Shakespeare 400

Shakespeare has been a source of inspiration for MW throughout her writing, in fiction as well as critical studies.

This list includes some of these responses:

'Fly Away Home'
MW's collection of short stories 'Fly Away Home' published by Salt Publishing, September 2015, more info here.

02nd June 2015 6.30pm
Who Ate Marina Warner? at The Delfina Foundation, London
Reading by UK Associate Navine G Khan-Dossos followed by a conversation with Aaron Cezar, Director of Delfina Foundation.

Who Ate Marina Warner? is a text based on the 1994 BBC Reith Lecture series, Managing Monsters by Marina Warner. In the penultimate installment, Cannibal Tales: The Hunger for Conquest, Warner discusses the place of cannibalism in mythologies in diverse contexts, from The Tempest to Hannibal Lecter. She links the fantasy of cannibalism to narratives of conquest, as well as exploring how the imagery of consuming the body speaks of longing and fear, identity, the past and the unknowable future.
For the purpose of this project, Marina's voice, ensconced deep in the BBC archives, has been revived and replayed through a computer program that aims to return it to a textual form. Khan-Dossos sees this process as a cannibalisation of knowledge, a regurgitation of sorts, in which the computer is an extension of man, taking part in the process of consumption of the self and others. This event is produced as part of the second season of The Politics of Food: Sex, Diet & Disaster. More details can be found here.

20th November 2013
Richard Hoggart lecture, Goldsmiths University, London
Postfeminist Discourse in Shakespeare's The Tempest and Warner's Indigo: Ambivalence, Liminality and Plurality, by Natali Boğosyan, published November 2012, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. A scrupulous study of Shakespeare's The Tempest and its most comprehensive rewriting Indigo, or Mapping the Waters by Marina Warner.

'Forget My Fate', in Midsummer Nights, ed. Jeanette Winterson (stories after opera for Glyndebourne), Quercus, 2009.

The following essays appear in 'Signs and Wonders - Essays on Literature and Culture' (Chatto & Windus 2003), more infomation can be found on the book page here.

Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds (2001) discusses imagination and fantasy in A Midsummer Night's Dream and other plays.

Shakespeare and Caliban, Rough Magic and Sweet Lullaby

Phantasmagoria (l998) Chapters 6-10 discuss fancy and imagination, spectacle, perception, pareidolia and clouds.

Shakespeare and the goddess - Review of Ted Hughes, Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete
Being (1995)

From the Beast to the Blonde (l994) includes discussion throughout of fairy tale allusions and structures in the plays, principally in eg The Merchant of Venice and King Lear.

Indigo (l992), a novel, revisions The Tempest
Shakespeare's Caliban - Review of Alden T. Vaughan and Virginia Mason Vaughan, Shakespeare's Caliban: A Cultural History (1992)

Joan of Arc (l981) discusses witchcraft in the plays and the representation of Joan in Henry VI.


'Devil's Dictionary' an essay review of Shakespeare's Demonology: A Dictionary, by Marion Gibson and Jo Ann Esra, can be found in Around the Globe Issue 58 Autumn 2014, published by Shakespeare's Globe.

'"Come to Hecuba": Theatrical Empathy and Memories of Troy', Shakespearean International Yearbook Volume 11: Special issue, Placing Michael Neill. Issues of Place in Shakespeare and Early Modern Culture. November 2011, (Ashgate,2009

'Once Upon A Time in Rossillion', programme note for All's Well That Ends Well ,
directed Marianne Elliot, National Theatre,

Signs and Wonders: Essays on Literature and Culture (Chatto & Windus 2003), more information can be found on the book page here.

Includes a section on Shakespearean Transformations: '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)

'The Silence of Sycorax' (l996)

'His Own Dark Styx', review of Caryl Phillips, The Nature of Blood, a novel inspired by Othello (1997)

'Castaway on the Ocean of Story', edited version of the lecture given at the Shakespeare Deutsche Gesellschaft Conference, Weimar, April 2002, and revised for Jahrbuch, Vol 139 (2003: 1).

'Shakespeare's Caliban', review of Alden T. Vaughan and Virginia Mason Vaughan, Shakespeare's Caliban: A Cultural History (1992)

Fly Away Home: Stories (Salt Publishing, September 2015) includes a story inspired by the Purcell opera, Dido and Aeneas, itself inspired by Marlowe's Dido, Queen of Carthage, a play that underlies many elements of The Tempest.

See this section for writings about eg Indigo and its relation to Shakespeare.

Selected named lectures

Shakespeare Jahrbuch 2002





Writings around Shakespeare


Indigo is a novel written by Marina Warner, published by Simon & Schuster in 1928.
It is a modernized and altered retelling of William Shakespeare's, The Tempest. Within the novel, Warner appropriates Shakespeare's original plot and characters to fit a dual reality, spanning the 17th and 20th Centuries, and the colonial sphere of the Caribbean alongside post-colonial London. She expands certain characters, for example, Sycorax, Shakespeare's dark witch, is given her own identity as indigo maker and village sage. The colonialist realities of 'discovery' and the conquering of 'new' lands are played out in the novel's first section. Finally, the characters of Miranda and Caliban (recreated as Dulé and George/Shaka) are unified in a shared acknowledgement of past colonial wrongs.


Indigo is a shimmering, lyrical novel about power and transformation. Inspired by Shakespeare's magic play The Tempest, prizewinning writer Marina Warner refashions the drama to explore the restless conflicts between the inhabitants of a Caribbean island and the English family who settled it. From that violent moment in the seventeenth century when the English buccaneer Kit Everard arrives at Enfant-Beate, the islanders' fate is intertwined, often tragically, with that of the Everards. The voices that map the fortunes of those born, raised, or landed on the island pass from the wise woman Sycorax in the past, a healer and a dyer of indigo, to the native nanny Serafine Killebree, who transforms them to fairy tales for the two little Everard girls in London in the 1950s.

At the center of the modern-day story is the relationship between these two young women: Xanthe, the golden girl, brash and confident, and Miranda, self-conscious and uneasy, who struggles with her Creole inheritance. When Xanthe decides they should return to Enfant-Beate to restore their fortunes, she binds the family closer to its past and awakens a history marked with passions and portents that takes the two women on very different paths of discovery. Sensuous and earthy, humorous and magical, Indigo is a novel of powerful originality and imagination







© Marina Warner 2011 - Contact