were-wolf and vampire in romaniaby harry a. senn

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  • American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages

    Were-Wolf and Vampire in Romania by Harry A. SennReview by: Jan L. PerkowskiThe Slavic and East European Journal, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Spring, 1983), pp. 126-127Published by: American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European LanguagesStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/307267 .Accessed: 18/06/2014 14:16

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  • 126 Slavic and East European Journal

    his wife, they are not hers. She is mentioned by him in a brief introduction for work in painting analogous to his own zaum' writing, and this seems to be the basis for the common assumption. Yet such a statement could and ought, I think, to be taken only as a tribute to her influence on his own collage work. He himself was known to be skillful with a pair of scissors and a pot of glue.

    All of this is not meant as more than a mild criticism of a few points in the catalogues; rather it is an indication of how necessary it is to appreciate the close relationships and intertwinings of literature and the visual arts in this period and their implications not only for the history of art, but also for the history of literature. The catalogues themselves stand as monuments to Costakis and the Russian Avant-garde, and as documents of what a great collector can do for art.

    Gerald Jan?eek, Uniiersity of 'Ken tuck

    Harry A. Senn. Were-Wolf anrd Vampire in Romania. (East European Monographs, Boulder) New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1982. 148 pp. $17.50.

    Mr. Senn offers us a rare treat-new data on Romanian were-wolves and vampires. During his field trips to Romania in 1975 and again in 1977 he interviewed more than a hundred informants in half as many villages. He presents his corpus in six appendices which follow 77 pages of background and analysis. The field data is presented in English translation without the original Romanian. The predominant genre is the short tale, but there is also an array of belief structure statements.

    In his Introduction Mr. Senn rehearses the confusion of earlier scholars in their lack of definition, comparison out of context, and citation of unreliable sources. The succubus is confused with the vampire and there is an agglomeration of similar elements removed from their contexts in differing cultures.

    The six chapters which follow are loosely linked and read more like a series of separate papers. Chapter I is a sample potpourri of Romanian beliefs gleaned from the field data. There is no clear distinction made between individual beliefs and customs with those imbedded in tales. This is a distinction clearly drawn by Roman Jakobson several decades ago. In his conclusion to this chapter on dragons. witches, were-wolves, and vampires, Mr. Senn only hints at the cultural (as opposed to sociological) role of these supernatural beings. One wonders whether they do not also play a pseudo-scientific or perhaps a psychological role. How well do these belief structures withstand the intro- duction of electronic communication, modern medicine, mortuaries, etc.?

    Chapters II and III are an interesting and enlightening sociological analysis of the Romanian were-wolf. Of special interest is the assertion that when the early (Indo-) Europeans shifted from hunters to farmers the wolf became a ferocious opponent and was no longer a model for the hunt and battle. Of equal interest is the etymology of pricolici from 'irper' (turned in) and 'liciu' (wolf). Several details, however, are slightly amiss such as the following translation from Herz's German: (Chapter II, page 16) "Slovenish vrag, wrog.

    Chapter IV deals with the historical Vlad-Dracula. Again there are a few misleading details. On page 44 Mr. Senn states that "The legends that carried Dracula's fame and infamy East and West are found in two manuscripts." He does not, however, go on to mention the Dracula booklet incunabula which had a much broader distribution and

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  • Reviews 127

    greater impact. In fact it was one of these booklets which Bram Stoker read in the British Museum Library before writing his novel Dracula.

    In Chapter V Mr. Senn presents the general framework of Romanian supernatural belief structure. On page 62 he concludes that "The function of Romanian folk mythology is, therefore, to mark clearly the limits of human society and to provide the means to identify and protect against unforeseen incursions from the animal and chthonic real- ism." I certainly agree with this, but suspect that this sociological balance functions on a village to village basis, not an ethnic or national one. Then there is also the question of the psychological function of these supernatural creatures.

    This is a good book. It is provocative and it provides interesting new data, but I do not agree with all of it. Mr. Senn has spread before us a banquet of new data.

    Jan L. Perhowski. University of Virginia

    Roman Jakobson. Selected Writings III: Poetry of d G miar and Grammnar ofPoetry. Ed. and preface Stephen Rudy. The Hague: Mouton, 1981. 814 pp.

    This volume, the last to come out in the lifetime of the author, is a counterpart to SW V: On Verse, Its Masters and Explorers, dated two years earlier. SW V collected Jakobson's works on the poetics from, for the most part, the 1920's and 1930's, whereas it is his studies in poetics from the 1960's and 1970's that comprise the prevailing contents of SW III. Though the volume under consideration also contains a few papers from earlier periods, its main effect consists precisely in collecting for the first time in its entirety and under one cover the vast body of Jakobson's later writings on poetics, which was initiated by his famous general theoretical statements of the early 1960's.

    The volume is divided into five parts. "Part One: Principles" begins with a 1928 manifesto written jointly with Ju. Tynjanov, "Problems in the Study of Language and Literature." It states principles which governed Jakobson's subsequent work: the unity of literary and linguistic studies; the necessity for literary studies to become a strict science of immanent laws (cf. Husserl's approach to philosophy); the primacy of a systemic, structural, and functional point of view; the importance of the distinction between langue and parole (d la Saussure), and the unity of synchrony and diachrony (contra Saussure); the existence of a limited series of structural types and, correspondingly, of types of structural evolution; the correlation between literary and other historical series; and, finally, the significance of the notion of the dominant for the understanding of every system as a hierarchical functional formation and of the evolution of such systems. Although Jakobson had never betrayed these principles of his earlier writings, this rich three-page manifesto stresses the difference between the two main periods of Jakobson's poetics: that of thought in expansion and that of thought in defense.

    The pivotal definition of the poetic (or aesthetic) function as "the set (ustanouka, Einstellung) toward the verbal expression" had been suggested by Jakobson as early as 1921 (SW V:305) and was reformulated slightly in the 1958-60 paper "Linguistics and Poetics" as the set "toward the MESSAGE as such" (SW III:25). The latter article, however, put the notion of poetic function in the context of a six-function and, accordingly, six-factor conception of language, which is a major contribution to the general theory of language. One of the cornerstones of Jakobson's poetics is that it must be regarded as a part of linguistics, which in turn presupposes an extended view of the science of language

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    Article Contentsp. 126p. 127

    Issue Table of ContentsThe Slavic and East European Journal, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Spring, 1983), pp. i-iv+1-135Front Matter [pp. i-ii]Letter from the Editor [pp. iii-iv]The Sound and Theme in the Prose of A. S. Pukin: A Logo-Semantic Study of Paronomasia[pp. 1-18]The Chronology of F. M. Dostoevskij's The Possessed [pp. 19-46]Alea Karamazov's Epiphany: A Reading of "Cana of Galilee"[pp. 47-56]The Beast behind the Bath-House: "Belaja Sobaka" as a Microcosm of Sologub's Universe [pp. 57-67]The Nietzschean Image of the Poet in Some Early Works of Konstantin Bal'mont and Valerij Brjusov [pp. 68-80]Belyj Subtexts in Pil'njak's Golyj God [pp. 81-90]Sokolov's A School for Fools: An Escape from Socialist Realism [pp. 91-97]ReviewsRevie