Keywords: Russian folklore, synonymous pairs, charms, epics, verbal magic, Russian dialects.
For citation:

Agapkina T.A. Blagovernaia Tsaritsa Khitra Byla Mudra: on One Synonymous Pair in the Russian Folklore. Studia Litterarum, 2020, vol. 5, no 2, pp. 336–389. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2020-5-2-336-389

Author: Т.A. Agapkina
Information about the author:

Tatyana A. Agapkina, DSc in Philology, Leading Research Fellow, Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 32 a, Leninsky Ave., 119991 Moscow, Russia.

E‑mail: agapi‑This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: February 17, 2020
Published: June 25, 2020
Issue: 2020 Vol. 5, №2
Department: Folklore Studies
Pages: 336-389
DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2020-5-2-336-389
UDK: 398
BBK: 82.3


The article is devoted to the study of synonymous pairs that are deviations from the words khitr-/mudr- (sly/wise) such as khitryi-mudryi, khiter-muder, khitrost’-mudrost’ etc., and a compound word khitromudryi in the Russian folklore. The essay analyzes those genres where these pairs are most widely represented: charms, folk epics, lamentations, wedding and lyrical songs as well as fairy tales. The author examines folklore contexts in which the synonymous pair khitryi-mudryi and the same-root pairs form a cycle of regular meanings; also, it focuses on what or who are regularly called khitrosti-mudrosti and khitryi-mudryi in different genres; which thematic fields these paired constructions are included in; their meanings and specificity of functioning within certain genres, etc. The article argues that most of the meanings implied by this synonymous pair relate to specific knowledge — whether it is wizardry, changelings, military affairs, professional skills, or skilful mastery of a craft. The authors suggests that this general meaning that generated specific meaning, e.g. “associated with secret knowledge, witchcraft, and wizardry” that has eventually become dominant. This meaning discloses itself in the dialect speech of different regions of the European Russia, especially widely represented in the Russian North and the adjacent territories of the North-West and North-East.


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