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SIGNS AND WONDERS - ESSAYS ON LITERATURE AND CULTURE
Chatto & Windus (2003
Vintage Paperback (2004)

This remarkable, resonant collection draws together essays written over twenty-five years, offering a wide-ranging retrospective of her changing ideas on literature and culture – on fiction, drama, religion, language and fairy tale. The different sections range from explorations of our taste for the miraculous, whether it be the Virgin Mary and angels, or voodoo and showers of toads, to our need for heroes and villains, from Joan of Arc to Myra Hindley.

Finding unexpected links between the images of literature, art and politics she turns her attention to Caliban and the Caribbean, and to fairies, myths and magic. She listens attentively, in unexpected ways, to some of the strong voices of our time, from Lewis Carroll to Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood; she unravels our fascination with language and obscenity, and questions the way we think about our bodies and minds. Penetrating, perceptive and enlightening, Signs & Wonders is not only a book of essays, but a collection of original marvels.
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REVIEWS

‘Marina Warner possesses an astonishing breadth of knowledge on so many subjects…Signs & Wonders is a dazzling performance.This collection must confirm Warner’s reputation as one of the finest literary and intellectual minds at work in Britain’
- Caryl Phillips, Times Literary Supplement

‘As a leading explorer of a largely uncharted territory, Marina Warner is an impressive, inspiring but never intimidating guide’
-Peter Stanford, The Independent

‘Clever, witty, erudite and, above all, usefully explanatory, these signs and wonders are a literary cabinet of curiosities for our sadly desultory times’
-
Alberto Manguel, The Sunday Times

‘Marina Warner’s essays and lectures reveal a consistently honest and agile mind preoccupied with the powerful controlling fictions of our lives’
-
The Observer

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READ AN EXTRACT

Signs & Wonders - List of contents

Prologue: Seeking the Slant
1998
1. Early Encounters, East and West
The Bitch Route 13
1972
The Crushed Butterflies of War
1972
My Day
1973
Jessica Mitford
1996
Bob Treuhaft
2003
The Female Form Defined
1983
Mrs Thatcher
??
Making it Big in the New World
1986
Angela Carter
1998

2.Words and symbols
St Paul: Let Women Keep Silent
l989.
Christine de Pizan: The City of Ladies
l982.
Watch your Tongues
Review of A Bloch, Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western Romantic Love; T Krontiris Oppositional voices: Women as Writers and Translators of Literature in the English Renaissance,; B. Cazelles, The Lady as Saint: A Collection of French Hagiographical Romances of the 13th Century; M. King. Women of the Renaissance.
1992
Obscenity
1981.
Fighting Talk
l989.
Language, Power, Fear
2001
St Cunera’s Scarf
1991
The Sign of the Dollar
2003

3. Bodies and Minds
Harmoniously Arranged Livers
Review of Caroline Walker Bynum, The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity 200-1336. 1995
Magic Zones
Review of Richard Sennett, Flesh and Stone: The Body and the City in Western Civilisation.
1994

The Virtue of Incest
Review of Marc Shell, Elizabeth’s Glass
1993
The Marquise Unmasked: Les Liaisons Dangereuses
l990.
‘Wild at Heart’: Manon Lescaut
L’Abbé Prévost and Puccini’s opera
l997

In the Mirror of Madness : Elaine Showalter
Review of The Female Malady: Women, Madness and English Culture, 1830-1980.
1987
Fasting Girls
Review of Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Fasting Girls:The emergence of Anorexia nervosa as a modern disease
1989
Bloated
1997
Body Politic
Review of Madonna, Sex.
1992
Sites of Desire
Review of Peter Brooks, Body Work.
1993
Love’s Bodies:Gillian Rose
Review of Love’s Work
1995
Is there another place from which the dickhead’s self can speak?
Review of Alan Hyde, Bodies of Law.
1998

4.Faiths and Marvels
The First Commandment
1997
Touching Tears: The Weeping Madonna of Civitavecchia
1996
Omens of Millennium
Review of Omens of Millennium: the Gnosis of Angels, Dreams and Resurrection, by Harold Bloom.
1998
Suffering Souls 3100
.Review of Jean Claude Schmidt, Ghosts in the Middle Ages: The Living and the Dead in Medieval Society, translated by Teresa L. Fagan
199?
The Greatest Saint after Sainte Marie
Afterword to Charles Péguy, The Mystery of the Charity of Joan of Arc

The Triumph of the Moon
Review of Ronald Hutton, The Triumph of the Moon, The Times ??
Dom Sylvester Houédard
Obituary, Independent, ??
Showers of Toads
Review of Jan Bondeson, The Feejee Mermaid: and other essays on natural and unnatural history,
1999
Amber
Review of Ciaran Carson Fishing for Amber: A Long Story.
1999
Poison
Review of Gail Bell, Poison: A History and a Family Memoir.
Not yet appeared – have emailed !

5. Shakespeare and Caliban
Rough Magic and Sweet Lullaby
2000
Shakespeare and the goddess
Review of Ted Hughes, Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being
1995.
Maps of Elsewhere
1992
Shakespeare’s Caliban
Review of Alden T. Vaughan and Virginia Mason Vaughan, Shakespeare’s Caliban: A Cultural History.
1992
The Silence of Sycorax
l996
His Own Dark Styx: Caryl Phillips
Review of The Nature of Blood.
1997

6. Creole
Between the Colonist and the Creole
l993
Noonday Devils
Review of Elaine Breslaw, Tituba: Reluctant Witch of Salem.
l996
Siren/Hyphen; or, ‘The Maid Beguiled’
1998
Cannibals and Kings: King Kong
1995.
Bananas
1995
Zombie: The Devil Inside
2002

7.Fairies, Myths and Magic
Aesop
Review of The Complete Fables translated by Olivia and Robert Temple.
l998
Roberto Calasso
Review of The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony.
1993
Ka: Stories of the Mind and Gods of India
1999
Louis XIV
Review of Peter Burke, The Fabrication of Louis XIV
1992
La Fontaine
Review of Oeuvres Completes Vol 1 Fables, Contes et Nouvelles, by Jean de la Fontaine
1991
Under the Executioner’s Sword
On The Arabian Nights
l994
Laughter and Hope in the Old Wives’ Tale
On Rossini’s opera La Cenerentola and Prokoviev’s ballet Cinderella
l991
Mother Russia
Review of Joanna Hubbs, Mother Russia: The Feminine Myth in Russian Cultur.
1989

8.Reworking the Tale
Combat Myths
2001
Donkey Business,Donkey Work: Magic and Metamorphosis in Contemporary Opera
1996
‘Nonsense is Rebellion’: The Child’s-play of Lewis Carroll
1998
Struwwelpeter
Review of Shockheaded Peter: A Junk Opera
2001
Cunning and High Spirits
Foreword to Angela Carter, ed.,The Second Virago Book of Fairy Tales
l993

The Inexpressible Closeness of the Deer
On the Quay Brothers’ film of Robert Walser’s The Institute Benjamenta
1995
Hoopoe
Ted Hughes: Tales from Ovid
1999
On Myth and Faery: Rewritings and Recoveries
1999

OR
Riscritture: Re-writings
2001
Coda : Who’s Sorry Now? Personal stories, public apologies
Amnesty lecture, Oxford.
2002

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For other essays on Literature and Culture please see here
For other essays on Art please see here

 

 

 

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