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On the Banks of the Yaryn

A Demonological Novel


Valentina Brougher

On the Banks of the Yaryn by Aleksandr Kondratiev was published in Berlin in 1930, but only appeared in Russia in 1993 as the country reclaimed some of its forgotten talents. This remarkable novel represents one of the finest examples of the interest in Slavic folklore that profoundly influenced Russian literature in the first decades of the twentieth century. Kondratiev’s work brings to life popular demonic spirits of water, field, and forest by portraying their physical environment, emotional life, and interaction with the human world. The novel also depicts the life of magic healers, sorceresses, and witches who live among village folk but engage in practices that make them part of the dark world. The inclusion of pagan gods, folk beliefs and narratives, magical rituals, celebrations, and holidays that reflect pre-Christian and Christian traditions enhances the folkloric richness of Kondratiev’s highly engaging narrative.