Marina Warner
Stanford Humanities Center

Marina Warner:
Selected Annotated

This bibliography is far from complete, focusing primarily on Warner' non-fiction monographs; Warner's numerous articles, lectures and works for children are not included here. For a current and complete bibliography of her works, see her own website:

In addition to very brief annotations, we have included part or all of some works' tables of contents, which themselves offer a good sense of the spirit and content of Warner's work.


History and Criticism

Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors, and Media
Oxford University Press, 2006; U.S. paperback, Oxford, 2008.

This remarkable work of cultural history is an exploration of the manifestations of “spirit” and “soul” in the West since the Enlightenment. Not only does Warner follow the myriad forms (angels, ghosts, fairies, revenants, zombies) that our culture has devised for spirits; she also traces many sorts of “soul stuff” that have been used to imagine the soul through the centuries: air, clouds, light and shadow, glass, ether, wax, film and others. Along the way she examines imagination and cognition, belief and deception, tradition and technology — and what each has revealed about our “essence” as humans.


Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds : Ways of Telling the Self
Oxford University Press, 2004; Vintage Paperback, 2004

This book is comprised of the 2001 Oxford University Clarendon Lectures in English. Ovid is (not surprisingly) the starting point; but the endpoints and the paths between are many and varied.

1. Mutating
2. Hatching
3. Splitting
4. Doubling

Signs & Wonders:Essays on Literature and Culture
London: Chatto & Windus, 2003; Vintage Paperback, 2004.

This is a collection of previously published essays on a characteristically enormous range of topics, arranged in sections titled “Words and Symbols, ” “Bodies and Minds, ” “Faiths and Marvels, ” “Shakeseperian Transformations,” and “Fairies, Myths and Magic.”


No Go the Bogeyman: On Scaring, Lulling and Making Mock
London: Chatto & Windus, 1998; Vintage Paperback, 1998.

This work is divided into sections indicated in its subtitle, which are three principle means, as Warner shows, through which we deal with all manner of anxiety. The chapters include “My Father He Ate Me” (with a reflection on Goya's Saturn Devouring His Child), “The Polyp and the Cyclops,” “Terrors Properly Applied,” “Herod the King, in His Raging ” (with a reflection on Caravaggio's Rest on the Flight into Egypt), and a host of fearsome and comical chimerae, giants, and grylli, and even a remarkable set of observation on the banana in film, humor and art.


Monsters of Our Own Making: The Peculiar pleasure of Fear
(U.S. republication of No Go the Bogeyman)
University of Kentucky Press, 2007.

From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and their Tellers
London: Chatto & Windus, l994; Vintage Paperback, 1994
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (hardback & paperback), 1995-1996

The “Tellers” section of this magesterial work on the fairy tale includes chapters on “Old Wives,” enchantresses, riddling asses, and grannies and wolves in bonnets. The “Tales” treat absent mothers and their wicked stepmother counterparts, demon lovers and reluctant brides, ogres, and the “The Language of Hair.”


Managing Monsters: Six Myths of Our Time. The l994 BBC Reith Lectures.
London: Vintage, 1994.
(U.S. title: Six Myths of Our Time: Little Angles, Little Monsters, Beautiful Beasts, and More, New York: Vintage, l995)

The Reith Lectures are a BBC Radio tradition; Warner was the first woman to appear in a long line of distinguished lecturers, beginning with Bertrand Russell in 1948, and including Robert Oppenheimer, George F. Kennan, and Edward Said. The lectures as published here are characterized by Warner as “essays on contemporary mythology,” putting forth her conviction, as she writes, “that the fictions and narratives of a society contribute as fundamentally to its character as its laws and economy and political arrangements.”

1. Monstrous Mothers: Women Over the Top
2. Boys Will Be Boys: The Making of the Male
3. Little Angels, Little Monsters: Keeping Childhood Innocent
4. Beautiful Beasts: The Call of the Wild
5. Cannibal Tales: The Hunger for Conquest
6. Home: Our Famous Island Race

Wonder Tales: Six Tales of Enchantment

Wonder Tales: Six Tales of Enchantment
(Marina Warner, ed. and intro.)
London: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1994; Vintage Paperback, 1994;
Re-printed in paperback, Oxford University Press, 2004.

Warner here presents new translations of six 17th-century French fairy tales, characteristically written by women, and promoting “trueness of heart and toughness of mind.” Includes The White Cat (translated by John Ashbery), The Subtle Princess (tr. by Gilbert Adair), Bearskin and Starlight (tr. Terence Cave), The Counterfeit Marquise (tr. by Ranjit Bolt) and The Great Green Worm (tr. by A.S. Byatt). Warner writes in the introduction that “Wonder has no opposite; it springs up already doubled in itself, compounded of dread and desire at once, attraction and recoil, producing a thrill, the shudder of pleasure and of fear.”

Monuments & Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form

Monuments & Maidens: The allegory of the female form
London: Vintage, l985.
U.S. Reprint: University of California Press, 2001.

This work of art history examines the uses of the female form as the personfication of abstract ideas and values, from the gold seal of quality on an can of virgin (N.B.) olive oil and various larger-than-life national symbols (the Statue of Liberty, the Soviet Motherland, Britannia, Marianne) to its use in contemporary advertising, and of course in public, religious, and fine art through the ages.

Joan of Arc: The image of female heroism
London: Vintage, l981; New York: Knopf, 1981.
U.S. Reprint: University of California Press, 1999.

A treatment of both the historical Joan of Arc (relying on documents from the Court of the Inquisition) and her multiple legends and iconographies. Warner places Joan's role as female hero in the context of earlier heroines, and illuminates the uses that have been made of Joan in her numerous, sometimes conflicting, aspects (heretic, Amazon, saint, child of nature, or personification of virtue).

Alone of All Her Sex

Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary
London: Vintage, l976; New York: Knopf, 1976.

In an approach similar to that she will later take in her study of Joan of Arc, Warner here elucidates the Virgin both in her various guises (in sections titled “Virgin,” “Queen,” “Bride,” “Mother,” and “Intercessor”), and across the multitude of textual, visual and cultural sources in which she is depicted. Not only have history and necessity (ecclesiastical, of course, but also social) shaped the figure of Mary through the ages; likewise, this figure has shaped women's roles and expectations of her in society — far from always for the better.

The Dragon Empress: The life and Times of Tz'u-hsi, Empress Dowager of China, l835-1980
London: Weidenfeld, l972; New York: Macmillan, 1972

Warner's first published book, The Dragon Empress is a biography of both a woman — one of the most powerful in the world of her time — and the country she dominated in extravagance, corruption, passion, and paranoia.


About Marina Warner


Laurence Coupe. Marina Warner (in the series Writers and Their Work)
London: The British Council, 2006.

This friendly and very useful monograph, written with Warner's cooperation, treats both her fiction and non-fiction, as well as pulling together biographical details as they relate to the course of her career.


Major Fiction


Murderers I have Known

Murderers I Have Known
Hardback: Chatto & Windus; 2004; Vintage Paperback, 2004.

Short stories.

The Leto Bundle

The Leto Bundle
London: Chatto & Windus,
2001; U.S.: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2002; and others.

A novel, nominated for the Booker Prize.


Indigo l992
Vintage (paperback) U.K.; Simon & Schuster (hardback) U.S.

A novel. Translated into Dutch, German, French.

The Lost Father

The Lost Father
London: Vintage, l987.
U.S.: Simon & Schuster, 1987

A novel. Translated into Italian, 2002.

Regional Winner (Eurasia) in the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award, Booker Prize shortlist; translated into Norwegian, Dutch, German, Italian and French.

The Skating Party

The Skating Party
London: Vintage Paperback, l982.


In a Dark Wood

In a Dark Wood
London: Vintage Paperback, 1977.


Mermaids in the Basement

Mermaids in the Basement
London: Vintage, l993.

Stories. Translated in its entirety into French, and partially into German.

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