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Hero with Black Curls

Title: The Hero with Black Curls: A Critical Edition, with English Translations, of Selected "Soviet Wondertales".

Inaccessible until May 8, 2020 due to copyright restrictions.

Name(s): Benedict, Aleksandra A., author
Romanchuk, Robert, professor directing thesis
Wakamiya, Lisa, 1969-, committee member
Weber, Alina Dana, committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Arts and Sciences, degree granting college
Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Master Thesis
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2017
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (118 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: From 1934 — when guidelines for Socialist Realism were established at the first All-Union Congress of Soviet Writers — to Stalin’s death in 1953, Soviet folklore deliberately promoted the new social order and encouraged the rural masses to support it. So-called Soviet Tales (sovetskie skazki), one of the most interesting but under-researched folktale forms to arise in the 1930s, were prose wondertales created through the collaborative efforts of traditional rural story-tellers and “party-minded” folklorists, who provided the tellers with new motifs and plots and “collected” and published the results as folklore. The Soviet Tale was conceived as an ideological weapon for the agitation and education of the rural masses. Its goals were to promote class consciousness and “Socialist patriotism” among the peasantry. Soviet Tales promoted the goals of the new regime and its particular realization of what it regarded as the masses’ dream for a better life. Themes and motifs ranged from the October Revolution and the Russian Civil War to social and technological progress; from the new role of women in Soviet society to the opening of the Moscow Metro and the VSKhV (All-Union Agricultural Exhibition); and from the Stalin-era “cults” of aviation, Arctic exploration, and the “Wise Leader” himself to warnings against foreign and internal enemies. These tales promoted three types of heroes. First, the ideal people of Communism: strong, healthy, young peasants and workers who support revolutionary transformation. Second, the brave and self-sacrificing heroes of the Russian Civil War such as Vasilii Chapaev and Semyon Budennyi. Third, Soviet leaders — especially Stalin, the “Hero with Black Curls.” The Soviet Tale offers a paradoxical representation of the historical and cultural development of its time. On the one hand, it reveals Soviet propaganda and the evolution of the “cult” of Stalin. On the other, it may well express certain aspirations of the peasantry and other working people. My thesis offers a representative collection of Soviet Tales, in particular wondertales. It is divided into three parts: an introduction, a critical edition of selected tales in Russian, and their English translation. In the introduction, I provide historical background and definitions of Soviet Folklore. I also discuss problems of interpreting (and editing as well as translating) narrative forms which are called “fakeloric” or “pseudofolkloric” and raise the question of whether it is appropriate to refer to Soviet Tales as folklore. The critical edition consists of eight wondertales that I have taken from collections of Soviet Folklore published from the 1930s to the 1950s and 60s. In my view, they best represent the themes and characteristics of the “Soviet Wondertale.” The earliest printing of each tale is used for the copy-text: accidentals (punctuation and spelling) are preserved; substantives are examined and, when possible, their earliest form is determined. The edited tales are translated in an English fairy-tale idiom. My thesis makes them accessible in English for the first time, in the hopes of raising interest in the phenomenon of Soviet Folklore.
Identifier: FSU_SUMMER2017_Benedict_fsu_0071N_13672 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis submitted to the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics in partial fulfillment of the Master of Arts.
Degree Awarded: Summer Semester 2017.
Date of Defense: July 21, 2017.
Keywords: fakelore, folklore, propaganda, socialism
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Robert L. Romanchuk, Professor Directing Thesis; Lisa R. Wakamiya, Committee Member; Alina Dana Weber, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Literature
Language and languages
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
Benedict, A. A. (2017). The Hero with Black Curls: A Critical Edition, with English Translations, of Selected "Soviet Wondertales". Retrieved from