(8/13/04 2:51 am)
Does anyone know anything about the background of Alexander Afanasiev? I have just got a copy of his collection of folk tales with wonderful illustrations, but I can't seem to find much about him on the internet.
(8/14/04 1:28 am)
which book ?|
I'm afraid I can't help you with the biographical background. I was just wondering which book you had got, as I've been on the lookout for Russian fairy tales with wonderful illustrations for quite some time. good luck with your search.
(8/14/04 4:10 am)
Re: which book ?|
It's called "The
Three Kingdoms" and is published by Raduga Publishers,
Moscow. The illustrations are by Alexander Kurkin and are really
really beautiful. Exceptional in fact. i bought this and another
collection on a recent trip to Moscow and St Petersburg. But I see
on my return, you can in fact buy this book from Amazon! Anyway
I'm just very interested in Russian writers and artists now and
wanting to know as much as possible.
All the best
(8/18/04 1:19 pm)
Afanasyev was born in 1826: he studied law at Moscow University,
and spent some time working in the official archives. He had been
interested in folklore from early on in his life (inspired by his
nurse-maid, like Pushkin), and eventually came under the tutelage
of one of the first of the Russian folklorists, Petr Kireevskii.
He was inspired by the Grimms: while he initially intended to release
single tales accompanied by commentary, he ended up anthologizing
them instead. There are over 600 tales in his authorized collections.
Like the Grimms, he attempted to track tales from the oral tradition,
though he ended up relying upon print resources as well, using the
resources of various folklorists (Zhukovski, Dahl, etc.) as well
as those of the Russian Geographical society. Unlike the Grimms,
in keeping with the Eastern ethnographic tradition, he refused to
edit his tales to confrom to modern standards of morality - sufficient
tales to qualify for an entire seperate volume were banned by the
Russian censors, and were published in Switzerland instead, under
the title _Secret Bawdy Tales of Russia_ in 1872. This, as you can
imagine, did not increase his popularity - upon the publication
of the second edition of his original collection, he was accused
of illegally accessing government archives. He lived in penury for
the rest of his life, and died at 45, of consumption. His work was
the basis for Propp's _Morphology_.
For more on Afanasyev's work and ideas, you could look at Maria
Tatar's biography in _The
Annotated Classic Fairy Tales_. I would also recommend Jack
V. Haney's _An
Introduction to the Russian Folktale_. Hope this helps!
(8/19/04 4:27 am)
Thank you very much for the information, Helen. I kept drawing a blank when I looked him up. Do you know anything about the illustrator Alexander Kurkin?
All the best
(8/19/04 1:53 pm)
*I* don't ... my knowledge peters out when it moves from the tales to the illustrations ... but I think that Charles mentioned researching the Russian illustrators earlier this year. Might even be worth a seperate entry ...