Marina Warner

Marina Warner is a writer of fiction, cultural history and criticism. Her award-winning books include Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (l976), From the Beast to the Blonde (1994) and No Go the Bogeyman (1998). In l994 she gave the BBC Reith Lectures on the theme of Six Myths of Our Time (the year after Edward Said gave his Reith Lectures). Her recent books include Fantastic Metamorphoses; Other Worlds (2002) and Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors, and Media (2006). Marina Warner is the President of the British Comparative Literature Association and Professor of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies at the Universityof Essex. She has been a Fellow of the Remarque Institute, NYU,  and is a visiting professor at NYU Abu Dhabi. She is a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, a Fellow of the British Academy, was made an Hon D. Litt by Oxford University, and was awarded a CBE for services to literature in 2008. More information


Burning the many-coloured fish: Re-readings in the 1001 Nights 

Is there a political vision for today in the stories of the Arabian Nights? Can Edward Said’s thoughts on contrapuntal interpretation and late style be applied to these fairy tales. Is oriental fabulism a form of polyvalent allegory? 

The Victorian translators and editors of the book were demolished by Said in Orientalism. But he expressed admiration for other interpreters, and new editions, such as that by Andre Miquel and Jamel Eddine Bencheikh in 2005,  have revisioned the book with sensitive awareness of its context and meanings.

Marina Warner will explore the question of the Nights in our time of antagonism, with special attention to ‘The Prince of the Black Isles’ in which a multicultural city is first destroyed, then restored.