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Russian Tales of Demonic Possession: Translations of Savva Grudtsyn and Solomonia (Hardback)
  • Russian Tales of Demonic Possession: Translations of Savva Grudtsyn and Solomonia (Hardback)

Russian Tales of Demonic Possession: Translations of Savva Grudtsyn and Solomonia (Hardback)

Hardback 154 Pages / Published: 17/04/2014
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Russian Tales of Demonic Possession: Translations of Savva Grudtsyn and Solomonia is a translation from the Russian of two stories of demonic possession, of innocence lost and regained. The original versions of both tales date back to the seventeenth century, but the feats of suffering and triumph described in them are timeless. Aleksei Remizov, one of Russia's premiere modernists, recognized the relevance of the late-medieval material for his own mid-twentieth-century readers and rewrote both tales, publishing them in 1951 under the title The Demoniacs. The volume offers a new translation of the original Tale of Savva Grudtsyn as well as first-ever translations of The Tale of The Demoniac Solomonia and Remizov's Demoniacs. Russian Tales of Demonic Possession opens with an introduction that interprets and contextualizes both the late-medieval and the twentieth-century tales. By providing new critical interpretations of all four tales as well as a short discussion of the history of demons in Russia, this introduction makes an eerily exotic world accessible to today's English-speaking audiences. Savva Grudtsyn and Solomonia, the protagonists of the two tales, are young people poised on the threshold of adulthood. When demons suddenly appear to confront and overmaster them, each of them teeters on the brink of despair in a world filled with chaos and temptation. The Tale of Savva Grudtsyn and The Tale of the Demoniac Solomonia propel us forcibly into the realm of good and evil and pose hard questions: Why does evil afflict us? How does it manifest itself? How can it be overcome? Aleksey Remizov's modernist re-castings of the two stories offer compelling evidence that these same questions are very much with us today and are still in need of answers.

Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9780739188606
Number of pages: 154
Weight: 367 g
Dimensions: 237 x 162 x 16 mm

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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