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Russian Folk Belief Paperback – November 1, 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0873328890 ISBN-10: 0873328892

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

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: M E Sharpe Inc (November 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873328892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873328890
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) VINE VOICE on July 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Ok, so "This is cool" isn't exactly a profound, erudite statement. It *is* true, however. _Russian Folk Belief_ is fascinating and engaging from the first page to the last, if you are interested in myth, religion, or the faery world. Drawing from history and from personal testimony, Ivanits puts together a chronicle of the beliefs of the Russians as they were converted to Christianity--albeit a sometimes unusual Christianity in which much old pagan belief remained. The book talks about the pagan faith of the Russian lands, and the major holidays associated with that faith, and then talks about the Russian Orthodox church and the *un*orthodox religion still practiced in some rural areas. Ivanits has put together a large collection of folk tales rich with faeries, witches, and sorcerers. If you are interested in the pagan gods and faeries of Russia, this book is a must-have.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 14, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ivanits' Russian Folk Belief is a very useful, straightforward, and engrossing book about the beliefs of the Russian people, specifically focused on the dvovorie (dual-faith) Russian Orthodoxy/paganism practiced throughout the culture's history in the last millennium. It is well-written, does not condescend, and yet, is very readable and informative. This is a good place to start, for those curious about Russian historical folklore and spiritual belief. Highly recommended!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Kinzel on June 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book consists of two roughly equal parts. In the first part, which is more scholarly in tone and scope, the author summarizes the Russian pagan background, and thoroughly explores the themes and especially the characters of the Russian folk pantheon: the Devil; Christian personages such as Nicholas, George, and Elijah; the various household spirits such as the Domovoi (household spirit), Dvorovoi (yard), Bannik (steam bath), Ovinnik (threshing floor); and nature spirits such as the Leschii (forest spirit), Vodianoi (water spirit, inhabiting lakes, streams, and water mills), Polevoi (spirits of the fields and meadows), and the famous Rusalka, made iconic in Russian literature for the beauty which is at once entrancing and treacherous. There is also a section on Russian magic and sorcery.

As a previous reviewer noted, this first section, while very interesting, drags at times. I think the author belabors her points too much in an effort to ensure the reader remembers them for the second part, which consists of actual tales. But since these themes and characters are not difficult to digest, stating them once is sufficient.

The second part is composed of eighty-nine actual tales recorded by Russian and Soviet folklorists from different regions of Russia, which illustrate and characterize the motifs put forth in part one. These tales are very simply and beautifully told, and would be by themselves worth the price of the book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Eric S. Kim on August 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
PROS:
-Ivanits makes all the information precise: she cites every reference, and does an excellent job at avoiding one-sided viewpoints.
-Almost everything is never confusing. There is no such thing as too much detail.
-The fables and myths in this book are very compelling, very entertaining to read.
-The relations between Orthodox Christianity and Paganism, and the genesis between them, certainly grabs the attention due to the author's way of descriptions and narratives.

CONS:
-While the second half contains the fables and myths, the first half is all non-fiction, giving details on the origins and structures of these many folk beliefs. Sometimes it drags. I don't mind that much, really, but it may not be good for those who you want to get on with the stories.
-You might need a dictionary handy, because there are some complex words that will be quite unfamiliar.

In conclusion, this is a provocative, excellent introduction to Russian folklore and its roots. A-
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tiffany Hafner on January 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for a college course I was taking, for a Russian Fairy Tale course but the book has been very interesting. Part 1 is about Russia's history and Russia's folklore history, then Part 2 has some fairytales and folklore. Ivanits does a great job in explaining Russia's past in 20 pages, then spends the rest of the time in part 1 talking about dveorie, Russian superstition, Russian gods, spirits, and the Devil.
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