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The Complete Folktales of A. N. Afanas'ev, Volume II

The Complete Folktales of A. N. Afanas'ev, Volume II

Edited by Jack V. Haney
Paperback : 9781496823397, 570 pages, August 2019
Hardcover : 9781496802743, 570 pages, October 2015

140 tales collected by the extraordinary Russian "Grimm"


Up to now, there has been no complete English-language version of the Russian folktales of A. N. Afanas’ev. This translation is based on L. G. Barag and N. V. Novikov’s edition, widely regarded as the authoritative Russian-language edition. The present edition includes commentaries to each tale as well as its international classification number. This second volume of 140 tales continues the work started in Volume I, also published by University Press of Mississippi. A third planned volume will complete the first English-language set.

The folktales of A. N. Afanas’ev represent the largest single collection of folktales in any European language and perhaps in the world. Widely regarded as the Russian Grimm, Afanas’ev collected folktales from throughout the Russian Empire in what are now regarded as the three East Slavic languages, Byelorusian, Russian, and Ukrainian. The result of his own collecting, the collecting of friends and correspondents, and in a few cases his publishing of works from earlier and forgotten collections is truly phenomenal. In his lifetime, Afanas’ev published more than 575 tales in his most popular and best-known work, Narodnye russkie skazki. In addition to this basic collection, he prepared a volume of Russian legends, many on religious themes; a collection of mildly obscene tales, Russkie zavetnye skazki; and voluminous writings on Slavic folk life and mythology. His works were subject to the strict censorship of ecclesiastical and state authorities that lasted until the demise of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. Overwhelmingly, his particular emendations were stylistic, while those of the censors mostly concerned content. The censored tales are generally not included in this volume.


"The present volumes and anticipated companion volume are highly valuable to the field of folklore and will become classics. . . . for scholars and those who wish to know the Russian tradition more deeply, the present volumes are a most welcome addition. "

- Laura J. Olson, University of Colorado, Boulder, Journal of American Folklore, Volume 133, Number 528, Spring 2020

"The Complete Folktales of A. N. Afanas’ev, Volume 2, as physical object, is a handsome and sturdy one, with a front cover that shows an image by Ivan Bilbin (a kind of Russian equivalent of Arthur Rackham) of a merchant father leaving his three daughters at home. Visually, it makes an interesting counterpart to the cover of the first volume, which shows a typical Soviet-era depiction of an animal tale. All in all, the arrival of this second volume of the Russian counterpart to the Grimms’ tales is to be welcomed. It will become the edition of choice for those interested this European folklore classic who cannot access the original. "

- Jonathan Roper, University of Tartu, Estonia, Folklore

"The Afanas'ev collection of folktales is an essential source for the study of Russian culture and literature, and having a good translation of the complete collection will be a wonderful asset. Afanas'ev has had tremendous influence on Russian writers and on their (and our) general understanding of what Russian culture means, and he has impacted writers, generation after generation. This is THE collection of Russian folktales. "

- Sibelan Forrester, professor of Russian at Swarthmore College and translator of Baba Yaga: The Wild Witch of the East in Russian Fairy Tales

"Haney has become the 'go to' translator of Russian folktales. No other scholar of our generation has done more than he when it comes to making Russian folklore available to the English-language reader. I think that Haney is an important translator, perhaps the most important one of our times. This makes him quite special in my eyes. He's done an enormous amount—both in terms of the amount of material translated and in terms of bridging the gap between countries and cultures. "

- Natalie Kononenko, Kule Chair in Ukrainian Ethnography at the University of Alberta

"In the second of three volumes of The Complete Folktales of A. N. Afanas'ev, Jack V. Haney continues to introduce one of the world's richest folkloric collections—and one of the world's most vital folkloric traditions—to English-speaking audiences. No scholar of folklore should go without these volumes, and no fan of folktales will want to miss Haney's vivid translations, which do justice to both the texts' literal sense and to their lively style. "

- Boris Dralyuk, University of St. Andrews