Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Winterson, Jeanette

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(1959-    ) UK writer whose second novel, Boating for Beginners (1985), is a Revisionist Fantasy making experimental and feminist (> Gender) play with the story of Noah. The Passion (1987), largely set in a fabulated Venice, surrounds the historical figure of Napoleon with a bevy of Companions, some with supernatural powers; in the second strand of this complex tale a woman with webbed feet falls in love with Napoleon's cook, but both eventually succumb to the terminal labyrinths of her native Venice. Sexing the Cherry (1989) engages more complexly with the matter and manner of fantasy, and constitutes an orthodox revisionist fantasy – in a mode reminiscent of Angela Carter – through sections which examine, by retelling them, various Fairytales, including "Rapunzel" and "The Twelve Dancing Princesses". At the heart of complex spirals of narrative lies an Urban-Fantasy version of 17th-century London and a central character who – though technically male – seems at moments as convincing a Temporal Adventuress as any descendant of Virginia Woolf's Orlando. Sexing the Cherry is one of the most significant texts on the Water Margins of fantasy. [JC]

Jeanette Winterson


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.