martes, 15 de diciembre de 2009

Kissing the Witch (1997) by Emma Donoghue


The re-writing of traditional western fairy tales, also called “revisionist mythmaking,” has been a popular strategy deployed by diverse feminist writers from the 1970s onwards. Significant cases are those of the English Angela Carter, the Canadian Margaret Atwood or the American poets Anne Sexton and Olga Broumas[1]. By revising and deconstructing some of the plots and structures of classical folk tales, these women writers stress the need to re-evaluate the patriarchal and often classist ideology of canonical stories by Charles Perrault, the Grimm Brothers or Hans Christian Andersen. Moving within this literary framework, the dissenting voice of the Irish-Canadian lesbian author Emma Donoghue starts to be heard in the late 1990s with the publication of Kissing the Witch (1997), a collection of thirteen revisionist fairy tales. By using intertextuality and parody as political strategies, Donoghue subverts the often heterosexist ideology of canonical fairy tales, where wickedness and immorality is mostly incarnated in powerful female figures that must ultimately be destroyed. In Kissing the Witch every woman has a voice, the right to speak and a particular story to tell, no matter whether they are rich or poor, queens or servants, beauties or beasts. Significantly, by employing an embedded structure, Donoghue creates a similar effect to that in The Arabian Nights in the sense that while all the tales are tightly connected, they simultaneously offer an incomplete ending. The reader is therefore able to contribute to the act of storytelling by incorporating his or her own interpretation, momentarily enjoying the jouissance of being transformed into an allegorical Scheherazade.

Por: Garcazar.


[1] Sexton’s revolutionary poetry collection Transformations (1971), Carter’s influential short stories in The Bloody Chamber (1979) and Atwood’s revisionist titles like The Handmaid’s Tale (1992) stand as major examples in the tradition of “revisionist mythmaking,” in Alicia Ostriker’s words. The re-writing of traditional fairy tales also flourished in Ireland in the late 80s and 90s with collections like Sweeping Beauties (1989), Ride on Rapunzel: Fairytales for Feminists (1992) and Rapunzel’s Revenge: More Feminist Fairytales (1995), thanks to the publishing house Attic Press.

1 comentario:

Basurero Usurero dijo...

Andersen is like Eric Clapton, God. Good luck.