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7 November 1985
Monuments and Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form 
by Marina Warner.
Weidenfeld, 417 pp., £16.95, October 1985, 0 297 78408 0
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... than stimulating. In undertaking to explain why we respond as we do to the female form in art, Marina Warner puts herself in a slightly absurd position, from which, however, both her scholarship and her sense of humour enable her to emerge triumphantly. She can at times sound a bit glib and didactic, quoting from Adrian Stokes and Hélène Cixous, and ...

Fear of Rabid Dogs

Margaret Anne Doody

18 August 1994
Managing Monsters: Six Myths of Our Time 
by Marina Warner.
Vintage, 104 pp., £4.99, April 1994, 0 09 943361 3
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... that it tells itself. In Managing Monsters: Six Myths of Our Time, the Reith Lectures of 1994, Marina Warner takes up some of our stories and the ways in which we manage them. Her use of the word ‘myth’ is deliberately all-encompassing, taking in the varieties of meaning now attached to the word; and her ‘myths’ include, but are not limited ...

Sea Changes

Patrick Parrinder

27 February 1992
Indigo, or Mapping the Waters 
by Marina Warner.
Chatto, 402 pp., £14.99, February 1992, 9780701135317
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Shakespeare’s Caliban: A Cultural History 
by Alden Vaughan and Virginia Mason Vaughan.
Cambridge, 290 pp., £35, January 1992, 0 521 40305 7
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... Indies began with the occupation of Barbados in 1605, six years before The Tempest was written. Marina Warner’s magnificent new novel portrays an imaginary Caribbean island both at the time of first contact with the British early in the 17th century, and in the post-colonial period of the last twenty years. The title, Indigo, denotes the native ...

In Hell

Marina Warner: Wat Phai Rong Wua

13 September 2012
... In 1975 Benedict Anderson first visited the extensive monastery of Wat Phai Rong Wua, one of dozens in central Thailand; he returned in the 1990s and again a few years ago. Any wat is an imagined community, and this one, a Buddhist Disneyland, presents a special case for Anderson, whose curious book, The Fate of Rural Hell: Asceticism and Desire in Buddhist Thailand, enlivened with startlingly brash photographic evidence, is about currents in the national imagination, about modernity and about forms of religious practice (Seagull, £6 ...

Death in Plain Sight

Marina Warner: Emily Davison, Modern Martyr

4 July 2013
... Marina Warner explores Emily Davison’s legacy as the suffragettes’ first martyr in a talk given at the inaugural Wilding Festival at St George’s Bloomsbury, where Davison’s memorial service was held.1 Emily Wilding Davison was born in 1872 in a substantial house in Greenwich, the middle daughter of her speculator father’s second marriage ...

At Camden Arts Centre

Marina Warner: Kara Walker

5 December 2013
... Silhouettes are polite, a parlour art, practised in gemütlich Vienna and Berlin among families who also formed quartets and played the piano; they were often made by the same accomplished daughter who would perform at home for a soirée. The art’s antecedents are Asian: an Egyptian shadow puppet, dating back millennia, featured recently in the British Museum exhibition about the Arabian horse, and in Indonesia and India puppeteers, working with perforated figures on sticks against candle flames, still recite sacred epics ...

At the V&A

Marina Warner: ‘Hollywood Costume’

20 December 2012
... Dressmakers’ dummies are favourites with photographers of haunting; Eugène Atget, who rarely shows the inhabitants of a Parisian street or room, dwells on the smiling mannequins in shop windows, wearing aprons and housemaids’ caps, or on an effigy of madame in a string of pearls and a tilted trilby. Fixed expressions and rigid bodies give the images an uncanny aura – something similar radiates from cult statues when they’re dressed up and carried in procession in Spain or Italy ...

Short Cuts

Marina Warner: The Flood

6 March 2014
... I face More of the epic would be discovered under the sand as time went on. In 1990 Stephanie Dalley added more lines to her edition from newly recovered pieces, but most of what’s left has probably been smashed in the course of the Iraq wars. It seems proper that a place of fire and dust, its skin scarred by warfare, should be the origin of the story of the Flood today: devastation in negative, flood and drought bound together ...
8 November 1990
The Virago Book of Fairy-Tales 
edited by Angela Carter.
Virago, 242 pp., £12.99, October 1990, 1 85381 205 6
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Sisters and Strangers: A Moral Tale 
by Emma Tennant.
Grafton, 184 pp., £12.95, July 1990, 0 246 13429 1
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... unruly gaggle of children. The author is often funny: Eve is evicted to make way ‘for an Inland Marina and a Pizza Piazza project, designed by an architect by appointment to the Prince of Wales to resemble the gingerbread cottages inhabited by plantation slaves in the West Indies at the end of the 18th century’. She tackles the pleasure women readers find ...
23 March 1995
From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers 
by Marina Warner.
Chatto, 458 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 7011 3530 1
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... are the ones who tell fairy tales, why do fairy tales paint such ugly pictures of women? Or, as Marina Warner puts it, ‘If and when women are narrating, why are the female characters so cruel? ... Why have women continued to speak at all within this body of story which defames them so profoundly?’ Or again, what sort of woman would tell that sort ...
29 September 1988
The Satanic Verses 
by Salman Rushdie.
Viking, 547 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 670 82537 9
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The Lost Father 
by Marina Warner.
Chatto, 277 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3220 5
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Nice Work 
by David Lodge.
Secker, 277 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 436 25667 3
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... novels, with an amplitude which cannot dispense with the realistic description of everyday events. Marina Warner is best at it. The art of close shaving, for instance, can never have been more vividly and minutely set down than in her narrator’s depiction of her grandfather (whom the narrator has never seen) handling a cut-throat razor. David Lodge’s ...

Making and Breaking

Rosalind Mitchison

21 December 1989
Health, Happiness and Security: The Creation of the National Health Service 
by Frank Honigsbaum.
Routledge, 286 pp., £35, August 1989, 0 415 01739 4
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CounterBlasts No 5: Into the Dangerous World 
by Marina Warner.
Chatto, 58 pp., £2.99, September 1989, 0 7011 3548 4
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... Service, certainly easier to achieve than was Bevan’s task, will be without electoral cost. Marina Warner’s pamphlet is about the sad state of many children under our present government. It is a pleasant change from Honigsbaum, for she sees it as part of the author’s job to be readable. The work is an elegant and moving description of the life ...

A New Twist in the Long Tradition of the Grotesque

Marina Warner: The monstrousness of Britart

13 April 2000
High Art Lite: British Art in the 1990s 
by Julian Stallabrass.
Verso, 342 pp., £22, December 1999, 1 85984 721 8
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This is Modern Art 
by Matthew Collings.
Weidenfeld, 270 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 297 84292 7
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... The heavy in shirtsleeves on the door of the disused Strand tube station was working the phone to a reluctant client who had rented the premises for a rave that didn’t happen and now didn’t want to pay. The man’s job title was something like Manager of Decommissioned Underground Material and I had gone to see him with Michael Morris, one of the directors of Artangel, a company that puts on art events in different media in unusual places ...
1 October 1998
Bodies of Law 
by Alan Hyde.
Princeton, 290 pp., £39.50, July 1997, 0 691 01229 6
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... Anatomical cabinets, displaying bodies bottled whole or in segments, are gripping artists’ and writers’ imaginations: the Enlightenment’s relish for physical data banks excites awe, fascination and horror in inverse relation to the disembodiment and intangibility of knowledge in the contemporary computerised classroom. A pigmy woman, who died in childbirth in London, where she had been brought to be exhibited, is preserved, in a complete half-section, in the Hunterian Museum ...

Its Own Dark Styx

Marina Warner

20 March 1997
The Nature of Blood 
by Caryl Phillips.
Faber, 224 pp., £15.99, February 1997, 0 571 19073 1
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... Memory says: Want to do right? Don’t count on me.’ So writes Adrienne Rich in a poem from An Atlas of a Difficult World, opening an unpunctuated sequence of horrors: lynchings, pogroms, Auschwitz, Berlin, Palestine, Israel: I am accused of child death   of drinking blood ... there is spit on my sleeve    there are phone-calls in the night ...

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