Georgia through Earth, Fire, Air and Water
Despite being located on the extreme eastern boundary of Europe, and having been frequently conquered by invading people from Asia, including Arabs, Turks, Persians, Mongols, and more recently Russians, Georgians still regard themselves very much as Europeans and it is to becoming a future member state of the EU that the majority of the people now aspire. As for the traditional folk-tales from the region, one of their main characteristics is that they are packed with action: Whilst a written, “literary” novel or short story might devote paragraphs to descriptions of people or places, these tales usually settle for an adjective or two; “a thick impassable forest”, “a handsome stately man”, or a formula such as“not-seen-beneath-the-sun beauty”. Many of the heroes and heroines do not even have names (Hunt, 1999, p.8) Safely cocooned, or so we like to kid ourselves, in our sanitised western urban environment, we tend to take the elements for granted. However, tales from a time when the Earth was new help to jolt us out of our daily lethargy, as do the stories in this collection – a number of which have never been translated from Georgian direct into English before.
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