Wilma Heston chapbook collection
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Wilma Heston began buying chapbooks in Peshawar's Bazaar of the Storytellers (Qissa Khwani Bazaar) in 1982. The chapbooks were initially intended to provide texts for Pashto verse narratives that were sung, recorded and then sold in audio-cassette form. A selection of recordings was translated in a project funded by the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in collaboration with Lok Virsa, Pakistan's National Institute of Folk Heritage (NIFH) in Islamabad. This was published in the late 1980s and reprinted by NIFH as The Bazaar of the Storytellers with Heston and Mumtaz Nasir, her NIFH counterpart, as authors. Additions to Heston's initial chapbook collection were made non-systematically through 2002; dates and place of purchase can usually be found on the chapbook covers.
Chapbook printing in Pashto and other languages of present-day Pakistan dates from the 19th century; some late 19th century examples are held in the British Library. The physical aspects of chapbook production in Pakistan were examined and over 800 chapbooks collected between September 1989 and February 1990 by William L. Hanaway and Mumtaz Nasir (H&N). The resulting study and its bibliography organized by place of publication became "Part III: Chapbook Publishing in Pakistan" of Studies in Pakistani Popular Culture (pp. 339-615, William L Hanaway and Wilma Heston, eds., Lok Virsa Publishing House, Islamabad, 1996).
The bibliographic information consistent with current English language practice is often not available for chapbooks. The year of publication is usually not specified for chapbooks; differences in prices printed on chapbook title pages are one indicator of separate printings. Changes in chapbook covers are another indicator; H&N's black-and-white photographs of 38 covers illustrate variations (following H&N's Appendix D (p. 447)). The back cover of chapbooks often provides a list of chapbooks titles and/or authors of chapbooks from that publisher; this offers a possible means of determining which chapbooks were available at the same time. This can also provide information regarding the coverage of Heston's and H&N's collections. In any case, however, without a physical comparison of two chapbooks, there is no assurance that similar listings are identical in content.
Chapbook authors are identified by one or more names, sometimes including a pen name (takhullus). The names are not always consistent between successive printings of the same title or between cover page and title page. When a single name is used, a geographical identity, such as a village name, may also be included, e.g., Jamāl of Topī. Titles such as Khān and Sayyid may also be included, again not always consistently. A poet's pen name may be included with a given name on the cover or the title page; either may be used within the verses.
Most of this collection's chapbooks are in verse. Chapbook titles for narrative verse usually include the name or names of the main characters or group. For romances, two names are usually given, either paired or with a linking "and" (aw); often the tale is called a qiṣṣa, (e.g., da Qiṣṣa da …...) on the cover and/or title page. Pairs named in titles include:
- Ādam Khān -- Dur-khānạy
- Bahrām -- Gul-andāma
- Buland Khān -- Bakht Zarīna
- Fatḥ Khān Qandahārī -- Bībī Rābiyī Gula
- Gul -- Ṣanobar
- Laylá -- Majnūn
- Mabūbā and Jalāt
- Murād Khān -- Bībī Nūr Jahān
- Nūr al-dIīn -- Fārsī kanīza (Persian girl)
- Qutb Khān -- BIbI Niyāzū
- Shahzāda -- Dil Afzā
- Ṣayf al-mulūk – BadI` al-jamāl
- Sher `Ālam -- Memūnạy
- Shīrīn(ạy) -- Farhād
- Shponkạy – Bādshāh (Shepherdess -- Prince)
- Shahzāda Shahryār -- Malika Shahzād
- Yūsuf -- Bībī Zulaykha
- Yūsuf Khān -- Bībī Sher Bāno
Regional heroes and heroines include:
- `Ajab Khān
- Chamnay Khān
- Bahādura Peghala
- Bakht Munīr
- Landan Bābā
- Rahman-dād (Rāmdād) Khān
The narrative poetry, whether in rhyming couplets or series of end-rhymed couplets, is often interspersed with shorter forms. These shorter forms include the ghazal (though often not in the Urdu ghazal form), ṭappa/landạy and chārbaita.
The titles from Quranic sources or Islamic legends often specify a battle (jang) or the person(s) who are the narrative's main character(s):
- Jang-nāma-yi Ḥasanayn aw Bībī Sakīna
- Sulaymān aw Shāpero da Koh-I Qāf
- Amīr Ḥamza
Non-narrative poetry is often concerned with human or divine love. The former usually has includes poems labeled ghazal, and the chapbook titles often reflect the miseries of love, e.g., Zakhmī jigar "Wounded Heart (literally, liver)" and Da `āshiq ārmān "The Lover's Longing". The genres of religious poetry include ḥamd, na`at and marsiya; titles may indicate the genre, e.g., Da na`atūna guldasta "Bouquet of na'ats" or may include an Islamic reference: Gulzār-i Madīna ("Garden of Medina").
Some chapbooks are comprised of a specific genre of verse such as the ghazal or ṭappa; the latter is an asymmetric couplet known in Afghanistan as landạy. Other chapbooks are words to film songs or songs of particular singers.
Prose chapbooks fall into several categories. Some are about characters or tales known throughout the Middle East and beyond including stories of Mullahs, such as Mullah Nasr al-din and Mullah Do-piyāza (Two-onions), such as Ali Baba and the 40th Thieves and Aladdin and his Lamp. Other chapbook categories are jokes, magic (e.g., Tor jādū "Black Magic") and charms (ta`wīzāt) and Bol-cāls for learning Pakistani languages as well as English and Persian.
Most of Heston's chapbooks are in Pashto and were published in Peshawar. A small number of chapbooks in Pashto were printed outside Peshawar. These include self-published chapbooks in Pashto from other locations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (then Northwest Frontier Province). Others are shorter forms of verse.
Gift of Wilma Heston.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Date
- 2014 May 13
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.