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Russian Fairy Tales (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)
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Russian Fairy Tales (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  2,859 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Translated by Norbert Guterman
Illustrated by Alexander Alexeieff

In this most comprehensive collection of classic Russian tales available in English we meet both universal fairy-tale figures—thieves and heroes, kings and peasants, beautiful damsels and terrifying witches, enchanted children and crafty animals—and such uniquely Russian characters as Koshchey the Deathless, B
Paperback, 672 pages
Published September 12th 1976 by Pantheon (first published 1863)
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oh carlyn what key
seriously there is nothing more weird and bewildering and beautiful than russian fairy tales. first of all the titles are incredible. "if you don't like it, don't listen" is a classic example. the way they end is my favorite part. often the story is clipped short by: "i was there, i drank mead with the king and it got in my beard but did not spill into my mouth." or other such brilliance. and baba yaga and her chicken-leg hut? don't even get me started.
i am a sucker for fairy tales in general, but this collection gives me insight into gogol's imaginative workings... absurdities, odd, cruel, dry humor... and excellent illustrations to boot...
The synopsis for this particular edition is, for some reason, in English instead of in Dutch - the reason I mention this is because the Dutch edition only includes 50 fairytales, and not the 200 promised in the English synopsis.

Russia has always interested me greatly, but I personally haven't gotten around reading any of the great classics just yet. I grew up with Russian folk songs (especially when a certain Belgian guy by the name of Helmut Lotti decided to record them as well), my mom loves R
This is a vast compendium of folk tales (no fairies, really, in Russian folklore)... but they seem often to be the same story with various character configurations, having a hard time 'feeling' the subject matter. Think this is going to be more of a reference book than a 'read'. Think I'd enjoy a more realized version of the stories--like in individual picture books.

As I go along, I find it's more engaging. I've found a better tempo, slower rather than faster.

This is a collection Russian Fairy Tales. There is love, death, and betrayal, as with all good tales.

The narrative is detailed, vivid, often emotional, and evocative.

Characters are sometimes emotional, caring, and humorous.

Overall, a fun read.
Afanasjev spese l'intera sua vita raccogliendo le antiche fiabe che si faceva raccontare dalle anziane bocche di tutta la Russia. La collezione che è pervenuta sino a noi è sterminata: ma non è tanto la quantità delle fiabe ad impressionare, quanto la loro straordinaria capacità di evocare nel lettore una Russia d'altri tempi, ricostruita tramite l'immaginario popolare folcloristico del tempo.
Potenti e sinistre baba yaghe, bellissime principesse, sagge fanciulle, intrepidi contadini, principi do
Renée Poffley

This Russian imagining of “Little Brother and Little Sister” by Aleksandr Afanas’ev, a renowned Russian ethnographer, has simultaneously more well-rounded characters and less connection between minor characters. It contains the fairy tale motif of three, a sorceress, an enchanted baby goat kid, a king, a bizarre drowning, and a happy ending.

It begins with siblings who have recently been orphaned by their parents, who happened to be king and queen. In spite of this fact, they are alone and wander

The only reason I didn't give this book a higher rating was due to its readability. This is a translation of the original collection of fairy tales as compiled by Aleksandr Afanas'ev. While a great resource, there are many very similar stories with very repetitive plot lines and some views that would no longer be considered politically correct. This is, however, a great resource for story tellers, writers and students of Russian literature. There is a great, if short analysis at the end of the b ...more
man the Russians are depressing!
Gijs Grob
Selectie uit de door Afanasjev verzamelde en opgetekende Russische volkssprookjes. Deze onderscheiden zich van de West-Europese volkssprookjes door typische regelmatig terugkerende figuren: de heks Baba Jaga, die in een hut op kippenpoten woont, dat 'verkeerd staat', zich voortbeweegt in een vijzel en die soms een of meer dochters heeft, en Kosjtsei de onsterfelijke, wiens dood zich op een schier onvindbare plaats bevindt. Gek genoeg zien de sprookjesvertellers er geen been in om deze twee vaste ...more
Mary Catelli
This is, of course, only a selection of his collected works. A fair number of animal tales intermingled, some tales of sillies, among the wonder tales.

As an extensive overview of Russian fairy tales, it's better than most such collections I've read, but I like it less than the other collections (russian and otherwise) I've been reading. I don't know whether it's the translation or possibly a disproportionate number of unhappy endings (though still a minority).

But here we have Vasilisa the Beauti
This is the largest, most comprehensive collection of Russian fairy tales I have come across. Jeremiah Curtin used similar tales in his "Myths and Folk Tales of the Russians, Western Slavs, and Magyars," which was published in 1903. However, he edited the tales to make them more suitable for his Western audience. I have read other versions of these tales - "Vasilisa the Fair," "Baba Yaga," "Maria Morevna," etc. - but it is nice to read the original versions. This is a large volume, and you can s ...more
Some of these fairy tales, as I recall, used to reduce my husband and I to helpless laughter. They were like mirror images of Western fairy tales. Instead of getting a pot of gold (or other reward) by climbing the beanstalk, the hapless climber would end up falling to the earth. So much for reaching for the sky! Nothing ever good seemed to come of many of the magical encounters. It all seemed distinctly Russian.

We'd comb through the book, reading aloud the tales that captured our fancy. There's
This is a really delightful collection. Afanasyev traveled around Russia collecting folktales. Many of these are very short and some of them are quite dark. You have to shift through a lot of wife beating to get to the good stuff. There's a lot of outsmarting witches and dragons and princes who aren't worth marrying. And there's a lot of wicked stepmothers. There are also just a lot of stories about people and animals exploiting other people's misfortune for their own profit. There aren't too ma ...more
Afanasyev collected oral tales in much the same way that the Grimms did, and this is his complete collection. Russian fairy tales are...different. You can definitely tell they are supposed to be told aloud. I found myself reading them to my husband in bed before we'd go to sleep. The endings are often abrupt, and dark. Very dark. Lots of tales of Ivan and other Russian heros. I particularly loved the tales with Baba Yaga in them. And I loved the sing-song tropes that are common throughout the ta ...more
Ricardo Sanchez
Un total de cuarenta y un cuentos rusos llenos de fantasía. El amor, el engaño, la sabiduría y la desgracia son temáticas recurrentes en estos relatos. Muchos quedan impregnando nuestra mente con paisajes de una antigua Rusia, llena de leyendas, brujas, dragones e instrumentos mágicos. La cultura popular zarista con todas sus costumbres que se enlaza a los mitos de oriente y Europa, me asombra un relato que inclusive tiene tintes vampíricos. En esta antología podemos ver la universalidad del cue ...more
Brian Murray
I'll admit that I have not read Afanasyev's collection in its entirety, but more than enough to get the gist of the work. It's a collection. Some stories will be good. Other's will be bad. Some of my favorites were ones that echoed traditional western fairy tales like Cinderella and Snow White as well as ones that were distinctly Russian. It's not something I would ever read for enjoyment. Most of these stories feel quick, bland, and unmemorable. It is a great document as a representation of Rus ...more
No book for beginners

Even though some aspects of fairy tales may seem suitable for foreign language learners - constant repitition, simple themes - this book is not 100 % suitable for beginners of the Russian language. The translation is great and helps a lot though unfortunately very many words are archaic, no longer used today. Also the plot jumps from one place to the next making it hard to guess the meaning of unknown words.
On the other hand this aspect makes the stories fun to read. The Ru
I LOVED this collection. Too bad there aren't any notes on the locales the stories were collected from, though. The commentary at the end was a bit dry, too, and didn't really discuss much about the things I was most interested in knowing more about, such as the meaning and significance of certain repeated phrases and situations that aren't necessarily all that clear to the modern (and American) reader.

I'm most interested in the stories themselves, though, and this was a wonderful collection, a
Không Biết
good and interesting story
An excellent starting point for anyone interested in fairy tales from non-western cultures; the differences between these and Grimm's are plainly apparent, but they're still familiar enough to be approachable without much need of explanation or introduction. There's a pretty broad mix of theme, and nearly all are appropriate for young children. I first ran across this book in a teacher's yard sale, and it's been a fast favourite ever since. I can't recommend it highly enough.
J. Aleksandr Wootton
I purchased this for a course in Russian folklore I took in college, and recently re-read it. It's a longer collection than most (including Grimm's), offered without commentary, and very enjoyable. While sharing certain oratorical formulas with Scandinavian folklore (many-headed dragons v. many-headed trolls, Otherworld beings detecting hidden heroes by smelling Russian blood rather than Christian blood), there is a flavor to these tales that is distinctly Russian.
Too weird. Even for me, who lives for weird.

I have to think a lot gets lost in translation. It just has to. I mean, they got married, and chewed bread for the rest of their lives? Do what?

And then the fairy tales aren't even well thought out. "They did this and this. And then something happened, and she turned into a dove."

"Something happened"? Literally? That's your great plot twist?

No. No, no, no.
For those who have read and looked into The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales it's clear to see that the Russians have played a big part in the fairytale tradition. This does not dissapoint, athough there is the occasional tale repeated almost word for word.
As any book of fairytales this one is full of dakness and death. It is very rich in differente tales some about animals others about princes and princess, witchs, demons and poor farmers. Some of the fairytales in the book are very similiar in the way the hero works out his troubles and defeats the evil. I enjoyed reading for the first time tales with Baba Yaga.
I don't know this edition and can't find the one I've read, but if you haven't read any russian fairy tales, you really should. They're important. "Vasalisa the Beautiful" is a good one...or "Ivan the Fool,"...but like most stories, the obscure ones you can't remember the names of are often the best.
This was THE MOST exciting book my mother ever read us in the remote Pacific islands! It was so stimulating to our young imaginations!! All my siblings also remember this book - though not specific stories, just scenes (it WAS a long time ago now!) - which means something too. HIGHLY recommend for children!!
Robert Costic
This is a huge collection, which makes reading it all the way through that much harder, because the fairy tales are told in such a flat manner, without a sense of dramatic flair, that it often feels like a laundry list of plot points.
These fairy tales are so good that I enjoy reading them as an adult. You just can't go wrong with these Russian tales. My mom enjoyed them a lot when she was young and she got me to like them too. Our favorite tale is obviously the one with Baba Yaga.
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See also: А.Н. Афанасьев

Alexander Nikolayevich Afanasyev (Russian: Александр Николаевич Афанасьев) was a Russian folklorist who recorded and published over 600 Russian folktales and fairytales, by far the largest folktale collection by any one man in the world. His first collection was published in eight volumes from 1855–67, earning him the reputation of a Russian counterpart to the Brothers Grim
More about Alexander Afanasyev...

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