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Baba Yaga: The Wild Witch of the East in Russian Fairy Tales Hardcover – 13 Aug 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi (13 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617035963
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617035968
  • Product Dimensions: 28.4 x 22.4 x 2.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 400,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Baba Yaga is an ambiguous and fascinating figure. She appears in traditional Russian folktales as a monstrous and hungry cannibal, or as a canny inquisitor of the adolescent hero or heroine of the tale. In new translations and with an introduction by Sibelan Forrester, "Baba Yaga: The Wild Witch of the East in Russian Fairy Tales" is a selection of tales that draws from the famous collection of Aleksandr Afanas'ev, but also includes some tales from the lesser-known nineteenth-century collection of Ivan Khudiakov. This new collection includes beloved classics such as "Vasilisa the Beautiful" and "The Frog Princess," as well as a version of the tale that is the basis for the ballet "The Firebird." The preface and introduction place these tales in their traditional context with reference to Baba Yaga's continuing presence in today's culture--the witch appears iconically on tennis shoes, tee shirts, even tattoos. The stories are enriched with many wonderful illustrations of Baba Yaga, some old (traditional "lubok" woodcuts), some classical (the marvelous images from Victor Vasnetsov or Ivan Bilibin), and some quite recent or solicited specifically for this collection

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Amazon.com: 8 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Baba Yaga: Wild One 9 Sept. 2013
By Heidi Anne Heiner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Essentially, this book is a collection of Baba Yaga tales--the most in any English language compilation--with a six page foreword by Jack Zipes, a similarly long preface, and a 31 page introduction--for me the highlight of the book. It is much faster and lighter reading than the ever excellent Baba Yaga (International Folkloristics, V. 3) by Andreas Johns, a book YOU MUST own if you are at all interested in Baba Yaga. Very excellent but more scholarly in tone than this book which will appeal more to the more casual fairy tale reader while still satisfying some academic bent. There are 29 tales followed by an endnotes section and index, so the book is usefully compiled, too. The notes focus primarily on explaining Russian terms as well as describing variants to episodes in the tales. So many anthologies don't have as detailed an index as this one offers either. And the notes are a trivia or scholarly minded reader's dream.

The book itself is hardcover with fine colorful images throughout--they are all glossed by Helena Goscilo. There were some images new to me. Goscilo's captions are excellent and leave one wanting to find even more Baba Yaga imagery. It's an excellent book and a worthy addition to my library.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
fundamentally nice, but major reservation 13 Jan. 2014
By Bruce D. Wilner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an important collection of folktales, many of which should be familiar to the Slavic folklore enthusiast. I appreciate its having introduced the oeuvres of numerous artists, some of them quite unfamiliar. Some of the stories' plot lines seem rather more lightweight than I remember, but that could due purely to my having been exposed to so many variants from so many independent language groups, I suppose. Or I could be mixing in subplots treating this bogatyr or that one from the bylini.

And, now, for my major reservation: What's up with the illustrations? Why are they so darned tiny? No kidding, it looks like the printer went out of his way to make the illustrations unreasonably small. I mean, he goes out of his way to reserve an entire page for a picture, then reproduces the picture as, like, a four-by-four. This is so anticlimactic--shoot, the book is already a delight to behold, printed on first-class paper--that one really, really feels cheated, particularly after having laid out over forty bucks.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
One to savor! 16 Jan. 2014
By Paul E. Richardson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Baba Yaga is trending.

I know this not simply because we received two Baba Yaga books to review in the space of one month, but because a Scandinavian food cart in our little town has introduced a Baba Yaga wrap (roasted butternut squash, roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, arugula and blue cheese dressing: $7 – notably, no chicken).

Of course, Baba Yaga has been trending for a long time. As Sibelan Forrester begins her introduction to this fine volume, “As the classic Russian fairy-tale witch, Baba Yaga has elicited fascination, trepidation and wonder in generations of Russian children and adults.”

The book contains not just 29 tales newly translated in a very fluid, enjoyable style (including some of the “better-knowns”: The Firebird, The Tsar-Maiden, Vasilisa the Beautiful and The Frog Princess), but copious footnotes and explanations, a lengthy introduction on everything you ever wanted to know about the witch, plus dozens of color illustrations from old books, modern designers, and artisans the world over.

If you are fascinated by Russian fairy-tales, this is one to savor.

[As reviewed in Russian Life magazine.]
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Beautifully produced in every respect 3 Nov. 2013
By R. H. Chandler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I agree with all that Heidi Anne Heiner says in the customer review above. The only thing worth adding is that a great deal of time and thought must have gone into the choice of illustrations. These include not only some, like Bilibin's, that are already deservedly well known, but also a variety of contemporary illustrations, from several different countries, that can inspire one to imagine these stories in new ways
This is a beautiful book! If you have any interest in Baba ... 26 Nov. 2014
By Simon Traynor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book! If you have any interest in Baba Yaga or Russian folklore this is a must have. It also appealed to the inner comic book nerd in me. This is a very useful book for my classroom. It has some great stories and some very gory tales for older kids.
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