Geser is a Tibetan epic hero who is very popular in Mongol folklore. There is also a large and very complex written corpus of stories about Geser in the Old Mongol Script. The most well-known of these texts is a seven-chapter xylograph bearing the completion date of 1716, the first chapter of which was translated into English by ANU's Igor de Rachewiltz and Li Narangoa and published by ANU Press in 2017. But what can we know about the history of Geser in Mongolian prior to this date? Over the past century a number of enduring developmental theories have been put forward, most of them based on very thin and highly dubious evidence. Having recently completed the translation of the rest of the 1716 text and several other chapters from the Geser Corpus, in this talk Jonathan Ratcliffe will share his observations on a number of key textual matters and how these can be used to better deduce the Mongol Geser's development.
About the speaker
Jonathan Ratcliffe completed his PhD at ANU in 2019 on the political history of the Buryat epic of Geser in the 20th century. Aside from Geser, his other current areas of interest are the Mongol folk hero Dalan Khudalch Belen Senge and the Oirat epic of Jangar.