Friday, April 29, 2011

RIP: Joanna Russ


I can't add too much to the fine encomium that Todd wrote; I'll just say that bringing The Female Man to a bunch of students at UHD, while definitely a challenge, offered a real eye-opening (and mind-expanding) experience to them as well. I've been talking about Russ a lot lately with folks in the romance field, but it seems she doesn't have the same cachet with the spec fic audience that other elder statesmen have. Just too hard to pigeon-hole. For that I have always admired her: a true iconoclast. If you haven't read her, do. I highly recommend How to Suppress Women's Writing as well. As I have spent my afternoon with some particularly awful academic writing, I appreciate once again Russ's clear-sighted ability to convey complex ideas with verve and style. She refused to be anything but herself in every way: a very out lesbian and an unapologetic feminist. Raise a glass to her name: more importantly, take her books off the shelf, read them and talk about them.

Update: The Locus obit (thanks, Todd).

8 comments:

Todd Mason said...

And one could've wished the Feminist Press had hired a non-amateur artist for their edition of that novel.

K. A. Laity said...

I used the Beacon edition and liked that cover. It must be in my office as it's not here, although Magic Mommas is.

Todd Mason said...

And thank you, for sending along the interview link, and the kind word for my impulsive appreciation.

I think you'll find that there is a deep vein of folks who love her work...even a few who didn't care much for nonfiction loved her fiction.

She was always challenging readers to think, and writing indeed with admirable clarity.

Todd Mason said...

Ah, yes, the Beacon, pardon. That cover has always struck me as the least of the covers the novel has had, but it is solidly in at least one of the comix traditions.

The first Bantam cover struck me as sly.

Todd Mason said...

I stand corrected, again...the new Gollancz cover is very ugly, indeed. But at least it's in print in mass-market...in Britain.

K. A. Laity said...

I like the Beacon cover.

Todd Mason said...

And the Beacon cover is at least more relevant than the current US edition cover.

The Women's Press (UK) wasn't too shabby.

Todd Mason said...

In the students responses to THE FEMALE MAN, were there any that struck you as particularly telling or memorable?