Azadovskii, Mark Konstantinovich (1888– 1945) Russian folklorist whose expeditions in 1913–1915 took him to the Amur and Lena Rivers in Siberia, where he gathered materials on folk narratives from the local peasants. He is best known for his collection of tales told by Natalia Osipovna Vinokurova, which he published and also described in a 1926 German publication called Eine sibirische Märchenerzählerin. This study of a Siberian tale teller has been repeatedly praised by folktale scholars as a pioneering and exemplary work. Azadovskii saw storytelling as a complex act that cannot be fully appreciated on the basis of the study of written records or “texts” of orally transmitted tales. He viewed tales as expressive manifestations of the personalities of the communicators and the surroundings within which the narrators learn and continue to practice their art. He speaks of determining “those formative forces which govern the generation of a folktale,” and discovering the underlying “artistic purpose” of storytelling. Thus, for him the study of narrative traditions was “inseparably bound up with the study of the creative individuality of the narrator.” To demonstrate his ideas, Azadovskii focused on the tales told to him by his primary informant, N. O. Vinokurova. Later he became particularly interested in the interrelations between oral and written traditions. Unfortunately, his work remains largely unknown outside the Russian-speaking world.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow – Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante