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Marina Sarah Warner, CBE, FBA (born 9 November 1946 in Londonmarker, Englandmarker) is a British novelist, short story writer, historian and mythographer. She is known for her many non-fiction books relating to feminism and myth.

Early life

She was born in London to an English father and Italian mother. Her paternal grandfather was the Englishmarker cricketer Sir Pelham Warner. She was brought up in Cairomarker, Brusselsmarker and in Berkshire, Englandmarker, and studied French and Italian at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxfordmarker. She attended St Mary's School Ascotmarker, and received an honorary doctorate (DLitt) from the University of Oxfordmarker on 21 June 2006. In 1971 she married William Shawcross, with whom she had a son Conrad Shawcross, though they later divorced.


Her first book was The Dragon Empress: The Life and Times of Tz'u-hsi, Empress Dowager of China, 1835-1908 (1972), followed by the controversial Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (1976) a provocative study of Catholic adoration of the Virgin Mary. These were followed by Monuments & Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form and Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism.

Her novel The Lost Father was on the Booker Prize shortlist in 1988; the non-fiction From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers won a Mythopoeic Award in 1996. The companion study of the male terror figure (from ancient myth and folklore to modern obsessions), No Go the Bogeyman: On Scaring, Lulling, and Making Mock was published in 2000 and won the British Academy's Rose Mary Crawshay Prize that year.. Her other novels include The Leto Bundle and Indigo.

She gave the 1994 Reith Lectures, Managing Monsters, is an Honorary Professor of St Andrews Universitymarker and is a current Professor at the University of Essexmarker.

Her latest book is Phantasmagoria (2006), tracing the ways in which 'the spirit' has been represented across different mediums, from waxworks to cinema.

She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.


  • The Dragon Empress: Life and Times of Tz'u-hsi 1835-1908 (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1972)

  • Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1976) ISBN 0-330-28771-0

  • In a Dark Wood (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1977)

  • Queen Victoria Sketch Book (Macmillan, 1979)

  • The Crack in the Tea-Cup: Britain in the 20th Century (AndrĂ© Deutsch, 1979)

  • Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1981)

  • The Impossible Day (Methuen, 1981)

  • The Impossible Night (Methuen, 1981)

  • The Impossible Bath (Methuen, 1982)

  • The Impossible Rocket (Methuen, 1982)

  • The Skating Party (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1982)

  • The Wobbly Tooth (AndrĂ© Deutsch, 1984)

  • Monuments and Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1985)

  • The Lost Father (Chatto & Windus, 1988)

  • Into the Dangerous World (Chatto & Windus, 1989)

  • Imagining a Democratic Culture (Charter 88, 1991)

  • Indigo (Chatto & Windus, 1992)

  • L'Atalante (British Film Institute, 1993)

  • Mermaids in the Basement (Chatto & Windus, 1993)

  • Richard Wentworth (Thames & Hudson, 1993)

  • From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers (Chatto & Windus, 1994)

  • Managing Monsters: Six Myths of Our Time (Reith Lectures) (Vintage, 1994)

  • Wonder Tales: Six Stories of Enchantment (editor) (Chatto & Windus, 1994)

  • Six Myths Of Our Time: Little Angels, Little Monsters, Beautiful Beasts, and More (New York: Vintage Books, 1995)

  • Donkey Business Donkey Work: Magic and Metamorphoses in Contemporary Opera (University of Wales, 1996)

  • The Inner Eye: Art beyond the Visible (National Touring Exhibitions, 1996)

  • No Go the Bogeyman: Scaring, Lulling and Making Mock (Chatto & Windus, 1998)

  • The Leto Bundle (Chatto & Windus, 2001)

  • Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds (Oxford University Press, 2002)

  • Murderers I Have Known and Other Stories (Chatto & Windus, 2002)

  • Collected Poems by Sally Purcell: (preface) (Anvil Press, 2002)

  • Signs & Wonders: Essays on Literature and Culture (Chatto & Windus, 2003)

  • Phantasmagoria (Oxford University Press, 2006)


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