A scholarly work that aims to be both broad enough in scope to satisfy upper-division undergraduates studying folk belief and narrative and detailed enough to meet the needs of graduate students in the field. Each of the seven chapters in Part 1 focuses on one aspect of Russian folk belief, such as the pagan background, Christian personages, devils and various other logical categories of the topic. The author's thesis - that Russian folk belief represents a "double faith" whereby Slavic pagan beliefs are overlaid with popular Christianity - is persuasive and has analogies in other cultures. The folk narratives constituting Part 2 are translated and include a wide range of tales, from the briefly anecdotal to the more fully developed narrative, covering the various folk personages and motifs explored in Part 1.
Ivanits (Russian and comparative literature, Penn. State U.) includes chapters on paganism, biblical personages and saints, the devil, spirits, witches and sorcerers. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)