Cover

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Title, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-x

Contributors

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pp. xi-xviii

Abbreviated Titles

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pp. ix-xx

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Haunting Ourselves in Her Words

John Moss

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pp. 1-8

IT is INCONCEIVABLE to imagine a collection of short stories in English without Margaret Atwood's representation. It is highly unlikely a poetry anthology would exclude her work, whether it's of Canadian poetry or a survey from Beowulf to the present. Any canon of the novels of our time, in genres as diverse as speculative fiction, parody, social realism, and historical metafiction, would include an Atwood...

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Open Eyes: An Introduction

Tobi Kozakewich

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pp. 9-16

AS A POET, literary scholar, recipient of the Governor General's Award (poetry), novelist, literary critic, cartoonist, social commentator, humanitarian, Guggenheim Fellow, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, recipient of the Governor General's Award (fiction), Woman of the Year, environmental journalist, recipient of the Ciller Prize, recipient of the Booker Prize, and inductee to Canada's Walk ...

Subject/Object

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Margaret Atwood: Branding an Icon Abroad

Laura Moss

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pp. 19-34

IN THE FIFTH annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium Lecture, "A Country Imagined: Democracy and National Identity in Global Culture," author David Malouf spoke in detail about Australian history, the notion of "fairness" as a national governing principle, and the failure of the 2000 referendum on Australia becoming a republic. He was at once a national historian, a cultural analyst, and a political commentator as he spoke unflinchingly and without irony...

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"A Slightly Uneasy Eminence": The Celebrity of Margaret Atwood

Lorraine York

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pp. 35-48

THE FIRST FOUR words of my title belong to Margaret Atwood. Asked by an Australian radio host how her Booker win for The Blind Assassin (2000) would be received in Canada, she responded: I think that they will, on the one hand, be very pleased. And on the other hand, you know, Canadians are very good at coming second. They may also like to share a thing. There's a wonderful line by our songwriter Nancy White, who ...

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Eyes Wide Shut: Atwood, Bill C-32, and the Rights of the Author

Renee Hulan

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pp. 49-64

ON NOVEMBER 22, 1996, readers opening the pages of local or national newspapers would probably have recognized the prominent public figure entering the debate around Bill C-32, the bill to amend Canadian copyright law. Headlines announced the following: "Atwood wants to crack down on photocopying" in the Calgary Herald', "Authors can't afford 'theft', Atwood says: Proposed exemptions in copyright legislation called unfair to writers" in the Ottawa Citizen-, "Atwood wants...

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"Les talents de la voisine": Margaret Atwood and Quebec

Eve-Marie Kroller

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pp. 65-80

IN 2000, THIRTY-FOUR years after its original publication, Margaret Atwood's The Circle Game was published in French translation as Le cercle vicieux, and Le Devoirs literary reporter Caroline Montpetit marked the occasion with an essay and interview entitled "Margaret Atwood, pretresse, sorciere et ecrivaine," epithets to which is added the distinction of "[I'jambassadrice de la litterature canadienne" ("Margaret Atwood" Al). The standard opening description of the ...

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P.K. Page and Margaret Atwood: Continuity in Canadian Writing

Sandra Djwa

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pp. 81-94

A LITTLE OVER two decades ago Margaret Atwood gave a witty but poignant talk at the 1983 "Women and Words" conference in Vancouver, explaining just how difficult it was for her to become a poet in the early sixties. As she said, if you were a respectable academic, as she then considered herself, you did not write poetry or fiction because the only acceptable writers were dead. Then, too, if you were a woman...

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Negotiations with the Living Archive

Robert McGill

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pp. 95-106

THE IMPULSE TO archive is a common one. Whether in filing cabinets, phot albums, or chest freezers, inevitably all of us catalogue and preserve items in our possession. Restrictions of time and space mean that we also have to make decisions about what to keep and what to throw away, but for some people the options are more complex than that. In the case of an author like Margaret Atwood, not only...

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Writing History, from The Journals of Susanna Moodie to The Blind Assassin

Coral Ann Howells

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pp. 107-120

AS ANTONIA FREMONT remarked in The Robber Bride (1993), "All history is written backwards" (109), and the impulse behind this essay is likewise retrospective.... Though my main focus will be on The Robber Bride, Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin (2000), which arguably constitute Atwood's trilogy about Anglo-Canadian history from the 1840s to the millennium when The Blind Assassin was published

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Atwood and the "Autobiographical Pact"—for Reingard Nischik

Sherrill Grace

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pp. 121-134

IT is NO surprise, surely, for anyone familiar with Margaret Atwood's work to be reminded of her pervasive use of first-person pronouns. "I" and "me" are everywhere in her work from the earliest poems (of which "This is a photograph of me" is still one of the finest, most haunting examples) through her fiction, from The Edible Woman to The Blind Assassin. Offred's "I" asserts itself insistently throughout...

Earlier Novels

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"Saying Boo to Colonialism": Surfacing, Tom Thomson, and the National Ghost

Cynthia Sugars

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pp. 137-158

IN A 1972 interview with Graeme Gibson, Margaret Atwood became impatient with the endless round of predictable questions about the plot elements of Surfacing. "All the things that you've been talking about are really just the jam on the sandwich, because the interesting thing in that book is the ghost. ... [T]he other stuff in there, it's quite true, but it is a condition; it isn't what the book is about" ("Dissecting" 17). But what kind of a ghost story is it? Eli...

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A Silhouette of Madness: Reading Atwood's Surfacing

Tina Trigg

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pp. 159-170

WITH THE POSSIBLE exception of the more recent Alias Grace (1996), which complexifies, subverts, and directly challenges the reader's ability to determine the psychological state of Grace Marks with any degree of certainty, Surfacing (1972) is the novel with which Atwood's readers are most familiar as a representation of madness. And Surfacing is, in many ways, the paradigmatic Atwood novel on...

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"It looked at me with its mashed eye": Animal and Human Suffering in Surfacing

Janice Fiamengo

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pp. 171-184

ON THE OPENING page of Survival, Margaret Atwood reports that the first Canadian books she read as a child were "heart-wrenching stories of animals caged, trapped, and tormented" (29), stories in Charles G.D. Roberts's Kings in Exile and Ernest Thompson Seton's Wild Animals I Have Known. She devotes a whole chapter of Survival to stories of animal suffering, finding in the elegiac...

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Having It Both Ways? Romance, Realism, and Irony in Lady Oracle's Adulterous Affairs

Tobi Kozakewich

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pp. 185-194

FROM THE TRIANGLE comprising Marian McAlpine, Peter, and Duncan in her first published novel The Edible Woman to those in her last, Oryx and Crake (Jimmy's mother, father, and Ramona; Jimmy, Oryx, and Crake), Margaret Atwood has consistently returned to the trope of the adulterous triangle. Given W.H. New's claim that Atwood stands alongside Michael Ondaatje as the foremost Canadian writer of the ...

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How Can a Feminist Read The Handmaid's Tale? A Study of Offred's Narrative

Tai Yamamoto

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pp. 195-206

WHILE THE HANDMAID'S TALE has been hailed as "a feminist 1984? the responses of feminist critics and scholars to all aspects of the novel have not been unanimously positive. In particular, the way that Offred, in falling in love with Nick, seems to niche herself so meekly into a banal romance plot has elicited various evaluations and interpretations, even prompting one critic to argue that the novel's sexual politics...

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"Lurid Yet Muted": Narrative and the Sabotage of Dissident Voice in Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace

Julie Godin

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pp. 207-216

THE READER, THE scholar, and the critic know too well the moment, at the end of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, when "historical notes" intrude to operate a drastic repositioning of the narrative, which is suddenly configured as a problematic, mediated, "soi-disant manuscript" that has been shaped from jumbled recordings by a team of historians. Abruptly inserting a qualifying frame...

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A Contemporary Psychologist Looks at Atwood's Construction of Personality in Alias Grace

Regina M. Edmonds

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pp. 217-230

GRACE MARKS INTRIGUES and confounds us. In spite of ourselves, we are drawn in by the brutality of the murders of Nancy Montgomery and Thomas Kinnear and by the lack of clarity regarding Grace's participation in the planning and execution of these deaths. There is a certain thrill we find hard to resist in contemplating the image of a murderess....

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Atwood and Class: Lady Oracle, Cat's Eye, and Alias Grace

Frank Davey

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pp. 231-240

REVIEWERS OF AtWoood's novels in the 1970s and 1980s frequently associated her fiction with the middle class, sometimes observing that most of its characters were middle class, or at least refugees from the middle class. By the late 1980s this view had spread, along with Atwood's novels, to the United States. Here is Robert Towers in The New York Review of Books (April 27,1989), reviewing Cat's Eye:" [Atwood]...

Short Fiction and Poetry

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Funny Bones Are Good Bones: Atwood and Humour

Wanda Campbell

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pp. 243-256

WHEN ESTELLE, THE narrator of Margaret Atwood's short story, "Rape Fantasies" tries to lighten a serious moment with humour, she is greeted with a negative response: "I swear all four of them looked at me like I was in bad taste, like I'd insulted the Virgin Mary or something. I mean, I don't see what's wrong with a little joke now and then. Life's too short, right?" (DG 104). What is wrong with a little joke...

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"Back from the Dead": Journeys to the Underworld in Wilderness Tips

Pamela S. Bromberg

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pp. 257-268

MARGARET AiwooD's RECENT essay collection on being a writer takes its name, Negotiating with the Dead, from the sixth and final chapter. It is here that Atwood postulates the following: All writing of the narrative kind, and perhaps all writing, is motivated, deep down, by a fear of and a fascination with mortality—by a desire to make the risky trip to the Underworld, and to bring something or someone back from the...

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"It's still you": Aging and Identity in Atwood's Poetry

Sara Jamieson

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pp. 269-278

AS COMMENTATORS ON Morning in the Burned House have noted, Margaret Atwood undertakes an extended investigation of the aging self in the collection. In this respect the book continues and expands on an anticipation of old age initiated in earlier poems. In a poem from the mid-eighties, for example, entitled "Aging Female Poet on Laundry Day," the speaker takes note of bodily changes occurring in middle ...

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"Com[ing] Through Darkness": Margaret Atwood's "I"-Opening Lyricism

David R. Jarraway

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pp. 279-290

With the recent publication of her novel Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood's extraordinary achievement as a poet may continue to recede for a large number of her readers. This paper aims in the first instance to rekindle interest in that achievement, and will take as its starting point the clear separation Atwood makes between writing poetry and writing fiction in her National Arts Club Medal for Literature acceptance speech from 1997. There, reminiscing about ...

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Power Politics/Power Politics: Atwood and Foucault

Pilar Somacarrera

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pp. 291-304

POWER HAS TRADITIONALLY been defined as a social relation between two agents who may usefully be called the "principal" and the "subaltern" (Lukes 2), or as the capacity of powerful agents to realize their will over the will of powerless people. However, Michel Foucault's theories have radically replaced unitary and compact conceptions of power with a dynamic model in which power is seen as...

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The Two-Headed Opus

Christine Evain

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pp. 305-318

THE METAPHOR CONTAINED in the title of Atwood's volume of poetry Two Headed Poems not only is central to the eponymous poem and to the volume of poetry itself, but it also resurfaces in all of Atwood's work from her very first book of poetry to the later novels. It is my intention to demonstrate that t...he two-headed epithet may be used to describe Atwood's work not only because each book of

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Incandescence: "the power of what is not there" in Margaret Atwood's Morning in the Burned House

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pp. 319-330

WE CARRY OUR dead with us. Bent double, we bind them to our backs. Desperate, ravenous, they cling to our shoulders, nails in our hair, hooked in our scalps, wailing endearments into the whorls of our ears. We are their creatures, our blood and bones are theirs, their only frame; their names are inked into our skin, and they whisper on our breath. We are haunted, and more than half ...

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Eye-Openers: Photography in Margaret Atwood's Poetry

Reingard M. Nischik, Julia Breitbach

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pp. 331-346

WHEN IN 1973 Susan Sontag delved into the discursive depths of photography despite, or rather because of, its deceptively "shallow" appearance, Margaret Atwood had long come up with an answer from her own quest for the medium's ontological secrets. In one of her earliest poems, "This Is a Photograph of Me" (The Circle Game), the lyrical "I" instructs...

The Blind Assassin and Oryx and Crake

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Negotiating with the Looking Glass: Atwood, Her Protagonists, and the Journey to the Dead

Phyllis Sternberg Perrakis

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pp. 349-360

WHILE MARGARET ATWOOD has always questioned what Carolyn Heilbrun calls "the traditional female existence"(124), since her late forties Atwood's writing has increasingly investigated the process by which older women acquire "new attitudes and new courage."1 Protagonists like Elaine Risley in Cat s Eye, Roz, Chads, and Tony in The Robber Bride, and Iris...

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The Body of/as Evidence: Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin, and the Feminist Literary Mystery

Wendy Roy

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pp. 361-372

IN HIS REVIEW of Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin, Thomas Mallon of The New York Times complains that [t]he answer to the book's chief matter of suspense—the source of the Zycron stories—answers itself so obviously and early that Iris [the framing narrator], while disclosing the truth in the book's last pages, feels obliged to concede to the reader, "you must have...

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The Dead Are in the Hands of the Living: Memory Haunting Storytelling in Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin

Helena Hyttinen

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pp. 373-384

MARGARET AiwooD's NOVEL The Blind Assassin encompasses a diversity of literary genres that are reworked in order to bring about alternative effects as they transcend their traditional forms, functions, and gender codes. Atwood is hence highly involved in scrutinizing not only social and political structures but also the structures prevailing within the realm of literature, from a perspective that highlights power...

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Margaret Atwood and the Critical Limits of Embodiment

Sally Chivers

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pp. 385-396

IN A GROUNDBREAKING special issue of Public Culture, Carol A. Breckenridge and Candace Vogler reinsert embodiment into the emerging contested terrain of the New Disability Studies. The disabled body is a "problem" for disability scholars not because its aberrance must be contained or fixed by the helping professions but because it signifies difference from other forms of difference studies based on gender, race, or ..

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Frankenstein's Gaze and Atwood's Sexual Politics in Oryx and Crake

Sharon R. Wilson

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pp. 397-406

FROM AS EARLY AS the poem first published in a rare book as Speeches for Doctor Frankenstein (1966), Margaret Atwood has been concerned with creation parables like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The theme and several images in this poem recur in Atwood's recent and alarming novel, Oryx and Crake. Also published in The Animals...

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The Representation of the Absent Mother in Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake

Nathalie Foy

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pp. 407-420

THERE is A burgeoning genre of writing about the meaning of motherhood in twenty-first-century industrialized society, with books that range from humorous works of fiction (Allison Pearson's I Dont Know How She Does It and Helen Simpson's Hey Yeah Right Get a Life) to sardonic life writing (Marni Jackson's The Mother Zone and Andrea Buchanan's Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute of It), and f...

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Resistance in Futility: The Cyborg Identities of Oryx and Crake

Michele Lacombe

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pp. 421-432

OPEN SESAME: "ADAM named the animals. MaddAddam customizes them' (OC 216). Open sesame: "It was the picture of Oryx, seven or eight years old, naked except for her ribbons, her flowers" (215). When Jimmy first encounters the image of the prepubescent Oryx on Crake's computer when they are both teenagers, he starts feeling guilty about surfing the net, but also that he feels "hooked through the ...

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Oryx and Crake: Atwood's Ironic Inversion of Frankenstein

Hilde Staels

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pp. 433-446

SINCE THE 1970s, we have lived in a world in which biotechnology is in the service of corporate profit. In the United States, western Europe, and Japan, techniques of genetic engineering have been developed that cross the line between nature and artifice. In her widely acclaimed novel Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood depicts a futuristic world in which the total rule of technoscience involves the radical exclusion...

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Atwood's Global Ethic: The Open Eye, The Blinded Eye

Diana Brydon

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pp. 447-458

TAKING MY LEAD from Atwood's commentary, I have shaped this paper around the themes of "negotiating with the dead" and the dangers of the one-eyed imagination. In what sense is the open eye also the blinded eye and what is the relationship between blindness and vision? Reading Oryx and Crake, I kept thinking of that old saying, "In the world of the blind the one-eyed man is king." Both Crake and Jimmy/Snowman ...

Postscript

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Propositions from a (Reap)praising Margaret Atwood Conference

Frank Davey

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pp. 461-464

No one can sound more jaded than Margaret Atwood: Paul Gessell, The Ottawa Citizen. There are more than 100 registrants from fourteen countries: organizer, John Moss, addressing communicants....

Index

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pp. 465-474

Series Info

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