Releasing the Creative Self in Transcultural Neo-Tales. Baba Yaga in Jane Yolen’s “Finding Baba Yaga” and Lana Hechtman Ayers’ “Red Riding Hood's Real Life”

Henrieke Stahl


This article deals with two American (US) ‘novels in poems,’ both of which draw on Russian and East Slavic fairy tale motifs. In them, the witch Baba Yaga is reinterpreted, on the one hand, as an initiator into female self-liberation and self-realisation and, on the other, as a catalyst for the release of creativity. Through Baba Yaga, the protagonists discover and develop an autonomous self that derives its strength from the aesthetic act, whereby art resp. poetry and autonomy are shown to coincide. Meanwhile, femininity stands for the human soul, freed from the structural constraints imposed by the masculine principle of logos. The figure of Baba Yaga is thus chosen simultaneously and very likely independently by both authors as an archetype for the soul’s discovery of its own autonomy in aesthetic (self-)creation, while the genre of the ‘novel in poems’ itself reflects this motif of formal self-constitution.


verse novel, novel in poems, Baba Yaga, creative self

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Internetsources: (2019/07/13). (2019/07/13)



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