Marina Warner doesn't hit you over the head with a thesaurus, a dictionary or an encyclopedia. She feeds you an erudite tome that combines all three through thrilling chapters, each bite sized and delicious in its own right; when you're done you look back at the mountain of scholarship you've just consumed and have to admire the vivacity and grace with which it was presented and prepared.

Given her other work, there should be no surprise that Warner takes a subject and crafts of it a marvellously readable and weighty scholarly text. Unlike other reviewers, I found the book neither long nor disjointed. It is carefully thought through and demands its reader's attention, but then again would you want to learn from a book that didn't? Moreover, Warner's chosen approach to the subject – the phantasmagoria, the breath of soul or thought of psyche – is encyclopaedic and merits the length of the book. Illustrations, detailed contextual work, sympathetic to but always critical of her topics... there are many books on these subjects that could have learned a few things from Warner.

So what I'm trying to say is, in short, "what a lovely book!"