Libmonster ID: U.S.-1374
Author(s) of the publication: M. V. NIKOLAEVA


Candidate of Philological Sciences

Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Keywords: Algeria, history, fairy tales, folklore, literary processing, international competition of illustrations

In 2015, a unique publication was published, completing a bright series of professional studies of the Maghreb peoples by scientists of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.1 "Fairy tales of Algeria in children's drawings" 2 is the last jewel in the necklace of these scientific works, which allows not only the scientific community, but also ordinary readers of different ages to see scientific materials, historical facts, ancient and modern folklore texts in their literary processing and extremely picturesque and direct illustrations in a completely new way!

This book is the first in the series of the cultural project "Fairy Tales of the peoples of Russia and the world through the eyes of children". The project was implemented as part of the first International competition of illustrations under the auspices of the Center for Patriotic Education of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and its head - Rector of MGIMO (U) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia A.V. Torkunov, as well as the Association of Russian Diplomats and the Union of Teachers and Artists.

In his welcoming speech, Mikhail Bogdanov, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, noted that the contest of illustrations and the publication of this publication were held at the junction of two significant events: the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Algerian Revolution of 1954 and the Year of Literature in Russia.

The publication makes a unique and vivid contribution to the further strengthening of relations between Russia and Algeria, which are based on a solid foundation of common spiritual values shared by our peoples, which are clearly reflected in folk tales.

Like the folklore monuments of other countries and peoples, folk tales of Algeria form the historical heritage of the nation. They contain information accumulated over the centuries about its existence, raising deep philosophical questions of understanding the world, familiarizing with universal values, highlighting the problems of good and evil, and giving practical examples of solving complex life vicissitudes. This is how Mr. Smail Allaoua, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria to Russia, described this new meeting of Algerian culture with Russia in his greeting to the readers.

Many kind words about Algeria and its cultural traditions are said in the preface of the compiler and narrator of these magical stories-

page 71

"The Jackal and the Sheep", Anastasia Kunitsina, 13 years old, Zernograd, Rostov region.

"The Jackal and the Sheep", Oksana Grishkevich, 10 years old, Moscow.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation, Deputy Chairman of the Association of Russian Diplomats, member of the Writers ' Union of Russia Valery Yegoshkin. This poetically enthusiastic view of the Russian diplomat is so different from the academic articles of scientists or speeches of official officials!

In an appeal to children and all readers of this publication, the translator tells about the simple and beautiful phenomena of everyday life in Algeria, about everyday and historical realities that penetrate the very fabric of folklore narratives. Before us are the sandy shores of the Mediterranean Sea with unknown fish and monsters in its depths, coniferous forests and thickets of aloe, interspersed with orchards and vineyards.

Further south are the snow-capped peaks of the Atlas Mountains, where flocks of sheep and goats graze among the olive trees, and the plateaus are yellow with wheat and barley ears. There, djinn and evil robbers hide their treasures in caves, and eagles and a huge Roc bird build their nests in the crevices of rocks...

And finally, here is the Sahara, the greatest mysterious desert. Its mirages invite you to go to ancient cities covered with sand and deep wells on caravan trails, to oases shaded by date palms that give brave desert dwellers shelter and shade, food and clothing, dishes and tools, fabrics for tents and camel harnesses...

The book contains samples of fairy tales from all over Algeria-from the mountaineers of Kabylia, the Tuaregs of southern Sahara, the Arabs of the oases, and the inhabitants of the ancient cities of Constantina and Tlemcen. Many fairy tales reproduce the motifs of the tales of sedentary inhabitants of neighboring African countries-Morocco, Tunisia, Niger. They were recorded by an enthusiastic diplomat 30-40 years ago. Fairy tales were found in the collections of Moscow libraries, in old Algerian newspapers and magazines, and even in educational texts of the Algerian dialect... This is the first time that fairy tales are published in this format, although many Algerians and Africans know them from childhood-from the stories of their grandparents.

The traditional folklore motifs of these monuments of folk art fit into the context of field studies of cultural anthropology of the Maghreb peoples, the materials of which became known thanks to the works of Doctor of Philology S. V. Prozhogina. It is natural that Svetlana Viktorovna, as an expert, was a member of the jury of the 1st International Competition, which selected winners from different countries, whose drawings became illustrations for fairy tales. The chairman of the competition jury-People's Artist of the USSR Alexander Shilov-guarantees the highest artistic level of the competition.

The contest was supported by the Russian Writers ' Union and the Main Production and Commercial Department for Servicing the Diplomatic Corps under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The contest partners are

"Dzheha and three important travelers", Ksenia Glavatskikh, 14 years old, Glazov, Udmurt Republic.

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"The Silly donkey sang", Anastasia Rodicheva, 12 years old, Tomsk.

"Khitry Dzhekha", Diana Sakantseva, 15 years old, Nevyansk, Sverdlovsk region.

Embassy of the Republic of Moldova in Russia, Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Civil Initiatives, MGIMO - University represented by its Vice-Rector for Social and Educational Work I. A. Loginov.

1462 works from 5 countries (Russia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Tunisia, Turkey) and 135 creative groups from 53 regions of Russia were presented to the jury. 246 works were selected for the final stage, and the catalog is presented at the end of this book. The criteria for evaluating the contestants ' works were a creative approach to the disclosure of the topic, independence and depth of the idea, artistic execution and careful reproduction of the realities of national life, details of costumes, traditions, wildlife and natural landscapes. The selected works served as illustrations to folklore texts.

The printing quality of the book is very high. This was made possible thanks to the sponsor-a chain of children's clothing stores Beba Kids.

The unusual and strange world of ideas that nomadic tribes and sedentary inhabitants of oases, mountain slopes and ancient cities of North Africa live in today blurs the boundaries between the possible and the impossible, between the past and the future. The inhabitants of the desert still believe that the world is ruled by jinn - evil and good spirits.

Like the nomad movement, children's creativity helps modern readers who are unaccustomed to the mysteries of legends and fairy tales in the concrete labyrinths of megacities to overcome the boundaries of conventions, opens them to new meanings and horizons, sometimes truly magical.

1 Anthology of Berber Literature (vols. I-IV: Kabyles of Algeria). Moscow, IV RAS, 2001, 871 p.; Anthology of Berber literature (vols. V-VI: Morocco (Rif). Moscow, IV RAS, 2005. Vol. V-289 p., vol. VI-321 p.; Tuareg. Kul'turnaya antropologiya i obrazmy fol'klora tuaregov [Cultural Anthropology and samples of Tuareg folklore].

2 Fairy Tales of Algeria (comp. by V. E. Egoshkin). Moscow, Dignity, 2015. (2015. Skazki Alzhira. М., Dostoinstvo) (in Russian)



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M. V. NIKOLAEVA, MAGICAL TALES OF ALGERIA THROUGH THE EYES OF CHILDREN AND SCIENTISTS // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 04.02.2024. URL: (date of access: 02.03.2024).

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