Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds: Ways of Telling the Self

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Metamorphosis is a dynamic principle of creation, vital to natural processes of generation and evolution, growth and decay, yet it also threatens personal identity if human beings are subject to a continual process of bodily transformation. Shape-shifting also belongs in the landscape of magic, witchcraft, and wonder, and enlivens classical mythology, early modern fairy tales and uncanny fictions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds, acclaimed novelist and critic ...
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Overview


Metamorphosis is a dynamic principle of creation, vital to natural processes of generation and evolution, growth and decay, yet it also threatens personal identity if human beings are subject to a continual process of bodily transformation. Shape-shifting also belongs in the landscape of magic, witchcraft, and wonder, and enlivens classical mythology, early modern fairy tales and uncanny fictions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds, acclaimed novelist and critic Marina Warner explores the metaphorical power of metamorphoses in the evocation of human personality. Beginning with Ovid's great poem, The Metamorphoses, as the founding text of the metamorphic tradition, she takes us on a journey of exploration, into the fantastic art of Hieronymous Bosch, the legends of the Taino people, the life cycle of the butterfly, the myth of Leda and the Swan, the genealogy of the Zombie, the pantomime of Aladdin, the haunting of doppelgangers, the coming of photography, and the late fiction of Lewis Carroll. Beautifully illustrated and elegantly written, Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds is sure to appeal to all readers interested in mythology, art, and literature.
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Editorial Reviews

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"[A] piercing, playful use of ideas.... Warner moves with a high-wire walker's assurance, from Ovid, Bosch and Dante to James Hogg's 'Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner,' Stevenson's 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' and on to Nabokov's 'Lolita' and even Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials.' In addition, she makes several seductive moves toward that enormous threat to intellectual history, the movies.... Especially when looking at Bosch, Warner sees something like fluency in the rampant, exhilarating way forms can find new shapes. This is Warner at her playful best."--The New York Times Book Review

"In this typically agile meditation, [Warner] rewardingly charts shifting images of the imagination itself.... What makes Fantastic Metamorphoses remarkable is its dashing investigation of imagination."--The Observer

"Rules of thumb: (1) genuinely scholarly books are no delight to read, and (2) "antiquarian" studies do not illuminate the life and culture of (post)modern readers. Exception: Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds.... This irresistibly styled and splendidly illustrated treatment of generation, evolution, growth, and decay touches most of the mythological--and many of the literary-artistic--bases, but goes beyond them to encompass photography, cultural anthropology, folklore, and lepidoptery."--Virginia Quarterly Review

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Marina Warner is a prize-winning novelist, cultural historian, and critic. Her most recent novel is The Leto Bundle. Among her acclaimed non-fiction works are From the Beast to the Blonde and No Go the Bogeyman. She lives in London.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction 1
1 Mutating 29
2 Hatching 75
3 Splitting 119
4 Doubling 161
Epilogue 205
Notes 213
Picture Sources 251
Index 253
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