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The role of animals in Russian folk tales

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Title: The role of animals in Russian folk tales
Author(s): Young, Grace Halstead
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Bristol, Evelyn
Department / Program: Slavic Languages and Literatures
Discipline: Slavic Languages and Literatures
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Literature, Slavic and East European Folklore
Abstract: Traces of Slavic pagan cosmology are preserved to a great extent in folklore. The pagan philosophy regarding animals stood in strong contrast to the Christian one. To the pagan the world was made up of a myriad of natural forces sharing powers and characteristics in common, whereas the Christian saw the world as neatly divided into two separate realms, that of man and that of God. The contrasting views are also juxtaposed in written folk literature and oral folklore. Written works are, as is to be expected, imbued much more with the Christian philosophy--that is, literate society was closer to the monasteries, while the illiterate peasantry kept many pagan ideas in their traditional folklore. Animals as divinities in pagan times are seen quite clearly in a lot of folk traditions and fairy tales. Animals are depicted in a positive light as man's friends and helpers; as beautiful treasures formed of gold, silver, and precious stones; as superior to man in their magic power; a benevolent force is often seen in the dragon, evil and fearsome in Western folklore. There is, however, another side to the respect for animals shown in these stories--the awe of what animals could do to man as well as for him. They are sometimes shown as evil spirits or heralds of evil. The emphasis, however, in oral folklore, even in religious fairy tales, is on the positive, whereas in written tradition animals are most often seen as either inferior or wicked.
Issue Date: 1996
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/21805
Rights Information: Copyright 1996 Young, Grace Halstead
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog: AAI9625219
OCLC Identifier: (UMI)AAI9625219
 

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