Rewriting myths through life writings in Marina Warner's fiction

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2013
Thesis identifier
  • T13422
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • This thesis investigates the fictionalized life writings which are engrafted upon four of Marina Warner's novels through the mise en abi╠éme technique called "metabiography". These novels are In a Dark Wood (1977), The Lost Father (1988), Indigo; or Mapping the Waters (1992) and The Leto Bundle (2000). Across this body of work, the evolution of metabiography in the postmodern novel is traced as it gradually turns from the theme of biographical research and its difficulties into the inclusion of different types of life writings within the very structure of these novels. Most importantly, it will be argued that a parallel comes to the fore between the textual exposure of life writing mechanisms and the taken-for-granted ideas or myths surrounding it. In other words, once the biographer's research methods and artistic writing techniques are fictionally uncovered, the alleged detachment and factuality of the genre are destroyed. Moreover, Warner's metabiography presents such a thematic and structural variety that other types of myths are deconstructed; either by (re)positioning the latter within their socio-historical circumstances, or by identifying their correspondences with different trends of literary theory and criticism. Warner's own concerns as a cultural historian provide the guiding principle to the typology of themes expanded by her fiction. The most recurrent ones are Catholicism, female iconography and its role in the subjection of women as well as post-colonial issues. Warner's engrafted life writings will thus be categorized and studied in relation to the variety of themes demystified: religious, folkloric, gender and ethnic/racial. The denomination of myths will be applied to the latter due to their nature as prejudiced ideas and generalizations.
Resource Type
Date Created
  • 2013
Former identifier
  • 990208