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Tricksters and Kelly Ana Morey

May 29, 2012

In her PhD thesis Ann Pistacchi points to a few works on the ‘trickster’ figure which look interesting!

Jeanne Rosier Smith’s Writing Tricksters (1997) 

Jeanne Campbell Reesman’s Trickster Lives (2001)

Ricki Stefanie Tannen’s The Female Trickster: The Mask that Reveals (2007)

Pistacchi explains: “I had long been familiar with the traditional trickster figures of global folklore – figures such as Monkey, Coyote, Hermes, Maui and Br’er Rabbit – but the works of Smith, Reesman and Tannen helped me to recontextualize these traditional mythologies in a post-modern and specifically female/feminist context. As Jeanne Rosier Smith writes:

Tricksters challenge the status quo and disrupt perceived boundaries. Whether foolishly, arrogantly, or bravely, tricksters face the monstrous, transforming the chaotic to create new worlds and new cultures. In doing so, they offer appealing strategies to women writers of color who, historically subjugated because of both their race and their sex, often combine a feminist concern for challenging patriarchy with a cultural interest in breaking racial stereotypes and exploring a mixed cultural heritage.’ (2).” (Pistacchi, 22-23)

Pistacchi’s interest in this figure was provoked by Kelly Ana Morey; “It is virtually impossible,” Pistacchi writes, “after meeting Kelly Ana Morey the author, or the characters in her many texts, not to recall trickster characteristics. Both in her life and in her novels, Morey incorporates trickster antics to explore and explode notions of sexual, cultural and gender identity.” (23)

NB It made me think of schlemiels in Jewish storytelling traditions too… 

Ref: (emphases in bold green, mine) Ann Katherine Pistacchi (2009) Spiralling Subversions: The Politics of Maori Cultural Survivance in the Recent Critical Fictions of Patricia Grace, Paula Morris, and Kelly Ana Morey. PhD thesis, University of Auckland: Auckland. (freely available online)

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