Russian Tales of Demonic Possession

Russian Tales of Demonic Possession : Translations of Savva Grudtsyn and Solomonia

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Russian Tales of Demonic Possession: Translations of Savva Grudtsyn and Solomonia provides detailed introductions and full translation of the seventeenth-century Tale of Savva Grudtsyn and Tale of the Demoniac Solomonia as well as of Aleksey Remizov's modernist re-workings of the two tales, The Demoniacs. These works provide insight into Russian culture in the seventeenth century and how beliefs changed over time.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 154 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 17.78mm | 362.87g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739188607
  • 9780739188606
  • 2,280,481

Table of contents

A Note on Texts, Translation, and Transliteration
Introduction: Russia Bedeviled
The Tale of Savva Grudtsyn
The Tale of the Demoniac Solomonia
Aleksey Remizov's Demoniacs:
Savva Grudtsyn
Aleksey Remizov's Demoniacs:
Appendix I Aleksey Remizov's Demoniacs:
"A History of Entwined Tales"
Appendix II Aleksey Remizov's Demoniacs:
Sources Cited
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Review quote

Taken from Aleksey Remizov's 20th-century The Demoniacs as well as from the original texts, these translations of two mid-17th-century Russian tales will resonate with readers on several planes. In presenting these late-medieval instances of the literary manifestation of deviltry in times of upheaval and transition, a phenomenon that still resounds in the present, Morris bridges several seemingly disparate elements. The value systems--pagan and folk beliefs, Orthodoxy and secular concerns--that informed the lives of early Romanov Russians, the narrative disjunction and multiplicity of genres spanned by these tales, and the linguistic levels that confront the translator. . . Morris's careful interrogation of each of these elements in her commentary elucidates themes of familial, religious, and national resonance. Of greatest value are her fluid, crystalline translations of the original tales and Remizov's The Demoniacs with his commentary. In the case of `Savva Grudtsyn,' Morris's translation is more fluid and contemporary than Serge Zenkovsky's rendering in Medieval Russia's Epics, Chronicles and Tales. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. * CHOICE * [The author] exhibits scrupulous attention to linguistic and historical detail, yet is accessible to the general reader interested in demonology as well as to Slavic scholars. . . .Russian demonology is of considerable interest to Slavists today. With this volume Morris has provided a valuable addition to the growing literature on the subject. * Modern Language Review * Marcia Morris has served Russian Studies well by translating into excellent English the mid-seventeenth-century demonic tales of 'Savva Grudtsyn' and 'Solomonia'. * The Russian Review * With Russian Tales of Demonic Possession, Marcia Morris, a rare medievalist equally at home in modernity, has provided us with excellent translations of the fascinating, hitherto inaccessible tales of Savva Grudtsyn, Solomonia, and their demonic possessors. Morris has skillfully rendered the stylistically marked Russian of all four tales into lucid, non-colloquial, non-regional English, and her introductory essay deftly juxtaposes the spiritual and emotional worlds of the 17th and 20th centuries which produced and flavor them. In both tales of the merchant's picaresque son Savva and the priest's unfortunate daughter Solomonia, Morris perspicuously observes, `evil is external in origin, anthropomorphic in form, subordinate in echelon, and, ultimately, plural in number.' The seventeenth-century Solomonia also has two narrators-a third-person narrator, who is obsessed with the number and kinds of demons possessing our holy heroine, and Solomonia herself, who struggles to focus on the saints who ultimately save her. Morris has helpfully included translations of Remizov's insightful commentaries in the volume's appendices. Since Russian literature and folklore teem with devils and demons of all kinds, these intriguing tales will prove equally invaluable to general readers as well as to teachers, students, and researchers of Russian literature, folklore, cultural history, and narrative. -- Deborah A. Martinsen, Columbia University Marcia Morris' beautifully crafted translations of demonic possession -two late medieval, two modernist-fully capture the language, pacing, and mindset of the originals. Separately, each tale finds its singular voice through Morris's evocative prose; together, they recreate the passions of a distant world of fantasy, faith, temptation, sin, and eventually, salvation. -- David Gasperetti, University of Notre Dame This valuable book offers an unprecedented look into the rich world of Russian deviltry. As Marcia Morris shows in her elegant introduction, a secular age, far from exterminating demons, provokes new infestations. Russian demons come on during times of social upheaval-the Time of Troubles and, three centuries later, the post-revolutionary Soviet Union. Heterogeneous, malevolent, persistent, these scary creatures reflect ancient anxieties and infuse old forms with new life. Readers of Gogol, Dostoevsky and Bulgakov will recognize the demonic predicaments depicted in the tales assembled here: two seventeenth-century stories of demonic possession, and Alexey Remizov's rewritten versions in his remarkable 1951 Demoniacs. Their juxtaposition reminds us of the enduring Russian preoccupation-ancient and modern-with the occult forces that lurk in the landscape, and the dangers they present to the immortal soul. A mind-bending, scholarly rigorous, highly readable and fascinating addition to Russian cultural history and literary studies, Russian Tales of Demonic Possession should be required reading for readers in a new century, one that is sure to bring on its own new set of demonic challenges. -- Carol Apollonio, Duke University
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About Marcia A. Morris

Marcia A. Morris is professor of Slavic languages at Georgetown University.
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