A compendium of folkloric, literary, and critical texts that show how the Russian fairy tale acquired political and historical meanings during the Soviet era
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.