honestly this shit is not even the biggest flaw in the book (theres a definite streak of anti-semitism, i think, and defs lots of bad gender shit Surprise)
but i found the passage where osc describes what ivan’s dissertation is :
It was a mad project, he soon realized—trying to reconstruct the earliest versions of the fairy tales described in the Afanasyev collection in order to determine whether Propp’s theory that all fairy tales in Russian were, structurally, a single fairy tale was (1) true or false and, if true (2) rooted in some inborn psychologically true ur-tale or in some exceptionally powerful story inherent in Russian culture.
he goes on to say that the subject is “impossible to deal with” and BOY IS HE NOT WRONG.
like, i mean, there’s a lot of defining you’d have to do up front!!! like, what is “russian culture”? what is “russian”? and by “all fairy tales in Russian” do you mean “all fairy tales in the Russian language”? like, questions of identity & language & stuff are p crucial when you’re studying russian/slavic anything b/c just. LOTS OF THINGS….. which, im not v Qualified, as an american, to fully understand or explain but like, i feel like that’s a thing that you need to define at the outset. Propp was writing in the middle of the Soviet era, so you definitely need to at least define what “russian” is to him (probably a pretty big area).
i mean, regardless of what folklores you’re studying, you have to have more nuance than nationalist definitions of identity allow.
I’m not a folklorist (MUCH LIKE OTHER PEOPLE. FICTIONAL PEOPLE IN THIS BOOK. what im saying is ivan would not be able to defend his dissertation) and all of my memory of Propp is Hazy but I’m wary of the assertion above that Propp was trying to argue that ~all russian fairy tales were rooted in One Ur Tale~ just cause that seems sort of far fetched. i mean, propp was a Hardcore structuralist, he did the sort of Joseph Campbellian let’s plot out specific rote bits of stories that we see reoccur, and the Stock Characters and all that. but One Tale seems a bit extreme. idk im not Up on my Propp and its been a while since i had to fuck around w/ anything that required me to shift into folklore/morphology Mode i kno my prof(s) had crit re: his methods/what he did and didnt ignore but i cant remember. ANYWAY that all seems UNLIKELY
ALSO —- like. LIKE. part of the Thing w/ folklore & fairy tales is that they’re highly portable. they’re as portable as they are regional. so you get you know, a lot of versions of the same story all over the place. and yeah you can argue that its u kno the Collective Subconscious but there’s also instances where we can tell where one story travels from one place to another, because that happens. you’ve got strong influence and cultural contact between scandinavians and various slavic peoples, between the mongols and russian city-states, between kievan rus/muscovy/etc and the khazars out on the steppes, between everyone and the byzantine empire and all of the different points of cultural contact that come with converting to another empire’s religion.
and then , u kno, u got the problem of afanasyev’s tales coming from the 1850s, and u gotta work ur way back to… like… i mean the book’s set in 890 so a good millenia. and there’s not a lot… of… um…. shit? to go off of? w/r/t folklore shit b4 it became Cool to record it im honestly trying to think of where you would even START…..
ok thats it im just talkin out my ass…..
Why had he dodged the seminars dealing with the Church in Russia? Irrelevant, he had thought at the time. The Church was the influence that had made the chronicles of early Russian history so utterly useless, as ever chronicler twisted the record to make it seem that Orthodoxy had prevailed at every point.
YOU ARE THE WORST HISTORIAN/LINGUIST/FOLKLORIST/WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU DO.
ITS YOU, IVAN. YOU’RE THE WORST.
"irrelevant he had thought at the time" you’re studying A LITURGICAL LANGUAGE.
you’re studying FOLKLORE in a culture/cultures where religion IS VERY IMPORTANT (I MEAN THATS TRUE OF MOST CULTURES) (REALLY IF YOURE A FOLKLORIST IN ANYTHING AND CERTAINLY IF YR A HISTORIAN KNOWLEDGE ABOUT INTERACTIONS B/T THE RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS OF THE TIME AND THE CULTURE AROUND THEM IS IMPORTANT)
and i cANT BELIEVE , JEEZ, “made the chronicles worthless” poor baby ivan WAH WAH I GOTTA READ IN BETWEEN THE LINES i mean yeah they’re a little biased towards orthodoxy but all
show heavy biases
and part of being a historian is
knowing how to separate out the narrative fluff/exaggerations/political angle of the story from the fact bits
JEEZ im sorry. im sorry. im not sorry literally the worst historian.
like, ok, i know that on the one hand, the historical inaccuracies in a book that’s a retelling of a fairytale, that’s being written by an a-list scifi author, don’t really matter. i know that not a lot of ppl know enuf about the subject matter for it to be disruptive (and i’m incl. myself when I first read this in that category), and so it’s not going to Hurt the Story.
and even, like, I recognize that having interesting History Shit in books that aren’t History Books can get ppl interested in History Shit — this (enchantment by osc sry i should have said that by now) was one of the books that kept my Interest in russian history & medieval history Strong, it was the first time i heard about old church slavonic, etc.
but on the OTHER HAND, it IS bad, you know? like, on the other hand IT REALLY DOES matter enough to complain about it as much as I feel like it, and to get nit-picky. Because what if this is the only context in which someone learns about medieval russia? and how does that, this misinformation about this culture, color their perception of that time period and that region? how does that effect how you might teach this sort of history in the future, or just —-
i don’t know. there are Ramifications, when you’re writing. even tho like I KNO I KNO, a lot of books, it doesn’t help to Take Them Too Seriously, but I just feel like if you’re using real cultures and real historical events as the mulch for your bookflower, you owe it to those cultures to get it right. to cite your shit. to figure out how reliable your shit is — ESPECIALLY when it comes to issues of language and religion and gender and law, ESPECIALLY when the history you’re looking at has a , uh, history of reinterpretations that conflict (bc russian history, if we’re generalizing this as russian history, really does).
MAYBE IT DOESN’T MATTER. MAYBE ITS NOT WORTH GOING THROUGH AND CORRECTING AND THINKING ABOUT. I hope this isn’t as nitpicky and shittily semantic as “your/you’re” bullshit.
but then again, if you didn’t want it criticized and picked apart, you shouldn’t have made your character be a linguist specializing IN FOLKLORE AND IN SLAVIC LANGUAGES…….
you shouldn’t have made your character someone who CONSTANTLY draws comparisons and connections to Real History Facts, and then have him use those facts to rationalize one thing or another and then DO IT NOT … VERY WELL….
you shouldn’t make YOUR CHARACTER an EXPERT on this if you aren’t, or if you don’t have a couple of experts on hand (the acknowledgements also thanks someone for helping him w/ ocs & proto-slavonic, but like, ya need more, esp if you’re not just language-ing but culture-ing).
just, like, MAN. i would not be comfortable writing about a culture w/ the amount of shit he used to research (the acknowledgements has a few books listed — it is not enough books if you’re setting the majority of your novel in this culture/time period, and if the book HINGES on the setting, on your understanding and your character’s understanding of the setting.
SORRY. I FEEL LIKE ITS WRONG FOR ME TO BE SO ANGRY ABOUT HISTORICAL INACCURACIES OR LIBERTIES WHEN I KNOW IN FACT I PROBABLY DON’T KNOW MUCH MORE THAN HIM BUT ON THE OTHER HAND I FEEL ITS DISINGENUOUS TO SAY I DONT KNOW V MUCH ABOUT THIS SHIT OR LESS THAN HIM BECAUSE NO FOR REAL I THINK I DO. DONT EVEN TALK TO ME ABOUT PROPP & MORPHOLOGY OF FOLKTALES ALSO MOST RUSSIAN FOLKTALES WEREN’T RECORDED UNTIL THEY WERE RECORDED BY ETHNOGRAPHERS IN THE 19TH CENTURY ALSO SINCE “RUSSIA” IS SUCH A LARGE AREA THE TALES TEND TO HAVE CULTURAL INFLUENCES FROM MANY PLACES AND IN PARTICULAR THERES A LOT OF CROSSOVER W/ AN AREA OF FINLAND CALLED KARELIA
HECK!!!!!!!! IM SORRY EVERYONE
someone tell me to shut up i SHOULD NOT get this Hecked Up about it DOES IT EVEN MATTER???
Hey girl, are you a Shakespearean play? Because you seem hard to date, but it would be awesome if I could.
nae king nae quin we willna be fooled again
*in the dulcet tones of vimeses everywhere* NO MORE KINGS
i guess one of the reasons that bothers me — translating shit into “king” and etc. — is that it means that you’re shoving the history of different cultures and governments and societies into the narrative frame/structure of western europe & how western europe developed. if that makes sense? or it’s like, well, we have to make everything look like western europe shit, otherwise it won’t make sense/it won’t be relevant. and i just think thats a mistake
like, you might not be able to/want to assume that yr readership is going to understand certain terms, but you can explain them p easily p quickly? if scifi writers can use all sorts of terms for shit you can explain what a tsar is p fast.
HISTORY OF LIT EVERYTHING BESIDES POST RENAISSANCE EUROPE IS SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING THAN THE HISTORY OF POST RENAISSANCE EUROPE/POST RENAISSANCE WESTERN WORLD…….
cygnahime replied to your post: the use of “king” in fiction set in li…
What is more appropriate to use? *curious*
DISCLAIMER IM SHIT and don’t speak languages and also am not A Professional but this is an Area of Interest 2 me so —-
In the Byzantine Empire, and really like the Roman Empire, it’s Emperor if you’re translating it into English. “Caesar” being the term used sometimes in Roman Timez, and “Imperator” being a term thats also sometimes used tho that translates to like, “Commander” ?
Some of the early Byzantine emperors had Augustus as an honorific that was part of their name (so like, Constantine is Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus). They styled themselves Imperator or Caesar, except those are Latin and they went w/ the Greek
so Imperator was autokratōr , and Caesar was kaiser (which is getting a lot closer to “king” but still a ways away). I think basically the term that was established All The TIme to mean specifically “emperor of the Byzantine Empire” was Autokratōr. But yeah, the translation of Autokrator or Imperator is defs defs defs “emperor.”
If you’re talking about Medieval Eastern Europe, the word “king” didn’t enter their vocab for a while. And even then, you know, it’s “Tsar,” which mostly people know? as a word? So I feel that in historical fiction you can say “tsar” instead of king. But Tsar, which is derived from “Caesar,” didn’t come into use until the 15th century (and was part of Russia’s attempt to position itself as the successor of the Byzantine Empire/”the third Rome” — so their title is related to Roman/Byz emperors.)
Like, you gotta remember that for both of these Empires — the later Eastern Europe empires/states and the Byzantine Empire — they saw themselves as extensions of the Roman Emperor. So they’re going to borrow Roman terminology and titles as much as possible — especially the Byzantine Empire since that really is sorta the Roman Empire kinda.
Okay but going back earlier to Kievan Rus’ (so 882 - 1283 CE) and Muscovy (1283-1547 CE), the title for the Head Honcho was Grand Prince until you get up to Ivan the Great (who goes for Tsar Ivan III Ruler of all Rus). Actually ok apparently Mikhail Yaroslavich also sometimes styled himself as Tsar? But he was not really. As successful at things as Ivan III.
"Grand Prince" comes from the fact that all the different Rus’ principalities operated a little bit like independent city-states. So Novgorod, Smolensk, Chernigov, Vladimir Suzdal, etc all have their own governments and standing armies and all that nonsense, but the Grand Prince was in charge of all of them. When the throne of Grand Prince was hereditary (it changed sometimes, the way succession worked), the GP would give the cushy principalities to his faves/his oldest sons to rule (Novgorod was The Best so the oldest would get that). I GUESS YOU COULD TRANSLATE IT TO KING??? ITS JUST. irritating, since I feel like that carries different Connotations than Grand Prince, and a different sort of structure & hierarchy, since Princes were not just/not nesc. sons of the GP, but rulers in their own right.
Prior to Kievan Rus’, khagan was probs the most likely term for ruler for yr dude in Eastern Europe. It’s, like, at this point it gets a little sketchy, you know? The Rus’ Khaganate is a sort of Vague Entity that was around in the 9th century? This is the part of Russian history that ppl REALLY don’t bother to cover/there really isn’t tons of evidence for. But Khagan was used in the 9th century for non-kievan rus’ stuff, and was occasionally used to refer to the Grand Princes (tho it wasn’t their formal title). Khagan is, yanno, Turkic, and comes from Khan, which is the Turkish/Mongolian equiv. of Emperor.
Anyway thats sort of an oversimplification? Um, and there’s lots of variation, and when the Mongols are around everything means different things (and I think the transition from “grand prince” to “tsar” is probs linked to Mongol rule, and desire to separate the new Russian state from the old client-state/re-establish the connection w/ the Byzantine & Roman empire) and etc etc etc.
BUT that is my spiel. “King” Idk. IDK. I GUESS ITS A COGNATE IM JUST PICKY!!!
oR “knight” NO THAT.. wasnt a thing… .like ur thinkin of…. im 90% sure that word does not translate like that conTEXTUAlly im gonna look it up in my books and be GRUMPY