Thursday, February 20, 2014

Joanna Russ

The other day I was just telling someone an excellent collection of essays called Magic Mommas, Trembling Sisters, Puritans, and Perverts by the lesbian-feminist science fiction writer Joanna Russ. Yesterday, before my Contemporary Feminist Thought class, I looked up Joanna Russ in the Bizzell Library catalog, hoping the book would be available. I thought it would be a great counterpoint to the Helene Cixous essay we were going to be discussing. (Cixous says some interesting things, but seems to have a penchant for academic jargon and sweeping generalizations, both of which Russ manages to do without.)

Anyway, when I did the catalog search on Joanna Russ, I discovered that the library has 10 books by Joanna Russ (but not the one that I was looking for). And because the catalog listing referred to "Russ, Joanna, 1937-2011," I realized for the first time that Joanna Russ is dead. Darn it. I'd always wanted to meet her.

Maybe I should pay more attention to mainstream news -- she had an obituary in the New York Times.

This essay by Brit Mandelo on is also well worth reading. It's part of Mandelo's series on Reading Joanna Russ.