World Literature in EnglishCanadian Lit. and Film

Margaret Atwood

The Edible Woman


The Handmaid's Tale

The Robber Bride

"Bluebeard's Egg"

"Rape Fantasies" (a group report)

Margaret Atwood:
  1. Concerned with Canada's cultural identity; Feminist concerns; Survival (1972)
  2. Duality "Tricks with Mirror" Two-Headed Poems (1978); Victim mentality
  3. So far she's written 42 books; 10 novels;
  4. Styles: Postmodern, self-reflexive mode; mixing poetry and fiction, mixing a lot of genres (Gothic, detective story, fairy tales, family romance, comedy, allegory, etc.)
  5. Atwood on HA:  '''I delayed writing it for about three years after I got the idea because I felt it was too crazy,'' Miss Atwood says.  ''Then two things happened. I started noticing that a lot of the things I thought I was more or less making up were now happening, and indeed more of them have happened since the publication of the book.  There is a sect now, a Catholic charismatic spinoff sect, which calls the women handmaids. They don't go in for polygamy of this kind but they do threaten the handmaids according to the biblical verse I use in the book - sit down and shut up. "
  6. The Handmaid's Tale not being science fiction but based on real political, historical and contemporary events." (from BBC Interviews Atwood (1996); this part)
  7. Atwood's 1987 essay opposing the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement: "Canada as a separate but dominated country has done about as well under the U.S. as women, worldwide, have done under men; about the only position they've ever adopted towards us, country to country, has been the missionary position, and we were not on top."(82)