“Oh, What a Witch!” Witch Cycles from Goddess to Villain to Persistent Hero

Mary Magoulick (Georgia College)

Many contemporary writers create witches who demonstrate agency and resilience in defiance of deep-rooted patriarchal prejudices against women, especially powerful ones. Ursula K. Le Guin’s Tehanu (1990), Alix E. Harrow’s Once and Future Witches (2020), and Madeline Miller’s Circe (2018), offer characters in punishing patriarchal worlds who access powers and deeply rooted communities (sometimes cryptic) that help them. These speculative fiction characters, like many witches throughout history, are often uprooted or rootless, suffer greatly (even apocalyptically), but nevertheless find or make ways via will, words, and hard work to fight back, persist, and stand as heroes we can admire.

Part of 03-13 "Novel" Approaches to Interpreting Folklore in Literature, Thursday, November 02, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm