervour of the reaction of the mid-1970s Soviet population to any display of authorship that expressed not anti-Soviet sentiments but simply free thought."
In "Az i Ya" Olzhas Suleimenov explores through language the role of the Turkic nomads in medieval Rus. He then goes back millennia to discover fascinating connections between the languages and cultures of the Turkic peoples and the ancient Mesopotamian civilisation of Sumer.
Published in English for the first time, "Az i Ya" is an intriguing read for scholars, romantics and free thinkers everywhere.