Breaking up Borders and Spaces of Confinement in Joanna Russ’s Kittatiny: A Tale of Magic

Isabel Morales Jareño


Joanna Russ (1937-2011) has taken her readers into a world of fantasy with the adventure story Kittatiny: A Tale of Magic (1978). Although it is seemingly a fantasy narration for children and follows the structure of the traditional hero’s tale – separation, initiation, and return – Kittatiny is pervaded with the author’s usual radical feminist and sexual touches, characteristic of a good part of her literary production. The narrative contrasts with Russ’s usual science fiction short stories, novels, novellas, and critical essays because of its resemblance to the fantasy genre. This study highlights the book’s valuable contribution to the literary feminism of the 1970s and analyzes Russ’s treatment of the traditional fantasy literature for children from a feminist perspective. The focus is on Kit’s journey across natural environments, where she can live in her own space of uncertainty without social or emotional rules and is free to live her own experiences without any ties and confinements.

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