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«Of What is Past, or Passing, or to Come»

Travelling in Time and Space in Literature in English

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Edited By Liliana Sikorska

This volume, entitled Of what is past, or passing, or to come: Travelling in Time and Space in Literature in English was inspired by the work of the writer, culture historian and mythographer Marina Warner and the professor of comparative literature Cathy Caruth. The lines quoted above are from W.B. Yeats’ Sailing to Byzantium, which are recalled by one of the characters in Marina Warner’s novel In a Dark Wood (1977). The articles included in this volume are devoted to the explorations of individual space and landscape of the mind through analyzing trauma and addressing psychological wounds, and to travels into fairy tales, oriental scenery real and imaginary as well as interrelationships between memory and fiction in non-fictional and fictional discourses.
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The heirlooms and burdens of Marina Warner: Liliana Sikorska, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan / University of Social Sciences, Warsaw

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Liliana Sikorska, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań / University of Social Sciences, Warsaw

My story about Marina Warner (b.1946) began with the third edition of my Short history of English literature (2007) in which I was trying to include as many contemporary authors as possible. Not knowing her work, I wrote only a short note: “Marina Warner is a novelist and a critic. Among her most famous critical publications are The myth and cult of the Virgin Mary (1976), Monuments and maidens (1985). Her interest in fairy tales resulted in the collection of rewritten myth and fairy tales entitled Mermaids in the basement (1993). Her other works include The lost father (1988) and Indigo (1992)” (2007: 711). Since I, in my utter ignorance, did not know how important a writer and cultural historian she was, this very short and imprecise note migrated to the fourth edition of the History. I was, however, offered a chance to make amends in 2010. During a pre-conference lunch of that year our eminent guest David Dabydeen, himself a professor of literature, suggested that our next guest should be Marina Warner. I was overjoyed, even though I did not fully understand what he meant when he said “You should invite Marina Warner, she is very intellectual”. I understood his implication after researching the scholarly and literary output of Marina Warner. When the merry group of our departmental PhD students and myself started studying Warner’s work, we jointly declared that to write all this, teach...

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