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Morphology of the Folk Tale

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  890 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
"Morphology will in all probability be regarded by future generations as one of the major theoretical breakthroughs in the field of folklore in the twentieth century."--Alan Dundes "Propp's work is seminal...[and], now that it is available in a new edition, should be even more valuable to folklorists who are directing their attention to the form of the folktale, especially ...more
Kindle Edition, 184 pages
Published (first published 1928)
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Oct 11, 2009 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-theory
Propp's foundational work on the structure of fairy tales is impressive, and it's a wonder that his work didn't find its way into English literary circles sooner than it did (it didn't show up for several decades). Rather than attempting to categorize fairy tales according to their characters or themes ("theme" being a term which he avoids because of the subjective nature of identifying a theme and the differing definitions attached to it), he identifies tales according to the dramatic functions ...more
Mary Catelli
Oct 16, 2015 Mary Catelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-crit, old-books
An incredibly academic analysis of fairy tales. If you're not merely interested in fairy tales but also variants and things like that, you are very likely to like it.

Note that familiarity with tales, especially Russian ones, helps a lot to recognize what he's talking about. (All the Russian tales are identified by number. I wouldn't mind that so much -- all of Brother Grimms' do, too, though you may need the right edition -- and of course he uses Alexander Afanasyev's -- if I could find a transl
Justin Evans
May 23, 2015 Justin Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely 'important,' brilliant, dry as dust structuralism. It pleasingly falls into place in the history of literary theory (structuralism as a better way of understanding literary form than pure historical reconstructions), and is as detailed as you'd expect. It should also be helpful for those who read or write fairy tales, which, for the uninitiated, is a very hip thing to do at the moment. For those who don't want to do history of theory, or fairy tales, this book will be fairly unhelpful. ...more
Мартин Касабов
Освен, че е основополагаща за развитието на приказния анализ, книгата на Проп е изненадващо четима и позволява на дилетанта да се запознае с основните елементи, използвани за строежа на вълшебните приказки.
Oct 25, 2014 Intery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cultural-studies
През повечето време си мислех колко ли би се радвал Проп, ако беше доживял създаването на TVTropes. И естествено там има статия за книгата, която е определена като "one of the first critical trope-spottings" <3
I haven't read much of this kind of thing so maybe I'm overly impressed but I think it's brilliant. It's also incredibly readable. I've had to read some lit-crit let's-decision-narrative-structure-historicism-blah-blah essays that were pointless and convoluted and seemed designed to put everyone off litcrit entirely so Propp's readability gets major points from me.
Nadia Z.
Jan 19, 2016 Nadia Z. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
C'è qualcosa di strabiliante in questo testo. Lo scopo dei formalisti era quello di analizzare la letteratura da un punto di vista logico, razionale. Una analisi che riuscisse a determinare una classificazione prevedibile e sempre funzionante di ciò che si legge. Al di là di queste premesse, che poi furono in qualche modo sopraffatte da altro genere di studi successivi, la Morfologia della Fiaba mi appare come un tentativo riuscitissimo di identificare le funzioni e l'andamento di una storia! M ...more
Katherine Sas
A well-deserved member of the classic canon of fairy and folk tale studies. I love me some charts and diagrams.
Aug 21, 2015 Esteban rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mi primera lectura de Propp estuvo distorsionada por los prejuicios estructuralistas de una bibliografía universitaria. Visto desde Lévi-Strauss o Barthes, Propp parecía un tío rústico al que sólo se mencionaba por cortesía, pero Morfología del cuento siguió atrayendo a lectores atentos por sus propios méritos mucho después de que el estructuralismo se extinguiera como una moda académica. Aunque los modelos formales han avanzado mucho desde entonces, su morfología sigue siendo retomada como toy ...more
Headley Mist
Aug 07, 2012 Headley Mist rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing reading - a mixture of what I've been expecting and what I have long forgotten about.

I guess this is the first time I see the literature explained through the economic formations - and feasible too. Sane and logical, that's what is wonderful. To tell the truth, I saw some before - but few (perhaps, I was born too late), and rather lame even for that.

Very, very say and disillusional - to differ from psychoanalysts and all that Jung.
Sep 10, 2016 Nora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
El estructuralismo es esa raíz amarga de frutos dulces, pero esta vez sí sentí la lectura más pesada que matrimonio mal llevado. Perdóname, Tata Propp.
Fabio Parisini
"Ho recuperato questo libro perché citato in un corso di teatro improntanto alla creazione drammaturgica. Sicuramente le nozioni riportate nel libro sono molto importanti e interessanti rispetto all'epoca in cui è stato scritto, tuttavia credo che il testo risenta del passare del tempo. Almeno per quanto mi riguarda, la lettura del libro non aggiunge informazioni realmente importanti a quanto già conoscevo prima di leggerlo, mi viene anzi da dire che si tratti di informazioni che sono entrate co ...more
Etienne Mahieux
Feb 27, 2014 Etienne Mahieux rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En 1928, Vladimir Propp, un jeune folkloriste russe, proposait cette "Morphologie du conte" et un article, "Les transformations du conte merveilleux", reproduit dans ce même volume (ainsi qu'une étude assez dense de l'histoire de la question par E. Mélétinski). Son propos était de clarifier un certain nombre de questions quant à la forme esthétique du conte merveilleux populaire, afin de faciliter les débats historiques et génétiques qui faisaient alors rage. En dégageant trente-et-une "fonction ...more
Sep 06, 2016 Cmoreglass rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
skip the appendixes. A tale's two-fold quality: its amazing multiformity, picturesqueness, and color, and on the other hand, its no less striking uniformity, its repetition.
Oleg Avgustovskiy
Вот я и дочитал данное произведение.
Надо сказать,что читал его я долго,некоторые места просто пробегал глазами,некоторые главы пропускал полностью, и вот почему.
По моему мнению,хоть эту книгу и можно читать, что называется,с нуля,без какой-либо подготовки,все же это не художественное произведение и даже не научпоп,это самая,что ни на есть научнейшая монография со всеми вытекающими,главная из которых,являющаяся одновременно огромным плюсом для науки и главным минусом для меня,как для чтеца–огромн
Julie H.
May 19, 2009 Julie H. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a classic in narrative analysis and literary criticism. Propp, a Russian Formalist, unpacks the genre of folktale paring them down to their essential elements. Read as a follow-up to Levi-Strauss' The Structural Study of Myth, this book will make you an indomitable force!
Hmm where to start?
First of all, this man, Vladimir Propp, must have spend a considerable amount of time analyzing fairy tales and testing his framework for tale constructions! For that alone I have a lot of respect, because he succeeded in forming a theoric table of workable, logical data to analyze fairy tales. Which was not only categorized, but also very compressed (as is quite nice if you work with a bulk of data).
However, because lots of symbols are being used to express actions, I lost a
Demi Abromaits
Jul 12, 2014 Demi Abromaits rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book to use as a key reference piece for my own creative writing, having purchased it for a literature analysis class that used it to bring to light structural patterns in Grimm's fairy tales. While initially intimidated by the complex looking formulae, I found the detailed breakdown and categorization of plot elements, characters, and events to be extremely useful in the reading (and writing) of folktales. As a standalone reference point, the Appendix--List of Abbreviations dou ...more
Víctor Sampayo
En esta edición de la obra capital de Propp vemos un análisis formalista de los cuentos maravillosos —tomados casi todos de la tradición rusa—, tras el cual reside la conclusión de que todos los cuentos parten, estructuralmente hablando, de una misma fuente, la cual acaso sea algún mito primitivo o religioso. La taxonomía que emprende Propp recuerda a las clasificaciones biológicas y sirve para generar fórmulas narrativas cuyas variaciones y funciones son realmente limitadas, lo que reduce la im ...more
Sep 17, 2016 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This pithy book has earned its status as a classic. Propp sets out to prove that all the fairytales in the famous Aarne-Thompson collection have the same basic structure. He succeeds. His discoveries are not just interesting for folklorists, however. It is easy to see why literary critics have long read and praised his work. For the book does not just describe fairytales, it also describes a method of analysis: "morphology," or the study of forms. With just two basic concepts, "function" and "dr ...more
" У мало подготовленного читателя может возникнуть вопрос: не занимается
ли наука такими отвлеченностями, которые в сущности вовсе не нужны? Не
все ли равно, разложим или неразложим мотив, не все ли равно, как
выделять основные элементы, как классифицировать сказку, изучать ли ее
по мотивам или по сюжетам? Поневоле хочется постановки каких-то более
конкретных, осязаемых вопросов, - вопросов более близких всякому
человеку, просто любящему сказку. Но такое требование основано на
заблуждении. Приведем ана
Juan Bosco
En este libro Vladimir Propp analiza la estructura de una gran cantidad de cuentos populares rusos y a partir de los elementos comunes que encuentra en ellos propone una morfología, la cual va acompañada de un diagrama que muestra de manera visual cuál es la estructura de un cuento.

Aunque en apariencia es similar a The Hero With a Thousand Faces por el trabajo de encontrar estructuras comunes a las historias que por tradición cuentan las personas, el resultado del análisis hecho es diferente. Pr
Очень простая и доходчивая книга. В том числе поэтому, наверное, её стоит прочесть. Заодно вспомнятся любимые сказки, появится повод освежить их в памяти, а заодно взглянуть на них новым взглядом. Мне вот в детстве именно волшебные сказкии нравились больше всего.
А как вариант взгляда исторического, а также разбора значений этих самых сказок, можно послушать лекции Агранович, там в красках объясняется, отчего у царевны золотые волосы (меня прямо-таки затянуло).
Jun 07, 2015 Darcy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This text was often referred to when I did film analysis at university. I was always curious about the book and finally tracked down a crisp new translation to buy to help with my own creative writing.
This is a relatively short and readable thesis about the structure of fairy tales. It breaks down the structure into functions and helps you understand characters and their motives. It is a little dry in places and not for everybody.
Jan 28, 2015 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is a lot of good information in there, but it is painful to read. Is it a mandate that serious scholarly works have to be dry as dust? There was such an opportunity to phrase the same information in other ways to make it palatable. This one did not do the trick.

I am glad that I read it and it has prompted some ideas for me. I can’t, however, say that I enjoyed reading it.
May 20, 2015 Victoria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was really a fascinating read and so helpful for writing comparisons of folktales. While of course it is limited to the genre of fairy tales, Propp's work can be and has been extrapolated since this book was first published. This really is a great foundation text for anyone interested in folklore or folkloristics.
Mar 07, 2014 Jonathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
With apologies to my friend Erin, I just couldn't get into this. It's so academic and nitpicky. I appreciate his different way of analyzing the tales, but dear god this was dull reading!
Hayley Stone
Mar 30, 2014 Hayley Stone rated it it was ok
Interesting, but often academically dense to the point of being impenetrable. A very clinical and, dare I say it, almost mathematical analysis of the development of fairy tales. Not for the casual reader.
Aug 16, 2015 Werehare rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: preferiti, saggistica

Estremamente interessante e per nulla complicato, tanto che anche io che sull'argomento avevo soltanto reminescenze di liceo sono riuscita a seguire tranquillamente tutto. Il primo saggio è più tecnico, per "addetti ai lavori", il secondo più apertamente dedicato al folklore e contiene spunti davvero brillanti, che mi hanno aperto un mondo su elementi che magari ho trovato fin da bambina nelle fiabe senza capirne l'origine. Non posso giudicare se e in quale misura sia superato (ha pur sempre
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Vladimir Yakovlevich Propp (Russian: Владимир Яковлевич Пропп; 29 April 1895 – 22 August 1970) was a Soviet formalist scholar who analyzed the basic plot components of Russian folk tales to identify their simplest irreducible narrative elements.
More about Vladimir Propp...

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