RUSSIAN FOLK TALES by Natalie--Trans. Duddington


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Twenty-two tales newly translated from Afanasyev by a native of Russia, and ranging from such brief animal fables as ""The Fox and the Hare"" to richly wrought stories like ""Marya Morevna"" and ""The Firebird."" As the titles indicate (and Mrs. Duddington seems not to realize), the great majority are already available in English, a couple in Downey's Russian Tales and Legends, some (of the simpler ones) in the Schimanskaya translation of Alexei Tolstoy's Russian Tales for Children, several--the most fabulous--in Post Wheeler's redoubtable Russian Wonder Tales. In overall content and style, the Tolstoi is definitely a book for younger children, and the bulk of the Downey draws on legends rather than folklore, which leaves Wheeler as the prime comparison. In his versions, motivations and transitions are clearer than they are here, but his (1912) style, replete with thee's and thou's, forsooth, is far less vigorous and direct than Mrs. Duddington's. Also, her versions are more graphic (in ""Marya,"" his generic wizard becomes her vivid Old Bones the Deathless); the particulars are not for the queasy. There are perhaps over-many wicked stepmothers, all dispatched in one dreadful way or another. What the book lacks in variety, however, it makes up in authenticity--underlying the extraordinary variety of invention is an almost harrowing austerity.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1969
Publisher: Funk & Wagnalls