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Russian Myths (The Legendary Past) Paperback – Jun 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: British Museum Press (Jun 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714127434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714127439
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 16.8 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,346,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This introduction to Russian mythology begins with the coming of Christianity to the state of Kievan Rus' at the end of the 10th century, heralding a state of co-existence between pagan and Christian practices that came to be known as "dual faith". The book deals with the mythic beliefs, notions and customs concerning nature, the cult of the dead, demons, witchcraft, the supernatural and more, many of which have their roots in the pre-Christian past, but which continue to survive. The author draws on a rich variety of sources to illuminate the evolution of major themes and motifs, and to give context to the mythology. These include anecdotal narrative forms, religious legends, epic songs, funeral laments, and folk tales.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Russian Myths (The Legendary Past)

A very informative and enjoyable book. Well presented, covering a complex subject in a concise and understandable manner. I would have liked it to have been longer and expanded on the folk-tales referenced in more detail but allowing that the book format is only 80 pages long I think Elizabeth Warner has done an excellent job in setting out and explaining the key elements of Russian mythology. This is a good overview of Russian folk beliefs and myths but it is not a collection of myths and folk-tales.
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By Sophie Masson VINE VOICE on 18 Dec 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a very useful and interesting basic introduction to the rich world of Russian myth, fairytale, and folklore. The author's style is engaging and fresh whilst also being informative--I would have liked more detail(which is why I'm awarding it 4 rather than 5 stars) but as a basic primer to a vast and fascinating subject, it's excellent.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Depending on your requirements, this may not be the book for you. 26 Mar 2010
By DF - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a lot of information on Russian myths and/or folk beliefs, this extremely slender and overpriced volume is not the place to turn. (As an alternative, you might try Russian Folk Belief by Linda Ivanits, which, while a bit too scholarly in tone for easy digestion, is still full of valuable bits of information. In particular, I appreciate how she places beliefs and mythology in the context of both time and place, as these folk beliefs change over time.) The mythology in Russian Myths, while fine for what it is, can be found in other places as well--with more stories. However, as I was looking for reference material related to the region's folk beliefs, this was fairly useless to me.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Not the best out there. 30 Jun 2011
By Rodnover - Published on
Format: Paperback
As someone who has been avidly studying Slavic folklore and myth for four years, I found this book disappointing. It may be a good place to start, but there are many books out there which contain much more information. Some of what the book contains, I would consider downright misinformation:

For instance, the author actually denies that the folklore about St.Elijah has any non-Christian influence, even though countless folklorists have submitted evidence of this. Granted, St. Elijah brought fire down from the sky as a miracle in the Old Testament, but in Slavic folklore, St.Elijah is *literally* up in the sky causing each thunderstorm, battling the devil with stone arrows. He is wrathful, and ruins the crops of peasants who don't honor him. In Serbia, he also throws lightning-spitting golden apples, and in Bulgaria shoots arrows at dragons who with-hold rain from the earth. The Russian peasants actually used to call Saint icons "Bogi" (Gods). Yet she claims there is nothing at all extra-Biblical about St.Elijah in Slavic folklore. This author clearly is all about intact mythology, and cannot be bothered to comb through folklore.

Much better books would be Forests of the Vampire (Slavic Myth and Mankind). Bulgarian folk customs by Mercia MacDermott, and Songs of the Russian People for anyone interested in Slavic myth and folklore.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good introduction to Slavic Pagan Beliefs 29 July 2009
By Cwn_Annwn - Published on
Format: Paperback
Really just as much about Russian Pagan beliefs, Gods, folklore and folk custom as much as any Russian mythological system. Its a short and basic book but is also full of nice illustrations. This seems to me like a very good introductory book for someone studying this books subject matter. I look forward to reading more about the Slavic interpretations of the Indo-European Gods in the future.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good quality book 4 Sep 2009
By Yelena P. Francis - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very good book for those who like folklore: everything is in concentrated form, well-illustrated, rather easy to read in comparison with most research books. Logical, clear, very useful in Russian Folklore Course.
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