AFANASIEV, Aleksander Nikolaievich, Russian folklorist and antiquarian: b. Bogu char, government of Voronezh, 11 July 1826; d. 23 Sept. 1871. He received his education in the gymnasium of Voronezh and at the Uni versity of Moscow, where he studied law. At his graduation in 1848 he entered the civil service and took a position in the record-office of the ministry of foreign affairs (1849) and in 1856 became head of the department. He was dismissed in 1862 on the charges of being involved in political affairs. His writings touch upon all sides of Russian-Slavonic tradition. His love for antiquities and mythology shows the indirect influence of Buslayev, who was becoming prominent during Afanasiev's stu dent days. He was more directly influenced by Kavellin and Solovyev whose literary direction he reproduced in his historical treatises, 'State Organization under Peter I,' (Concerning Patrimonial and Country Estates' (both pub lished in the Archives of Hist. and Juridical Studies). While yet a student he contributed to Sovremennik (1849-52), Otechestvennuiya Zapiski (1850-60) and several other publica tions. His most important articles of those
days are 'Ancestor-House Demon' (publ. in the Arch. of Hist.-Judicial Studies conc. Russia, ed. by Kalachev) ; 'Sorcerer and Witch' (publ. in the almanac (Kometa,' ed. by Scheplcin, and as a separate edition, Moscow 1851) ; phic Gods of the Slays' (in Otechestvennuiya Zapiski Nos. 1-3, 1852). From 1858-59 he edited the Bibliographicheskiya Zapiski. His most important works besides those mentioned are: 'Russian Journalism' (in Otechestvennuiya Zapiski 1855; separate edition, Moscow 1859. It is a valuable monograph of century litera ture dealing with journalism for the period of 1769-74) ; 'Russian Popular Legends' (1860) (Russian Folk-Tales' (1860), which is the first scientifically treated collection of Russian fairy tales. In 1866 appeared his 'Poetical Concep tion of Nature of the Slays,' which is the first attempt at a scientific and systematic study of Slavonic mythology. This work shows the influence of Grimm, Kuhn, Schwarz and Max Muller. The general criticism of his work is lack of originality.