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Review of The Collected Works of Bronislaw Pilsudski Vol.3
Date: Wed, 08 Jun 2005 15:40:32 +0200 From: Edward Vajda Subject: The Collected Works of Bronislaw Pilsudski, Vol. 3: Ainu Language and Folklore Materials 2
EDITOR: Majewicz, Alfred F. TITLE: The Collected Works of Bronislaw Pilsudski, Vol. 3 SUBTITLE: Ainu Language and Folklore Materials 2 SERIES: Trends in Linguistics, Documentation 15-3 PUBLISHER: Mouton de Gruyter YEAR: 2004
Edward J. Vajda, Department of Modern Languages, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington
DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK
This is the third book in a planned five-volume series. The completed series aims to provide in English translation all of the extant linguistic, ethnographic and historical materials left by the outstanding Polish scholar-in-exile Bronislaw Pilsudski. Among its contents of specific interest to linguists, Volume III contains never-before published original Ainu texts, as well as meticulous descriptions of wax cylinder sound recordings made of Ainu language and folklore over 100years ago.
The book contains three primary sections, accompanied by a host of bibliographies, appendices and other supporting materials. The latter include reproductions of 173 original photographs and plates dating from the period of Pilsudski's exile (late 1880s to 1910). These offer a glimpse into the Ainu world at the beginning of the 20th century, and also document many of the key places and events of the scholar's life. Supplementing these are an additional 82 color photographs taken during the time of the volume's preparation. Most of these pictures depict Ainu people and important items of cultural. A month-by-month chronology (13-47) details the important events of Pilsudski's stay in the Far East during the years 1887 to 1909.
Section I (211-249) contains four items. The first is a translation of Pilsudski's "A preliminary report on the expedition to the Ainu of Sakhalin in 1902-1903", followed by plates reproducing the original manuscript (219-221). The report contains unique commentary on the nature of Ainu/Russian interaction at the beginning of the 20th century and a wealth of detail about Ainu daily life at that time. The next item entitled "Traditions of the Sakhalin aborigines on their first encounter with the white man" (222-228), contains translations from Russian of accounts by Nivkh, Orok and Ainu on the earliest contact with Russians. There is also a brief narrative (229-230), again an English translation from an original Russian version, taken from an early Ainu convert to Orthodox Christianity. The last item in this section reproduces "A draft of rules for the organization of life of and the establishment of authority over the Ainu of Sakhalin" (231-249).
Section II, entitled "Ainu texts" (251-417), begins with the description of a newly discovered letter containing Pilsudski's own description of the 452 items in his collection of Ainu folkloric texts. This catalog has assisted the editor in providing a authoritative inventory of the entire collection (261-263) and in hunting down many items hitherto lost to scholars. Reproduced here are three 'tales of tradition', eleven fairy tales, and 51 prayers. All but two of the tales of tradition appear in the original Ainu. Each text is provided with commentary and an English translation. There is no morpheme-by-morpheme glossing.
Section III, titled "Phonographic records of Ainu language and folklore on wax cylinders" (575-642), contains a methodical description of everything that has been recovered from about 30 recordings of traditional Ainu musical culture. The contents of each cylinder is described and commented upon, with accompanying musical score and Ainu text, where possible. This section also explains the mechanics and history of this remarkable recovery process.
The volume ends with a series of appendixes and indexes. The appendixes contain English translations of hitherto unpublished reports and letters of considerable historiographic interest. These include Waclaw Sieroszewski's ethnographic article, "Among hairy people" (659-660), an account written in 1926 describing the author's 1903 expedition with Pilsudski to the Ainu of Sakhalin and Aleksandr Jantac-Polczynski's 1936 account of a visit to the Ainu of Sakhalin in 1933 (731-744). Also published here are a series of letters (700-730), written to Pilsudski by Sentoku Taroji in 1906. There are also indexes of personal names, place names, subject, as well as Ainu words and words from other languages that appear in the book.
The two previous volumes (Majewicz 1998a, 1998b) reproduce items previously published elsewhere. Still, given that the originals appeared in small editions that can rarely be found today, these books are of equally great value as primary collections of rare material on the native peoples and languages of Sakhalin (Nivkh, Ainu, Orok). This third volume continues the material on Ainu contained in Volume II (Majewicz 1998b). Unlike the first two books, however, Volume III offers a wealth of information never before published in any form, given that much of it remained completely unknown prior to extensive recovery and documentation research performed by the editor. The folktales in Section II are particularly valuable to linguists, as they contain carefully reproduced and glossed examples of completely fluent Ainu connected speech. As in the earlier volumes, the editor has expended every effort to make the contents as accessible and useful to the reader as possible. The meticulous descriptions of the recovery work performed on Pilsudski's wax-cylinder recordings of Ainu music could serve as an instructive model for future work with similar archived recordings of other languages.
Not all of the materials here are of direct relevance to the linguistic study of the Ainu. But taken together, this collection offers a complete background account of Pilsudski's work among the Ainu, a factor that helps place the texts and other language materials in a clear sociolinguistic context. Although the project of gathering together and publishing all of Bronislaw Pilsudski's priceless linguistic and ethnographic data is now already more than a decade behind schedule, the resulting volumes are well worth the wait. For anyone studying the aboriginal languages of the Russian Far East, this set promises to be one of the outstanding and essential sources of primary data.
Majewicz, Alfred F., ed. (1998a) Collected works of Bronislaw Pilsudski, Vol. 1. The Aborigines of Sakhalin. Berlin; New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Majewicz, Alfred F., ed. (1998b) Collected works of Bronislaw Pilsudski, Vol. 2. Materials for the study of Ainu language and folklore, part 1. Berlin; New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Edward J. Vajda is professor of linguistics, Russian language, and Eurasian studies at Western Washington University. He is an editor of the journal Word. His research interests include minority languages of the former Soviet Union and other areas of Eurasia. For the past several years he has been intensively involved in descriptive research on the structure of Ket, a language isolate spoken by a few hundred people in Central Siberia near the Yenisei River.