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Storytelling in SiberiaThe Olonkho Epic in a Changing World$
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Robin P. Harris

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041280

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041280.001.0001

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Esteem for a Masterpiece

Esteem for a Masterpiece

The Quest for Recognition

(p.64) Chapter 3 Esteem for a Masterpiece
Storytelling in Siberia

Robin P. Harris

University of Illinois Press

Continuing the historical narrative, chapter 3 describes the post-Soviet saga of those who led Yakutia in a quest to bring olonkho back from being “forgotten.” Beginning with the stirrings of cultural revitalization in the early 1990s, the story continues in a gripping narrative of their race for a coveted prize—UNESCO’s recognition of olonkho as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005. In addition to describing changes in olonkho reception since the UNESCO award, including its transformation from an oral tradition to a literature-based art form, this chapter explores the genre’s connection to Sakha language revitalization and the role of youth in the revival of olonkho.

Keywords:   Masterpiece, historical narrative, revitalization, Intangible Heritage, UNESCO, oral tradition, language revitalization, youth

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