Broadcasts, podcasts and radio programmes
Marina Warner has participated in many film, television and radio broadcasts in the UK, Europe, America, Asia, Australia and the United States. Below are a selection of clips available to stream.
26 August 2023
‘Archive on 4: The Holy Blood’, BBC R4
Listen back here
Two decades ago Da Vinci Code mania gripped the world. But the story behind the theory that Jesus Christ had a secret bloodline is more surprising than any thriller. Step aside Indiana Jones and Robert Langdon – BBC Paris Correspondent Hugh Schofield heads to the South of France to uncover a forgotten milestone of broadcasting which helped set the template for the modern conspiracy theory. The Lost Treasure of Jerusalem was a 1972 episode of the BBC history series Chronicle. It sets out the unusual local mystery of Rennes-le-Château – and the charismatic parish priest who somehow funded a major church renovation. What treasure had he uncovered? Written by and featuring the actor-turned writer Henry Lincoln, the programme was a phenomenon. The idea that the church was decorated with symbols and clues hinting at the origin of the unexplained wealth gripped viewers and led to two follow-up programmes.
But Lincoln’s research for the programmes became the keystone of the book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail – popularising theories of Christ’s marriage which went stratospheric with the 2003 release of The Da Vinci Code. Intrepid Hugh reveals the forgotten global impact of the Chronicle series – speaking to The Damned drummer Rat Scabies who had a surprising ringside seat for much of the drama, and to Dame Marina Warner who was the star of a thrilling encounter with the three authors whose book was about to become a global best-seller. We hear how this forgotten series popularised a spurious new approach to historical research and facts – one that reverberates through conspiracy theories today.
21 April 2023
‘The Essay’, BBC R3
Marina contributed to a series of ‘The Essay’ for BBC R3, which takes William Shakespeare’s First Folio as a prompt, 400 years after it was published. In the last essay of this series, Marina Warner chooses a speech from Othello – from Act 1, Scene 3 of the play. She tells us why it raises questions about stories and history as well as ideas about heroism, prejudice and fantasy.
As a writer who has often grappled with the truthfulness of stories, myths and fairy tales, Marina reveals she selected the speech because in the passage, Shakespeare is reflecting on the ways imagination makes things real. At this point in the play, Othello is setting out to clear himself after Brabantio, the father of his new wife, Desdemona, has railed against the ‘practices of cunning hell’ which Othello must have used to make her fall in love with him. Marina reflects on the reciprocal projections exchanged between tellers of tales and their audiences and considers how suggestible Othello and Desdemona are.
16 March 2023
‘The wicked? stepmother’, BBC R3, Free Thinking
New Generation Thinkers Sabina Dosani and Emma Whipday join Marina Warner and Matthew Sweet for a conversation about good and bad mothering and how images are changing. Listen back here.
29 Aug 2021
ABC National Radio Australia, ‘Marina Warner on myths, symbols and writing an “unreliable” memoir’
Marina speaks about Inventory of a Life Mislaid. Touching on war brides, spies and burning bookshops from her family history, she speaks with Dr Meredith Lake (host, Soul Search) about her need to write stories as well as deconstruct them, and the power of symbols in our imaginations and everyday lives. Listen here.
EXPeditions: Understanding the Power of Art (Part 1); Making Art: From Solitary Genius to Collective Experience (Part 2); Looking at Art: a two-way process (Part 3)
During the pandemic in 2020/2021, Marina was invited to give three lectures for the initiative EXPeditions, an initiative gathering opinions and ideas from thinkers around the world. Her three talks can be found on the page here.
18 December 2020
Le mille e una Donna, Marina Warner and Nadia Fusini on Angela Carter (Rai Radio 3)
On the occasion of the publication of a collection of Angela Carter’s stories in Italian translation (Le Mille e Una Donna, with a preface by Marina Warner – see here for details on the book), Marina can be heard in conversation with Nadia Fusini on Rai 3 (in Italian; full audio can be played here).
13 December 2020
Marina Warner on Radio Scotland, ‘Sunday Morning with Cathy Macdonald’
Fairy Tales never lose their popularity but more and more these traditional tales are being modernised to reflect our values. Performance storyteller, Mara Menzies and author Dame Marina Warner discuss if this is meddling with the magical fantasy or saving the next generation from outdated stereotypes. The programme can be listend to here.
BBC Radio 4 rebroadcasting What is a Story?, a series of reflections on fiction and story-telling with Marina
Marina Warner – in the company of leading contemporary writers – looks at the world of contemporary fiction. In each programme, she considers a story and story writing from a different angle. Amongst her interlocutors are writers as diverse as Julian Barnes, Michelle Roberts, Fanny Howe, Marlene van Niekerk, Alain Mabanckou, Lydia Davis, Edwin Frank, Elleke Boehmer, Wen-Chin Ouyang, Daniel Medin, Nadeem Aslam and Laszlo Krasznahorkai.Over ten episodes, there are discussions on the reasons for writing, writers as witnesses and political interaction.
The series was originally produced by Kevin Dawson as a Whistledown production for BBC Radio and first broadcast in July 2015. In the following a list of all episodes with links to the available audio recordings:
1/10 First Times
2/10 Why Write Stories?
3/10 It’s All Absolutely True
4/10 Bearing Witness
5/10 History for the Record
6/10 Filling the Gaps
7/10 Is Anyone Responsible?
8/10 Speaking in Parables
9/10 Ghosts at Home
10/10 As If: Dreams of Shelter
6th June 2020
Inheritance Tracks, BBC R4
Marina shared her inheritance tracks – a musical track she has inherited and one she would pass on to the next generation. Listen back here
10th April 2018
BBC Radio 4 – Word of Mouth. Listen here.
Word of Mouth returns with a special programme in which Michael Rosen and guests Marina Warner and Barry Smith discuss the state of language and public debate.
With the rise of the internet there is more political discussion than ever. Yet this torrent of words seems to carry less understanding than ever. This has been attributed to many causes. Some say it is the anonymous nature of internet discussions, or the increasing disparity between rich and poor, or even the efficacy with which media (and propaganda) organisations can affect public opinion. But possibly the problem lies in language itself. Traditionally, political language has been a shared endeavour through which we express our differences. Perhaps now even the language itself has become partisan – words carry profoundly different meanings for different people and the shared understand that public debate relies on is much reduced. Two people can share a word – say government or sovereignty – but if the frame of reference for what that word means has become radically different it’s hard to find the common ground on which meaningful debate can happen. So Michael Rosen and his guests are looking at the state of current political and public debate, delving into the philosophy of language and seeing how words get their meaning in the minds of their users. Perhaps, on top of all our other attendant crises, we can claim to be living through a crisis of language.
Documentary ‘The Story of The Persian Carpet’
MW contributed an interview to ‘The Story of The Persian Carpet’ a documentary about the cultural heritage of the Persian carpet in Britain, produced by the London Iranian Association and available to watch here.
28th December 2015
BBC Radio 4 – Thinking Allowed: Rituals at Christmas & beyond
Laurie Taylor presents a special programme on the place of rituals in everyday life. How have they changed over time and do we still need them? He’s joined by Adam Kuper, Centennial Professor in Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science; Marina Warner, writer and mythographer and Elizabeth Pleck, Professor Emeritu of History and Human Development & Family Studies at the University of Illinois.
10th November 2015, 10am
BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour
Listen here, from 12 mins 45 seconds into the programme
Writer Marina Warner appears to move effortlessly between fiction and non-fiction. This month she publishes a new collection of short stories, Fly Away; she explains how she weaves her love of myths and fairy tales into her contemporary stories.
31st October 2015
A film of Marina Warner in conversation with Kari Jegerstedt in Bergen as part of the Holberg Prize 2015 was shown on 31 October 2015 on Norwegian National Television, available to watch below and via this link.
27th October 2015 10pm
BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking: Witch-Finding
As Halloween fast approaches, Matthew Sweet is joined round the Free Thinking cauldron by guests including Marina Warner and Suzannah Lipscomb to consider the season of the witch. Author Marina Warner discusses her father’s relationship with the ghost writer M.R. James.
19th October 2015
Frieze Magazine Playlist
Marina Warner selects eight films as part of a YouTube guest playlist for Frieze Magazine.
23rd March 2015 4pm
BBC RADIO 4, The Wicked Queen
MW contributed to the The Wicked Queen produced by Cathy FitzGerald broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
The Wicked Queen responds to grey hair and crow’s feet by trying to take her competition out of the running with a poison apple. Cathy FitzGerald investigates whether there are more productive ways to deal with ageing. Can she rescue the Queen from the mirror’s spell?
Marina Warner’s ‘Learning My Lesson’ was the third of this year’s London Review of Books Winter Lectures 2015 at the British Museum, a podcast can be heard here and watched below and on YouTube here
19th March 2015, 9pm
BBC Radio 4 Broadcast, The Family Friend
Afternoon Reading: ‘The Family Friend’ By Marina Warner. Egypt 1901, some English army officers indulge in fox-hunting. Read by popular veteran actor Alan Howard. Previously broadcast: 18 Oct 2007, 3.30pm on BBC Radio 4 and 19 Mar 2015, 11:00 am on BBC Radio 4 Extra.
Marina Warner, Noam Chomsky, AC Grayling and Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws answer the questions: What is Well-being? and How can Governments increase Well-being? as part of The British Academy, published on Jan 13, 2015.
8 December 2014
Anne McElvoy discusses literature and art in the Arabic world with novelist Alaa Al Aswany, curator Rose Issa, writer Marina Warner and historian Robert Irwin. Listen back here.
25th November 2014
‘Why do fairy tales still hold such power today?’, Oxford University Press
13 November 2014
Once Upon a Time, Oxford University Press Book Launch
Marina presents the publication of Once Upon a Time, watch here
BBC Radio 4
MW’s short story Mink was chosen as one of the BBC’s favourite commissions of the last 10 years for a celebration of the Short story on BBC Arts online site – here‘s a link to the Short Stories page on the BBC Arts website. First broadcast 02 August 2013 Part of ‘ Feminine Mystiques’ By Marina Warner, read by Emma Fielding.
Fifty years since the first publication of Betty Friedan’s seminal feminist work The Feminine Mystique, Radio 4 has commissioned three leading writers to celebrate her influence in new short stories exploring the contemporary feminist landscape. Emma Fielding reads the first story in this series, by award winning writer and mythographer Marina Warner. Just as some of Angela Carter’s short stories from The Bloody Chamber were first published in high fashion magazine Vogue, and Carter’s retelling of fable and myth turned on the original meaning of ‘glamour’ as a spell, Marina Warner explores feminine mystique through a housewife in the 1950s who weaves hope and freedom into her longing for a mink coat.
Marina wrote a blogpost about the story behind Mink, which is available to read here.
29th May 2014 11.30am
BBC Radio 4
Marina was interviewed for Radio 4’s ‘A German Genius in Britain’ – a radio documentary on W.G. Sebald.
Wed 9 Apr 2014 at 20:45 and Sun 13 Apr 2014 at 05:45
BBC RADIO 4 Broadcast, The Power and the Passion – Marina Warner on the power of places.
Marina contributed to BBC Radio 4 Lent Talks, more details can be found here.
9th March 2014, 9pm
Marina was interviewed for BBC Four documentary ‘Good Swan, Bad Swan: Dancing Swan Lake’.
Tuesday 26 March 2013 6.20pm
Marina Warner interviewed in ‘The Royal Paintbox – The Movie: A Margy Kinmonth Film’ screening with Q&A at Curzon Mayfair Cinema London.
In a story previously untold on film, HRH The Prince of Wales reveals an extraordinary treasure trove of rarely seen artworks by members of the Royal Family past and present and explores a colourful palette of intimate family memory and observation. Shot in the spectacular landscapes of Balmoral, Birkhall, Highgrove, Windsor Castle, Frogmore and Osborne House, Royal Paintbox features artworks by members of the Royal Family down the centuries including some of HRH The Prince of Wales’ own watercolours and with contributions from Lady Antonia Fraser, Lady Jane Roberts, Charles Saumarez-Smith, Marina Warner, Jane Ridley, Catherine Goodman, Susannah Fiennes, Countess Mountbatten Of Burma, Sarah Armstrong-Jones and the voices of Penelope Wilton and Freddie Fox.
11 February 2013
Marina Warner on Joan of Arc, Oxford University Press
Winter 2012 – Online stream
Moby Dick Big Read
Marina reads ‘Moby Dick’ by Herman Melville, Chapter 102: A Bower in the Arsacide, introduced by Peter Donaldson with artwork by Jem Finer. Listen back here
Artist Angela Cockayne and writer Philip Hoare convened and curated a unique whale symposium and exhibition at Peninsula Arts, the dedicated contemporary art space at Plymouth University, under the title, Dominion. Inspired by their mutual obsession with Moby-Dick and with the overarching subject of the whale, they invited artists, writers, musicians, scientists and academics to respond to the theme.
More readings and full details can be found here.
17th – 28th December 2012
Grimm Thoughts on BBC Radio 4
To mark the bicentenary of the Grimm brothers’ tales, writer Marina Warner explores selected stories from a new angle each day. In the first programme, she tells the story of the brothers themselves. With beautifully narrated extracts from the tales themselves and contributions from renowned academics and artists who work closely with the Grimm’s rich heritage. Broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between 1.45-2pm weekdays beginning on 17th December 2012.
First broadcast on 17th December 2012
Marina Warner introduces the Grimm brothers and examines the story of The Frog King.
First broadcast on 18th Decenber 2012
Marina Warner traces Grimms’ tales back to their ancient origins.
First broadcast on 19th December 2012
Marina Warner enters the magical worlds of the fairy tale.
First broadcast on 20th December 2012
Marina identifies real people and places believed to have inspired the Grimms’ collection.
First broadcast on 21st December 2012
Marina Warner is drawn into the tales’ rich history of illustration.
First broadcast on 24th December 2012
Marina Warner probes the fate of the tales at the hands of the Nazis.
First broadcast on 25th December 2012
Marina examines the deeper meanings read into the tales by writers and psychologists.
First broadcast on 26th December 2012
Marina Warner explores the Grimm brothers’ tales.
First broadcast on 27th December 2012
Marina Warner examines the tales’ history of censorship.
First broadcast on 28th Decenber 2012
Marina Warner considers the future of the Grimm brothers’ tales.
‘Away with the fairies: Grimm Thoughts on BBC Radio 4’ a review by Antonia Quirke, published in New Statesman 13 December 2012.
4th December 2012
Tate Gallery BP British Art Lecture: Marina Warner
Contemporary artists profane taboos and create new zones of the sacred, often drawing on votive, ritual, and amuletic techniques from religious tradition. Marina Warner will explore belief in art today.
October 13th and 14th, 2012
Marina gave a talk on storytelling and memory at the Memory Marathon, the seventh annual festival of ideas inspired by the annual pavilion commission, held at Serpentine Gallery, London.
A video of the talk can be viewed here. Marina begins speaking at 4 mins 38 seconds into the recording.
20th September, 11:30am.
BBC RADIO 4
Marina was interviewed for ‘True Tales from the Crypt’, Roger Luckhurst’s investigation into the mummy curse on BBC Radio 4. Details can be found here.
15th September, 7-10pm
Writtle Calling / 2EmmaToc
Marina contributed a reading to the temporary radio station Writtle Calling / 2EmmaToc broadcasting from the Essex landscape 11-18 September 2010. The grounds of Writtle College, Writtle College, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 3RR, Essex, CM1 3RR.
The Folio Society’s edition of Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories. A video of Marina Warner introducing The Folio Society’s edition of The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories in conversation with Folio Society editor Johanna Geary can be viewed here. A clip of Marina reading from the book is here.
23rd July 2012, 8:40pm
BBC Radio 3
Marina was interviewed for ‘Episode 2 of 2, Goethe and the West-Eastern Divan’ on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Twenty Minutes’.
To complement the series of Beethoven concerts by the West-Eastern Divan orchestra, Paul Farley explores Goethe’s poetic sequence, ‘The West-Eastern Divan’, from which Daniel Barenboim’s orchestra takes its name. Paul examines Goethe’s engagement with the ideas and imagery of Persian literature, and talks to contemporary German poets and writers about the continuing legacy of his ‘West-Eastern Divan’ poetry cycle.
Listen to both parts of the programme here
5th July 2012, Podcast for London Review of Books
‘Once a Catholic…Marina Warner on Damien Hirst at Tate Modern’
London Review of Books, Voume 34, Number 13, 5th July 2012, page 16-17.
Marina Warner reads the article as an audio podcast here.
4th July 2012, 10.20pm
ABC National Radio Australia ‘How the magic of the Arabian Nights changed the west’
Mythology and magic expert Marina Warner discusses The Arabian Nights and the profound impact they had on Western literature, thinking and progress.
2nd June 2012, 9.30pm
BBC Radio 3
Marina was interviewed for ‘Invisible Cities’. Inspired by Italian writer Italo Calvino’s novel “Invisible Cities”, on the 40th anniversary of its publication, this Between the Ears explores the hidden, fantastical and surreal stories caught between the cracks of the modern city. The programme can be heard here.
23rd May 2012
The Humanities and Arts Research Centre (HARC) at Royal Holloway University of London presents:
‘What’s Hecuba to him?: Terror, pity and the matter of Troy (from Homer to Alice Oswald)’
When the First Player dissolves in tears as he recites scenes from the fall of Troy, Hamlet exclaims at the intensity of the actor’s identification, by contrast with his own frozen feelings and incapacity. Hecuba’s tragedy becomes the emblem of empathy, produced more intensely by dramatic representation than by real life. Recent, near obsessive returns to the Iliad and the matter of Troy, refract current conflicts, and these renderings and revisionings act upon the emotions and attitudes of the spectator and the reader. Marina Warner will explore the way this return to the most ancient war in literature, especially in the work of women writers and artists, makes a claim for the function of art and realigns the question of catharsis.
27th April 2012
‘Marina Warner on Enchanted Forests’ – Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Red Riding Hood… fairy tales are full of stories that take place in enchanted forests. And sacred woods and trees figure strongly in mythic traditions, from the British Isles to the Norselands to ancient Sumeria. Marina Warner writes about art, symbolism, myth and fairy tales. She explores the many meanings of forests in the human imagination. An interview for TTBOOK radio can be listened to here.
30th March 2012
‘The Arabian Nights – A new twist on the old magic in the tales of the Arabian Nights’
Marina was interviewed by Tom Ashbrook on Stranger Magic: Charmed States and The Arabian Nights for WBUR Boston NPR Radio. The programme can be downloaded here.
25th February 2012, 8pm
BBC Radio 4
Marina interviewed for ‘The Politics of Art’. This “Archive on 4” uses the fortieth anniversary of John Berger’s ground-breaking BBC-2 series on art and society – called “Ways of Seeing” – and Tim Marlow’s extensive knowledge and popular appeal to do three things. Full details and listen back here.
17th February 2012, 10pm
BBC Radio 3
Marina Warner and Christopher Frayling join Ian McMillan to mark the twentieth anniversary of Angela Carter’s death with a celebration of her writing for The Verb on BBC Radio 3. Full details here.
16th February 2012, 11:30am
BBC Radio 4
Marina interviewed for ‘Writing in Three Dimensions: Angela Carter’s Love Affair with Radio’ broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Full details here.
3rd January 2012, 12pm
RTE Ireland – Interview on RTE Radio Ireland: Arts Tonight.
Marina Warner on the Arabian Nights stories. The programme can be heard here.
26th December 2011, 12pm
‘The Virgin Mary in history and art’.
Miri Rubin, Catherine Marshall, Colm Toibin and Marina Warner on imaginings of Mary. Broadcast on on Arts Tonight with Vincent Woods, RTÉ Radio One, Ireland. More available here.
3rd November 2011, 10am
Marina was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour about her recent book ‘Stranger Magic, Charmed States and the Arabian Nights’. The stories in the Arabian Nights feature a world of magic, genies, flying carpets, hidden treasures, evil spirits and iconic heroes. Translated into French and English in the early days of the Enlightenment, this Arabic collection of folk and fairy tales became a hugely popular especially tales such as Ali Baba and the forty thieves’ and ‘Aladdin’. At the heart is the heroic figure of Shahrazad, the teller of the tales. However, many of the women in the Arabian Nights are often seen as conniving, adulterous and even cruel. The programme can be heard here.
30th October 2011, 8am
Marina was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 Today Programme about the protests outside St Pauls Cathedral.
3rd August 2011 at 4pm
BBC Radio 4, ‘Thinking Allowed’
Laurie Taylor discusses the mummy’s curse and other Oriental myths with Marina Warner and Roger Luckhurst. The programme was repeated on Monday 8th August at 00:15. Available here.
8th July 2011, 10:45pm,
Marina contributed ‘Wild Ecstasy’ an essay for BBC Radio 3 for ‘Wild Nature’ the last in the series of five on Dark Arcadias, the history of the idea. More here.
27 April 2011
Marina contributed to the BBC Four documentary ‘Secrets of the Arabian Nights’. Richard E Grant traces the roots of The Arabian Nights first broadcast. A link to the programme page with clips of Marina discussing the Arabian Nights is sadly no longer available.
19th March 2011, 23:30
BBC Radio 4
Marina was interviewed for ‘The Company of Poets’ on BBC Radio 4. Susannah Clapp goes to the British Library to look at the poems in Angela Carter’s journals, and her lists of the things that she was reading at the time she wrote them.
Marina was interviewed for the documentary film about painter, poet and writer Leonora Carrington ‘Open Up Stone Door’ Directed by Dominique et Julien Ferrandou for Seven Doc Films, France. Available on DVD here.
24 September 2010
‘The Magic Carpet Flight Manual’, radio documentary for BBC World Service.
Cathy FitzGerald explores the past, present, and very real future of the magic carpet and wonders what our desire to defy gravity tells us about ourselves. Cultural historian Marina Warner explains the origins of the symbol in the Arabian Nights, and wonders whether we had to invent flying carpets in order to learn how to fly. We dream of flying and often long to fly unaided – is that part of it? Details and programme can be heard here.
BBC Radio 4, Solitudinem Faciunt Et Pacem Appellant
Recorded for Episode 8, Series 9 ‘From Fact to Fiction’, aired 19 June 2010.
In a week that saw the publication of the Saville Report into the Bloody Sunday shootings and Israel announced the setting up of an inquiry into the raid on a Gaza aid flotilla, one family is undergoing its own form of truth and reconciliation. In a fictional country, a retelling of the Salome story by prize-winning author and historian, Marina Warner.
- Mother – Adjoa Andoh
- Father – Anthony Calf
- Jess – Eloise Secker
- Directed by Gemma Jenkins
12th April 2010
Marina contributed to the BBC Radio 4 World At One Election special edition presented by Martha Kearney’s along with former CBI Director General and government business advisor Digby Jones.
April 8th, 2010 6.30pm
Royal Society of Literature ‘Reading the Universe: Alberto Manguel’, chaired by Marina Warner
Recorded at 1 Belgrave Square, London. An audio recording of this event can be heard here.
14 February 2010
Marina was interviewed for the Channel 4 documentary ‘The Bible: A History’ for Episode 4 ‘The Daughters of Eve’, programme details can be found here.
Marina was interviewed for ‘Une vision politique et historique’ as part of ‘Elles @ Pompidou’ Women Artists in the Pompidou Collection’, Pompidou Centre, Paris, 2011. The video can be streamed here.
19th August 2009
World Literature Weekend for London Review of Books. Link sadly not available.
Marina Warner addressed the wide variation in translated versions of Russian texts. Her conversation with Robert Chandler focuses on Andrey Platonov in particular. Chandler has translated and co-translated several of Platonovs novels, including, with Elizabeth Chandler and Olga Meerson, a new edition of the absurdist parable The Foundation Pit, Platonovs most overtly political book, written in direct response to the brutalities of Stalins collectivisation of Russian agriculture. It is a literary masterpiece which deforms and transforms language in seeking to evoke unspeakable realities. This English translation is the first and only one to be based on the definitive edition published by Pushkin House in Moscow.
5 February 2009
In Our Time: The Brothers Grimm, BBC R4
Melvyn Bragg discusses the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm with Juliette Wood, Marina Warner and Tony Phelan. The German siblings who in 1812 published a collection of fairy tales including Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella and Rumpelstiltskin. But the Grimm versions are surprisingly, sometimes shockingly, different. Cinderella has no fairy godmother, her ugly sisters are not ugly but they do have their eyes pecked out by pigeons. Sleeping Beauty does not have an evil stepmother, Rapunzel is pregnant and Frog Princes do not get kissed but thrown against walls. They may not be the fairy tales as we know them, but without the Brothers Grimm we might not know them at all. But why did two respectable German linguists go chasing after fairy stories, what do the stories tell us about German culture and romantic nationalism at the time and why do these ever-evolving tales of horror, wonder and fantasy continue to hold us in thrall?With Juliette Wood, Associate Lecturer in Folklore at Cardiff University; Marina Warner, Professor in the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex; Tony Phelan, Professor in German at Keble College, Oxford.
Listen back here.
17th December 2008
A Discussion on Edward Said with Marina Warner at (NYU Abu Dhabi Institute). Link sadly no longer available.
The late Edward W. Said was one of the most formidable public intellectuals and cultural critics of the last fifty years. He is remembered chiefly for his highly influential Orientalism, his detailed critique of cultural and intellectual imperialism in the colonial period. Orientalism is a – perhaps the – founding text of the post-colonial study of literature, culture and politics.
It also eclipses his other works in public consciousness and memory, and can lead one to forget the author’s interest in literature tout court. The more purely literary aspect of his scholarship was explored in this conversation, with its starting point in a reading of The World, the Text, and the Critic. Along similar themes, read this interview from 2015.
14 April 2008
Marina gave the talk ‘The Voice of the Toy: Writing Magic and Enchanted States’ at Stanford University, USA. Marina Warner’s talk included bottle imps, genies in lamps, flying carpets, speaking fruits, toys, and severed heads. Touching on the influence of “Arabian Nights” and other Eastern narratives on western European fictions, Warner discussed the changing uses of enchantment in contemporary imagination, the different states of belief and disbelief that are developing, and the experience of the “digital uncanny.” The video can be streamed here and below:
27th March 2007
BBC Radio 4
Marina contributed to a A Good Read with Sue MacGregor and Tim Marlow on Radio 4 broadcast on 27th and 30th March 2007. Listen back here.
A video of Marina speaking with Tana McPhee conducted at Channings Hotel, Edinburgh, about her book Signs & Wonders: Essays on Literature and Culture can be found here.
Marina delivered the BBC Reith Lectures between January and March 1994.
‘Managing Monsters’ examined how myths express and shape our attitudes. All details, podcasts and transcripts can be found here.
1st Lecture: Monstrous Mothers’ examines the role of the ‘she-monster’ in myth; from Medea to Jurassic Park.
2nd Lecture: ‘Boys will be Boys’ examines the threads linking ancient myths and modern machismo and argues that ideas about masculinity are not naturally inculcated.
3rd Lecture: ‘Little Angels, Little Devils: Keeping Children Innocent’ examines the various depictions of children in myths and stories and looks at the burden of dreams that children bear from Peter Pan to Poltergeist.
4th Lecture: ‘Beautiful Beasts: The Call of The Wild’ examines the changing value of the animal, from King Kong to the teddy
5th Lecture: ‘Cannibal Tales: The Hunger for Conquest’ explores myths of cannibalism from The Tempest to Hannibal Lecter, and considers how their message of ‘either we eat them or they eat us’, helped to justify the presence of the invader.
6th Lecture: ‘Home: Our Famous Island Race’ explores the myths of national identity and asks: what is home ground?
25 March 1986
Audio recording of discussion with Whitney Chadwick and Marina Warner recorded by the Women’s Audio Archive at ICA, Chisenhale Gallery London can be found here.