Politicizing Magic

Trade Paper – $27.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2032-7

Cloth Text – $89.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2031-0
Publication Date
October 2005
Page Count
432 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Politicizing Magic

An Anthology of Russian and Soviet Fairy Tales
Marina Balina, Helena Goscilo, and Mark Lipovetsky
We were born to make fairy tales come true. As one of Stalinism's more memorable slogans, this one suggests that the fairy tale figured in Soviet culture as far more than a category of children's literature. How much more-and how cannily Russian fairy tales reflect and interpret Soviet culture, especially in its utopian ambitions-becomes clear for the first time in Politicizing Magic, a compendium of folkloric, literary, and critical texts that demonstrate the degree to which ancient fairy-tale fantasies acquired political and historical meanings during the catastrophic twentieth century.
Introducing Western readers to the most representative texts of Russian folkloric and literary tales, this book documents a rich exploration of this colorful genre through all periods of Soviet literary production (1920-1985) by authors with varied political and aesthetic allegiances. Here are traditional Russian folkloric tales and transformations of these tales that, adopting the didacticism of Soviet ideology, proved significant for the official discourse of Socialist Realism. Here, too, are narratives produced during the same era that use the fairy-tale paradigm as a deconstructive device aimed at the very underpinnings of the Soviet system. The editors' introductory essays acquaint readers with the fairy-tale paradigm and the permutations it underwent within the utopian dream of Soviet culture, deftly placing each-from traditional folklore to fairy tales of Socialist Realism, to real-life events recast as fairy tales for ironic effect-in its literary, historical, and political context.
About the Author
Marina Balina is a professor of Russian at Illinois Wesleyan University. Her publications include Endquote: Sots-Art Literature and Soviet Grand Style with Nancy Condee and Evgeny Dobrenko (Northwestern, 2000), Soviet Treasure: Culture, Literature, and Film with Evgeny Dobrenko and Jurii Murashov (Akademiheskii project, 2002), and Dictionary of Literary Biography: Russian Writers Since 1980 with Mark Lipovetsky (Gale Group, 2003).

Helena Goscilo is UCIS Research Professor of Slavic at the University of Pittsburgh. She has authored and edited more than a dozen volumes, most recently Russian Culture in the 1990s, a special issue of Studies in 20th Century Literature (2000). She is also the editor of Shamara and Other Stories by Svetlana Vasilenko (Northwestern, 2000).

Mark Lipovetsky is an associate professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His is the author of five books, including Russian Postmodernist Fiction: Dialogue with Chaos (M. E. Sharpe, 1999) and Modern Russian Literature,1950s-1990s with Naum Leiderman (Academia, 2003).