Project Limitations

As this project was created under a time limit for a class in Pitt's Digital Humanities, we were limited to only a small selection of the full collection of Afanasyev's forbidden tales. Our findings, therefore, only reflect the small set of data that we collected rather than the full tale corpus. Some taboo categories had a very limited number of word/phrase incidence, but were nevertheless significant enough to include in our general statistics.

Emerging Trends

Some trends that we anticipate to continue as we add tales for analysis are the following: taboo categories that are more likely used to suspend social norms (in the style of carnivale) are translated directly with little censorship. The most highly-censored categories of beastiality, sexual vulgarity, and genitalia may have been altered most significantly because they were greatly stigmatized in American society.


While the category of beastiality has a censorship value of 3, incest is directly translated when it occurs in our dataset. As both categories deal with the subject matter of taboo sex acts, we anticipated that both categories would be dealth with in a similar way by the translator. There are two reasons that this difference in censorship occurred:

1. Because the data set is so small, it isn't sufficient for an accurate portrayal of how these categories are dealt with in the tales.

2. While the one incidence of beastiality that we found (in the tale Волшебное кольцо) is not central to the plot, the incestual element plays a more significant role in the plot, and may not have been as easy to be rid of as a result.

The Bigger Picture

As we suspected, the more vulgar a phrase or act in the original tale, the less likely it was to make the cut in Legman's version.Though we originally noticed a higher degree of censorship of female as opposed to male genitalia, the average censorship values eventually balanced out. However, there was a surprisingly high incidence of male versus female genitalia in the tales to begin with (a whopping 68 instances of the word хуй in the six tales we looked at!), which might be skewing the results. Though we noticed isolated instances that indicate a gender gap in regards to direct translation of female genitalia or excrement words/phrases, the data remains too limited to support this hypothesis.