PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
PNR266 Now Available
The latest issue of PN Review is now available to read online. read more
Most Read... Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing ‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing
(PN Review 236)
Next Issue Stav Poleg Running Between Languages Jeffrey Meyers on Mr W.H. (Auden) Miles Burrows The Critic as Cleaning Lady Timothy Ades translates Brecht, Karen Leeder translates Ulrike Almut Sandig
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This interview is taken from PN Review 86, Volume 18 Number 6, July - August 1992.

Marina Warner in Conversation Nicolas Tredell

LONDON, 19 MARCH 1992

Nicolas Tredell: What do you feel the decisive influences on your early development were?

Marina Warner: I suppose there are two very decisive ones. One is that I'm a foreigner by formation, because I was brought up abroad until I was 12. My mother is truly foreign and speaks English with a foreign accent. She is Italian, from the South, and interestingly she is also a marginal foreigner in that Southern Italy belongs in a despised category, or did until recently. So there was this sense of not only coming from a background which made me different from my father's - as it were, the mainstream background - but also of coming from a part of Europe which rightly or wrongly - probably quite wrongly - I felt from an early age needed to be explained, because English people would assume that my mother was a Tuscan, and then when you'd say no, Apulia, when you'd say Bari, they would say, ah, Bari, with a sort of slight look which indicated that this wasn't the Italy of romance, or the Italy of sophistication, of the Renaissance, which they had expected. This was the Italy of Carlo Levi, this was where Christ stopped. My father was a bookseller, first in Cairo after the war, and then in Brussels, and as a child I spoke English only with adults. I spoke Arabic with my playmates when I was a little girl and French ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image