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Writing Baba Yaga into the Tasmanian Bush

Wood, D ORCID: 0000-0002-2604-7718 2019 , 'Writing Baba Yaga into the Tasmanian Bush' , Marvels and Tales, vol. 33, no. 1 , pp. 157-164 , doi:

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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 Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Wood, D
Keywords: fairy tales, Baba Yaga, Tasmanian devil, literature of Tasmania
Journal or Publication Title: Marvels and Tales
Publisher: Wayne State University Press
ISSN: 1521-4281
DOI / ID Number:
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Published and copyright by Wayne State University Press.

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