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Writing Baba Yaga into the Tasmanian Bush


Wood, D, Writing Baba Yaga into the Tasmanian Bush, Marvels and Tales, 33, (1) pp. 157-164. ISSN 1521-4281 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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Published and copyright by Wayne State University Press.

DOI: doi:10.13110/marvelstales.33.1.0157


Works of fiction come into being through mysterious routes of knowing. It’s not at all unusual to hear a writer report that a story ‘came to them,’ as if stories were not things invented by writers, but pre-existing entities floating in the ether. Elizabeth Gilbert is far from alone in her insistence that "ideas are a disembodied, energetic life form," and that they "spend eternity swirling around us, searching for available and willing human partners" (35).

A few years ago, I was visited in this mysterious way by the idea that I should write about a woman who lived in the Tasmanian bush in a small, timber hut, high on a hillside. It seemed that instantly I knew the following things: the woman rescued and nurtured marsupial creatures that were orphaned when their mothers were killed on the roads; there lived beneath the floorboards of her home a Tasmanian devil; the woman was ageing, or perhaps ageless; and that she was a literary relative to Baba Yaga, the Slavic witch-crone of European fairy tale tradition. This last piece of knowledge might have meant that I was being invited to perform a fairy-tale retelling, but because Baba Yaga (unlike most other fairy tale characters) appears in a number of different tales, it was perhaps less of an invitation to retell a tale, than to relocate a character and see what she would do in new surroundings.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:fairy tales, Baba Yaga, Tasmanian devil, literature of Tasmania
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Literary studies
Research Field:Australian literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature)
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:Literature
UTAS Author:Wood, D (Dr Danielle Wood)
ID Code:135011
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2019-09-19
Last Modified:2020-07-27
Downloads:14 View Download Statistics

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