No Go the Bogeyman: Scaring, Lulling, and Making Mock

No Go the Bogeyman: Scaring, Lulling, and Making Mock

by Warner, Farrar Straus and Giroux
     
 

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An exciting new work, richly illustrated, on the age-old images and stories about frightening men.

In this provocative new work, Marina Warner goes beyond the terrain she covered in her widely praised From the Beast to the Blonde. She explores the darker, wilder realm where ogres and giants devour children, where bogeymen haunt the night and each of us must

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Overview

An exciting new work, richly illustrated, on the age-old images and stories about frightening men.

In this provocative new work, Marina Warner goes beyond the terrain she covered in her widely praised From the Beast to the Blonde. She explores the darker, wilder realm where ogres and giants devour children, where bogeymen haunt the night and each of us must face our bugaboos. No Go the Bogeyman considers the enduring presence and popularity of figures of male terror, establishing their origins in mythology and their current relation to ideas about sexuality and power, youth and age.

Songs, stories, images, and films about frightening monsters have always been invented to allay the very terrors that our dreams of reason conjure up. Warner shows how these images and stories, while they may unfold along different lines--scaring, lulling, or making mock-always have the strategic, simultaneous purpose of both arousing and controlling the underlying fear. In a brilliant analysis of material long overlooked by cultural critics, historians, and even psychologists, Warner revises our understanding of storytelling in contemporary culture, of masculine identity, racial stereotyping, and the dangerous, unthinking ways we perpetuate the bogeyman.

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Editorial Reviews

Bel Mooney
Consistently stimulating and beautifully written, this book brings what Bruno Bettelheim calls our 'existential anxieties' into the light and is a salutary reminder that intelligence itself is the surest way of dealing with them.
The Times (London)
Hugh Haughton
Brilliant... monumental... [Warner] is by turns a shrewd cultural historian of our 'late grotesque' period and an erudite social commentator.
The Observer Review
Beth Kephart
Nothing can take away from the massive achievement of this book.... Everyline yields something fine—something angularly intelligent, something shocking.
The Sun (Baltimore)
Michael Dirda
No Go the Bogeyman is a dream of a book. Dip into it anywhere and you will draw up wonders.
The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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 Garcons are only the latest manifestations of a longstanding 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.
Library Journal
In this companion volume to her acclaimed From the Beast to the Blonde, 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, Massachusetts
— Barbara Hoffert
— Barbara Hoffert
— Barbara Hoffert
— Barbara Hoffert
— Barbara Hoffert
— Barbara Hoffert
Tanya Luhrmann
...[A] romp through a learned catalogue of things that go bump in the night....All of them are intriguing and many are riveting... -- The New York Times Book Review
Elizabeth Gleick
Best dipped into rather than read in one go, the book very much matches contemporary experience.
Time
Kirkus Reviews
Warner continues her erudite and entertaining investigation of fairy tales (begun in From the Beast to the Blonde) in a new study of the pleasure we derive from the fearful figures in tales and songs.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374223014
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
02/28/1999
Pages:
435
Product dimensions:
6.52(w) x 9.43(h) x 1.76(d)

What People are saying about this

Wendy Doniger
In No Go the Bogeyman, Marina Warner... excavates the ancient history of nightmares... exposing them to the brilliant light of her own erudition and wisdom.

Meet the Author

Marina Warner is the author of novels and short stories as well as works of nonfiction. Her most recent books include From the Beast to the Blonde (FSG, 1995) and Wonder Tales (FSG, 1996). She lives in London.

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