Dubravka Ugrešić’s novel ‘Baba Yaga Laid an Egg’ teaches us about the mythological legacy of ageism in contemporary society

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More than a decade after its publishing, Dubravka Ugrešić’s book is still relevant: Baba Yaga Laid an Egg (2007) criticises how we reduce humans — and in particular women — to their bodies… and age.

“In the absence of all ideologies, the only refuge that remains for the human imagination is the body.”[1]

In Baba Yaga Laid an Egg, the mythological being from Slavonic folklore — Baba Yaga, a hag — comes to life in the form of contemporary women; older ones, whose age and gender automatically push them to the margins of our youth-obsessed, patriarchal society.

Aging, dying, and…


“Killing the Angel in the House [is] part of the occupation of a woman writer.”

Toxic masculinity and ghosts go together brilliantly. Take The Shining as a… well, a shining example. But we are not here to talk about famous creations brought to life by male geniuses like King or Kubrick. Instead, we want to highlight the less recognised ones — the angels in the house, as Charles Dickens would say, to which Virginia Woolf would retort: “Killing the Angel in the House [is] part of the occupation of a woman writer.”[1]

It’s the female writers who tell of the quiet, often overlooked lives of women confined inside the four walls of their domestic sphere…


Reviving the Idea of Maternal Finitude

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‘The definition of motherhood in our culture is one in which the mother sacrifices herself to the child. She sacrifices her self,’[1] argues Susan Griffin in ‘Feminism and Motherhood’, an essay she originally published in the 1970s. Like many of her influential contemporaries, such as Julia Kristeva, Hélène Cixous, or Adrienne Rich, Griffin is interested in the idea of ‘maternal finitude’[2], which subverts the traditional ‘belief that she [the mother] could satisfy our desires if she really wanted to[3].

“The murderous alternation between bitter resentment and raw-edged nerves, and blissful gratification and tenderness.”

Although motherhood implies ‘a space shared with…


Alice Munro defies the ideal of female domesticity

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‘I am not sure now whether I love any place, and […] it seems to me it was myself that I loved here — some self that I have finished with, and none too soon,’[1] contemplates Alice Munro’s protagonist of ‘Home’ when she returns to the house of her childhood. Despite what the title might suggest, Munro’s ‘Home’ is a ‘narrative of a haunted self, a story of loss, longing, and dread’[2], in which the narrator envisions her future domestic self trapped back in her hometown ‘like one of those […] captives — nearly useless, celibate, rusting — who should…


Seven practical steps by a Creative Writing MA student

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You’re getting up past noon, eating canned beans three times a day, and playing videogames way past a reasonable bedtime. Most importantly, you’re not getting any writing done. It’s a block, a rut, a hibernation, or whatever you want to call this dark period of uncertain length that strikes unexpectedly and at the least convenient of times to suck every ounce of inspiration out of you. There’s nothing you can do but sit at your desk and wait for the stars to align, the skies to open, and a golden ray of creative energy to touch your face. …


Gender Posing in Deborah Turbeville’s 1975 Vogue Editorial

Turbeville, Deborah. Vogue US May 1975. 2. / Source

In 1975, Deborah Turbeville’s fashion editorial “There’s More to a Bathing Suit Than Meets the Eye”, or “Bathhouse” for short, appeared in the American Vogue, marking her breakthrough. Two years later, The New York Times described the rising star as

the only American photographer in the triumvirate that has changed the direction of selling clothes from pleasant images to eeriness, shock and alienation. The other two are men who live in France, Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton. Her work is more romantic than that of her male colleagues, who have been described as producing erotic fantasies that flirt with danger…


Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

As another year ends
we find ourselves
in a numb post-coital phase;
with Christmas behind us
December’s purpose, too, turns into nothing
but freezing air and foggy breaths
we don’t quite know
what to do with.

Soon we rush into the upcoming
suicidal season; ins Loch fallen
as we say in German and what I do to prevent
myself
from falling into one of those black holes
is cooking everything that moves:
a duck is the best since it used to fly, untamed.

While I roughly stuff the bird with grated apples and smear its stripped back with honey, I…


Writers should not serve their readers as a moral compass

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Due to popular demand (a huge thank you to everyone who responded to my story on trigger warnings, regardless on which platform), I will now continue the conversation I started two weeks ago on the increasing oversensitivity to controversial literary works.

Let’s begin with another classroom anecdote (I currently study Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham): during a heated debate on (in)appropriate literature, someone recalled having to read about women being mistreated, raped, and murdered in every single text assigned as part of a dystopian fiction module. …


An individually universal experiment

(ex-pe-ri-men-tal [1] wri-ting [2])[3]

[4]

[5], [6], [7], [8]

potion
sassy mind
solar arm
matcha sole [9], [10]

/ɛkˌspɛrɪˈmɛnt(ə)l ˈrʌɪtɪŋ/ [11]

an unfledged thought,
simmering, complete
in its in com ple tion. [12]

experiment = complete in its incompletion [13]

/ -t(ə)l/ [14]

[1] Lexico says: “based on untested ideas or techniques and not yet established or finalized” OR “relating to scientific experiments” OR “involving a radically new and innovative style” OR “based on experience as opposed to authority or conjecture (archaic)”

[2] Lexico says: “the activity or skill of writing” OR “the activity or occupation of composing text for publication”


Censorship in lit is near

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When I have moved to Nottingham this September to attend the Creative Writing MA course, I have begun learning not just about writing but also about a different culture. While it would be farfetched to say that I experienced a culture shock — after all, Switzerland, as most of Europe, has been properly globalized and, yes, westernized after the Anglo-American tradition — there was something I found extremely difficult to digest.

Two months later, the omnipresent political correctness continues to baffle me.

This bafflement overgrew into outright frustration when, a few weeks ago, a discussion about trigger warnings erupted in…

Denisa Vitova

Creative Writing student in Nottingham. Published by The London Magazine, Ambit, Firewords, Poetry Society, The Moth, Acumen, etc. On Twitter as @VitovaDenisa

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