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No Go the Bogeyman


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'It is impossible not to be dazzled by the brilliance of Marina Warner... No Go the Bogeyman is delightful, enchanting, discursive, funny, erudite' - Guardian

About the Author

Marina Warner is a novelist, historian and critic; her fiction includes Indigo, The Lost Father (awarded a Marina Warner spent her early years in Cairo, and was educated at a convent in Berkshire, and then in Brussels and London, before studying modern languages at Oxford. She is an internationally acclaimed cultural historian, critic, novelist and short story writer. From her early books on the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc, to her bestselling studies of fairy tales and folk stories, From the Beast to the Blonde and No Go the Bogeyman, her work has explored different figures in myth and fairy tale and the art and literature they have inspired. She lectures widely in Europe, the United States and the Middle East, and is currently Professor in the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, University of Essex. She was appointed CBE in 2008.


In this companion volume to her acclaimed From the Beast to the Blonde (LJ 10/1/95), Warner provides a fascinating cultural exploration of fear. Noting that "the ambiguous satisfactions of scariness have been cultivated more intensely during this century than ever before," she traces the "bogeyman" and other frightening figures of folklore and fairy tales through centuries of mythology, religion, literature, art history, and popular culture, examining both the psychic and cultural mechanisms for arousing and controlling fear and the use of lullabies and jokes as defenses against it. Learned, well written, and full of interesting detail, this is a stimulating and entertaining read, offering insights on almost every page. Extensively researched and copiously illustrated in black-and-white and color, it will serve as a resource for scholars in many fields and should appeal to general readers as well.‘Julia Burch, Cambridge, MA

Noting an unprecedented and growing fascination with the grotesque in contemporary life, British cultural historian Warner (From the Beast to the Blond: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers) has amassed an eclectic compendium of fact, folklore, history and art, examining the seductive charm of monsters, ogres, witches and other figures of horror from centuries past. According to Warner, the enormous popularity of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series of juvenile fiction, the dark comedies of filmmaker Quentin Tarantino and the use of "Quasimodo humps and lumps and lopsided pads" by designer Rei Kawabuko in her spring 1997 collection for Comme des Garçons are only the latest manifestations of a long-standing gothic tradition. She pinpoints three ways that horror serves to allay and confront human fears of abuse, abandonment and death: scaring (fear as a positive visceral experience); lulling ("Lullabies weave a protective web of words and sounds against raiders who come with the night..."); and making mock (dark comedy as a defense against fear). Freewheeling from text to text, Warner looks at fairy tales, cannibalism in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus and Roald Dahl's The BFG, the Circe myth, the sexual symbolism of the banana and the visual art of Francisco Goya, Michelangelo Caravaggio, Louis Desprez and Albert Eckhout. Arguing that bogeymen and monsters are frequently cast as our alter egos, Warner demonstrates the strong ties between these figures and children, both as sources of identity (as in Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are) and of danger. Though sometimes digressive, this encyclopedic and kaleidoscopic volume will keep fans of the grotesque reading late into the night. 100 b&w illustrations and 30 color plates (Feb.)

"A rich feast of a volume. No one knows more about the myths, tales and large dollops of art and culture which go into the shaping of our imagination" -- Lisa Appignanesi * Independent, Books of the Year *
"No Go the Bogeyman is a study of terror. It is not a book for the faint-hearted or the intellectually fragile... A fascinating and disturbing book" * Sunday Telegraph *
"This is a writer with power to change your imagination... Startling and shocking and delightful, No Go the Bogeyman is a treasure trove of stories, an indispensible reference work, a compendium of cultural images" * Independent *
"Warner is a wonderful storyteller... Her range of references is startling... but she keeps her head and treads nimbly through, following the thread of her argument... with humane learning, wit and ease" -- Gillian Beer * Daily Telegraph *

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