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Russian Fairy Tales (The Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library) Paperback – September 12, 1976


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Russian Fairy Tales (The Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library) + Russian Folk Belief + The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Series: The Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library
  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books; Reissue edition (September 12, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394730909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394730905
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Rambunctious, full-blooded, and temperamental, these stories are tense with action, magical, and human. They are gorgeous.”
—Eudora Welty
 
“The oral folk tradition in Russia was truly a magic spring [that] flowed inexhaustibly, reviving, consoling, and enlightening all who partook of it . . . These stories have an ingenuity that marks them as uniquely Russian.”
Time
 
 “A beautiful book. I recommend it to all readers, young and old, who are interested in the folktale and its unique qualities.”
—Isaac Bashevis Singer, The New York Times Book Review

“Luckily someone garnered these jewels before they were lost [and] bound them into one volume before they disappeared . . . It is filled with action, magic, and humanity.”
St. Louis Globe-Democrat

Language Notes

Text: English, Russian (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

A bit too primative and not very whimsical.
Justin Donie
I am a big fan of Russian culture, history and especially the mythology and old Slav folklore.
sandwich
I've read other anthologies of Russian folk and fairy tales but this was the best.
Jennifer Alderson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Arkanell on June 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
What the Grimm Brothers did for fairy tales in Germany, Afanas'ev did for Russia. Over the course of his lifetime(1826-1871), he collected countless of these wonderful little stories from common folk, just as the Grimms did. This collection contains stories of adventure and enchantment, animal fables and more. Included are stories of Vasilissa and Baba Yaga, the witch whose house was built on chicken feet, and the famous story of the giant turnip. There's even some stories about vampires. But be prepared, this book is huge! And every bit of it distinctly Russian.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Ian M. Slater TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have owned since 1975 a copy of an earlier, hardcover, Pantheon reprint edition of this superb collection, which was originally published in 1945. I have used it for both light reading and for serious study (while in courses on Baltic and Slavic Folklore and Folktale Studies). The selection and translation of stories both seem first-rate. (For the latter, I have had to rely on the opinions of those who actually read Russian, instead of just having studied it in school.) The accompanying illustrations are properly enchanting -- and only occasionally are placed where they give away the point of the story.

The only real drawback is that it is still merely a selection from about three volumes (depending on the edition you prefer) of "skazki." This is the Russian term for oral tales of marvels, adventures, and misadventures, equivalent to the German "Maerchen." In both cases, the English term "Fairy Tale" is the conventional, but not really adequate, translation. (As usual in large collections, only a handful of tales concern anything like fairies.) One of the requirements for the selection seems to have been that the tales chosen should be acceptable to American parents in the 1940s, but otherwise the considerable variety of the original seems to have been largely preserved. The suggested reader age of "9 to 12" conceals the pleasure that adult readers with interests in folklore or Russian culture will derive from the volume. Fortunately, they may be lead to it by the fine supplementary material at the end, although this is now half a century old.

Afanas'ev (various transliterations) was one of the many nineteenth-century collectors inspired by the Grimms,.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Kendal B. Hunter on October 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
Fairy tales get us into the psyche of a culture. Americans see themselves as Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appelseed, conquoring the frontier. This book introduces us to the Russian psyche. It shows us how they look at things--the world, society, life, family, and government.
Some of the stroies are charming, such as the fabel of the Turnip and the Honey-pot. Other stories made absolutley no sense. But I had fun trying to crack these weird nuts.
I enjoyed the translation. It is not as energetic as Seamus Heaney, or J. B. Phillipws, but it is readable, athough you realize that you are reading a translation.
C. S. Lewis, in his preface to "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," mentions that as children we read fairy tales, then we outgow them. Then, as adults, we come back to these stories and read them with different eyes. I had that experince with this book.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By sandwich on November 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I've owned this book for roughly 5 years and I still pick it up and read some of the stories or flip through the pages to look at the beautiful and eerie illustrations. I am a big fan of Russian culture, history and especially the mythology and old Slav folklore. These stories are fascinating for children and even more intriguing for adults because of the underlying themes and complexities, metaphorical and political subtext in relation to historical Russian culture and the traditional style of narrative language and tone. Filled with dark humour, intelligent and imaginative twists and lots of charming and weird characters, this book is timeless. You'll find yourself picking it up and reading through it before bed every so-often for ages to come.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Faramarz Rabii on November 29, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book to read to my 4 1/2 year old daughter. I have been reading her a few a night and she loves them. There are tons of short fairy tales which are both magical and fun. I can easily read two a night for months! Many stories involve Baba Yaga who is one of our favorite characters. I like the fact that "witches" and other magical beings represent complex characters capable of both good and evil. This is in stark contrast to many more well known fairy tales where the witch, is portrayed to be just evil. The stories are also less dark and frightening and frequently funnier. The book uses a rich vocabulary which is proving a valuable tool in teaching my daughter as well as myself. In short, I like it and strongly recommend it.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Justin Donie on December 14, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
5 - As a collection of Russian Fairy Tales (not all that easy to find) this is a nice repository of a wide variety of tales. I'm learning a lot.

3 - The illustrations were disappointing to me, given my personal preferences. A bit too primative and not very whimsical. Others may like them.

If you want to study Russian Fairy Tales, this will be a useful book. If you want a "stories with wonderfully inspiring images to go along" type book ... keep looking. My girlfriend from Russia says there are better books to be found.
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