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Russian Fairy Tales (The Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library) Paperback – September 12, 1976
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“Rambunctious, full-blooded, and temperamental, these stories are tense with action, magical, and human. They are gorgeous.”
“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.”
“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
Top Customer Reviews
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,.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought a kindle version. Overall stories are quite refreshing.. There appears to be some issue with the cloud reader.. it isn't very reader friendly. Nonetheless, stories are goodPublished 2 months ago by gowda1
First off, let me say this is a big book. Not physically big, or heavy mind you, but almost 700 pages, and it's jammed with tales, so for the price you're getting content. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Richard DeWitt
It's certainly comprehensive, but the writing in no way captures the magic of the original. Russian fairy tales have something both mysterious and layered yet very whimsical about... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Elena Danilenko
Great book these stories are delightfully creepy! Would encourage you to read this to your children, just be prepared does not always have happy endings!Published 9 months ago by rob erickson