Examines the artistic forms, varieties, and themes of the Russian folktale, its roots in pre-Christian Slavic religion, connections with myth and legend, adaptation for Soviet and modern Russian literature, film, and music.
What is folklore and how is it related to modern culture and experience? What connection do fairytales and myths have to evolving ideas of Russian culture and nationality? What is the relationship between traditional folklore, modern “urban legends” and literature? This class will explore these ideas through an examination of the Russian folktale, its roots in ancient, pre-Christian Slavic religious tradition, its connections with other forms of folklore such as myth and legend, and its transformation in modern Russian literature. In addition to Russian fairytales, we will be reading works of Russian literature (Gogol’, Pelevin, Kharms, et al) that make use of folkloric themes and motifs, and we will look at the study of folklore as a discipline. No prerequisites