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Institute of Literature and Art named for M. Auezov, Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan, was established in 1934 as the Kazakh Research Institute of National Culture. In 1936 itjoined the sector of Kazakh language, literature and folklore of the Kazakh Branch of the Academy of Sciences. Since 1941, this sector was within the Institute of History, Language and Literature. In 1945, it was reorganized into the Institute of Language and Literature. In May 1961, on its basis the Institute of Literature and Art of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR was organized, whichin August of the same year was named for M.O.Auezov.

During its existence the Institute of Literature and Art named for M.O. Auezov has really become the main research center of Kazakh literary studies, folklore and art history. Scientists of the Institute make big contribution to the study of history and theory of national literature, culture and creative heritage of outstanding representatives of arts.

During different periods the prominent figures of science, culture and literature have worked atthe Institute: Z.A. Akhmetov, M.O.Auezov, L.M. Auezov, M. Bazarbayev, I.H. Gabdirov, M. Gabdullin, A.J. Derbisalin, J.T. Dyusenbaev, M.T. Duisenov, B.G. Yerzakovich, M. Zharmuhameduly, A.K. Zhubanov, K. Jumaliev, B. Kenzhebaev, M.K. Karataev, B. Kundakbaev, A. K. Narymbetov, E.V. Lizunova, S.K. Satpayeva, M.S. Silchenko, N.S. Smirnova, A. Tazhibaev, E. Ismailov, A.Sharipov, etc.

The Institute staff has developed the fundamental works: «The history of Kazakh literature» (6 volumes in Kazakh language and 3 volumes in Russian language), the chapters on Kazakh folklore and literature for «History of multinational Soviet literature» (9 volumes), «History of World Literature» (9 volumes) were written.

Volumes of collected works of A.Baitursynov, M.Dulatov, J. Aymauytov, M. Zhumabaev, S.Seifullin, I. Zhansugurov, B. Mailin, S. Mukanov, G. Musrepov, G. Mustafin, academic editions of works in 2 volumes of Abay and Zhambyl, M.- Zh.Kopeev, S. Toraigyrov were published. In 1967-1969 was published the 12-volume edition, in 1979-1985- 20-volume collection of works by M.O.Auezov was published, encyclopedia «Mukhtar Auezov» was prepared for publication.

Classic examples of national folklore and music: Kazakh epic in 3 volumes, Kazakh tales in 3 volumes, aitys in 3 volumes and musical folklore in several books have been published. 17 volumes of folklore texts of the series "Kazakh halyk adebietі" ("Kazakh folk literature") have been published.

The collective monographs «The History of Kazakh folklore», «Typology of Kazakh folklore», «Issues of Kazakh historical songs», «Kazakh literature of the ancient period», «Kazakh akins of XIX century», «Kazakh literature of the beginning of the XXth century», «Inter-ethnic links of Kazakh literature», «Literature of Peoples of Kazakhstan» and research works «Kazakh folk music», «Music of the Soviet Kazakhstan», «History of Kazakh theater» (2 volumes), «Essays on the history of fine arts of Kazakhstan», collection «Kazakh literature in foreign criticism», etc. were published.

Currently, the Institute of Literature and Art named for M.O. Auezov comprises 12 departments: folklore; ancient and medieval literature; Abay studies and contemporary literature; literature of the period of Independence; theory of literature and methodology of literary criticism; world literature and international relations; textual and source studies; manuscripts and catalogues; fine arts; music art; theater science; scientific and cultural center «Auezov’s House».

The main research areas of the center are studying, publishing and promotion of the creative heritage of M.O.Auezov. The Centre has prepared and published «Chronicles of the life and work of M.O.Auezov», «Bibliographic index on creativity of M.O.Auezov», «Unknown Auezov», encyclopedia «Mukhtar Auezov» etc. The main achievement of staff of the Center is the completion of preparation and publication of the 50-volume of academic Collection of the works of the great Kazakh writer. In 2011 the last 50th volume of this long-term work was published.

The researchers of the Institute have successfully explored the history of Kazakh literature of the ancient period. In 1986, for the first time the Turkic literary monuments of the XIII-XIV centuries such as «Oguz-name» and «Mukhabbat-name» were published with translations and texts of the originals in Kazakh language. In 1993, for the first time the scientific publication of the book «Diuani Hikmet» of the great poet-philosopher of the XII century A. Yassaui was published with transcription from the ancient Turkic language and scientific comments.

History and culture of Kazakhstan, first presented in the publications of Kazakh periodicals of the XIX - early XX century, has been published by the Institute in the books «Dala ualayatynyn gazetі» (5 volumes), «Articles and correspondence in the pages of «Aikap», «Kazakh. Alash. Saryarka», «Proceedings of prerevolutionary Kazakh press», «Kazak halkinin ata-muralary» («Heritage of Kazakh people»), «Turkіstan ualayatinin gazetі».

The Institute staff has implemented activities on rehabilitation of repressed participants of Alash movement – representatives of literature and culture such as S. Kudaiberdiev, M. J. Kopeev, A. Baitursynov, Dulatov M., G. Karashev, M. Zhumabayev, S. Toraigyrov, J. Aymauytova , S. Saduakasov and others and academic edition of their creative heritage.

In 2004-2011, the Institute took active part in implementing the national strategic project «Madeni Mura» («Cultural Heritage») of the Republic of Kazakhstan. As a result of this important State program «History of Kazakh literature» in ten volumes, «Anthology of Kazakh music» in eight volumes, «World Literature» in three volumes, «World Folklore science» in three volumes were prepared and published for the first time. The work continues on preparing and publishing of the Collection of patterns of Kazakh folklore «Babalar sozi» («Ancestral Heritage») in 100 volumes and «Adebi jadigerler» («Literary Monuments») in 20 volumes. 75 volumes of «Babalar sozi» and 11 volumes of «Adebi jadіgerler» were published.

Department of manuscripts and catalogues of the Institute carries out the purposeful work on preparation and publication of the samples of Kazakh folklore, representing the scientific, historical and cultural value. 8 volumes of «Kazakh koljazbalarinin gilimi sipattamasi» prepared by the staff of the department were published.

The Institute is working on the program of basic research of the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan, which aim is to restore the true and complete history of Kazakh folklore; study of the main stages of the beginning and formation of the Kazakh literature of ancient and medieval periods; study of the issues of the creative continuity of the prominent poets and writers of XIX - early XX centuries and major genres (poetry, prose, drama) of Kazakh literature in the 60-90s in the context of world literature. The Institute is undertaking the study, classification and scientific understanding of the phenomenon of fine arts in general and the most important periods of development of art culture in Kazakhstan; research of the various issues of national musical art from ancient times to XXI century; analysis and interpretation of the rich heritage of the classic of the world literature M. Auezov; major stages and patterns of development of Kazakh performing arts; study of world literature, contemporary literature of the peoples of Kazakhstan and international literary relations.

«The History of Art in Kazakhstan» from ancient times to the present days in three volumes (in Kazakh and Russian languages) is published for the first time. The collective monograph «The Literature of the peoples of Kazakhstan» (2004), «Essays on world literature on the edge of the twenty-first century» (2006), «Literary and art dialogue» (2008), «International relations of Kazakh literature in the period of Independence» (2008), reflecting the current state of Kazakhstan and world literatures.

Since 2006, a new stage of formation of scientific research areas has begun. The staff of the Institute focuses on the study of contemporary processes in literary studies and art history of independent Kazakhstan and introduction of the ideas of Independence in fiction and the works of masters of music, theater, fine arts, decorative-applied arts, sculpture and architecture. The regulations of artistic understanding of the idea of Independence in the Soviet literature in the context of its relationship to the common Turkic literary process have been studied. The essence of the national idea and the idea of national independence in the literature of a totalitarian regime has been investigated and revealed. From new positions the works created under the influence of communist ideology have been analyzed, ways and principles of implementing the ideas of Independence in the works of M. Auezov have been shown. Current state of literary science in revealing the role and significance of the works, which reflect the ideas of Independence have been described.

The world literary process at the present stage has been studied, on the results of which a collective monograph «Modern foreign literature» was prepared. It summarizes the current trends of literatures of different countries, reveals the variety of approaches to the issue of personality and the role of the individual in contemporary social life in the era of globalization. The literatures of foreign countries (Romanian, German, French, Spanish, English, Bulgarian, Korean, Slovak, American, Egyptian) and CIS countries (Russian, Ukrainian, Moldavian, Kyrgyzstani, Azerbaijan) have been presented. The authors of the sections are the specialists of the Institute and the universities of the Republic, literary critics of Germany, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Moldova, Azerbaijan.

The features of the interception of classical directions in the various kinds of arts of Kazakhstan of the 20th century have been studied, the main theme in the art of the period of Independence has been identified, including the work of young artists and composers, whose works are reflecting certain issues of Independence period. The idea of independence has a new range in the works of professional composers of the XX-XXI centuries. The characteristic of the theater performances based on folk stories is presented, in which the idea of the struggle of Kazakh people for independence is expressed in an original interpretation; through the analysis of classic works the transformation of the idea of struggle in opera and ballet genres is shown; the originality of the author’s idea and director's vision of theme of freedom have been revealed. Much attention is paid to the principles and techniques of depicting main characters, who are expressing the idea of freedom and independence, struggle for homeland and the feeling of pure love of the young people.

The Institute continues to transfer folklore and musical heritage that is stored in the collections of the Central Scientific Library and the Department of Manuscripts and cataloging of the Institute to electronic devices. The patterns of musical heritage collected in the second half of XX century have been transferred to the electronic devices.

The Institute provides training to specialists who have postgraduate professional education in the field of literary studies, folklore and art history through post-graduate and doctoral programs.

Dissertation Councils of the Institute on folklore studies, literary studies and art history has prepared specialists on folklore, Kazakh literature, literature of the peoples of Kazakhstan and the countries of the CIS, music, theater and fine arts not only for Kazakhstan but also for Central Asia, Turkic peoples of Caucasus and Volga region, Siberia, Sakha-Yakutia, China, Israel.

The Institute has scientific cooperation with foreign countries in the form of joint research works on intergovernmental agreements, participation in joint folklore expeditions, international conferences and exchange of researchers.

Two volumes of «Singing and playing dombra» (2009) and «Sky above my head» (2010) were published jointly with Moscow publishing house «Fiction». The volumes include masterpieces of oral folk creativity and monuments of Kazakh literature, some of which relate to the tops of ancient and medieval culture. Together with the publishing house «Fiction» a bilingual volume of folklore and literary monuments of the CIS «Sailing under eternal skies» («Sailing under eternal skies Monuments of Folklore and Literature of the CIS Countries») was published (Moscow, 2010), including 6 texts of Kazakh folklore. All published books have been presented in Sorbonne, Vienna and Berlin and were passed to the library of Sorbonne, where a course on literature of the CIS is planned to be delivered. Together with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea the work is undertaken on the project «Study of Korean and Central Asian myths, tales, epics and digital archiving of them». 9 works of Kazakh folklore in Korean language werepublished.

Since 2005 the Institute is publishing a scientific-popular and literary- art journal «Keruen». It includes publications of scientific articles of literary critics and art history specialists of foreign countries (Germany, France, Romania, Turkey, Korea, etc.) and CIS (Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, etc.). The journal is registered in the International ISSN Centre in Paris.