Marina Warner: Mythology, Fairy Tale and Realism
The article explores the ways Marina Warner’s novels reflect late twentieth-century literary
and cultural debates and at the same time retain a realistic narrative mode and are concerned with the problems of the real world. The narrator of The Lost Father (1988) is writing a novel and commenting on its progress, which in turn mirrors the 1980s critical interest in the self-reflexivity of writing. The metafictional debate in the novel includes fairy-tale and diary narratives, all in interaction with realistically portrayed historical settings in the first half of the twentieth century. Indigo, or Mapping the Waters (1992) takes inspiration from postcolonial critical theory, merging and confronting historical, mythological and fairy-tale narratives with contemporary multicultural ideas and objectives. The Leto Bundle (2001) keeps retelling and restructuring a mythological tale as a palimpsest of texts in tune with the overwhelming sense of hypertextuality at the turn of the millennium. Still, despite the fantastic transference across temporal and geographical boundaries, the novels’ characters and their stories are portrayed realistically and firmly rooted in the real and ultimately contemporary world.