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Engendering Genre

The Works of Margaret Atwood

Reingard M. Nischik

Publication Year: 2010

Winner of the 2010 Margaret Atwood Society Best Book Prize. In Engendering Genre, renowned Margaret Atwood scholar Reingard M. Nischik analyzes the relationship between gender and genre in Atwood’s works. She approaches Atwood’s oeuvre by genre – poetry, short fiction, novels, criticism, comics, and film – and examines them individually. She explores how Atwood has developed her genres to be gender-sensitive in both content and form and argues that gender and genre are inherently complicit in Atwood’s work: they converge to critique the gender-biased designs of traditional genres. This combination of gender and genre results in the recognizable Atwoodian style that shakes and extends the boundaries of conventional genres and explores them in new ways. The book includes the first in-depth treatment of Atwood’s cartoon art as well as the first survey of her involvement with film, and concludes with an interview with Margaret Atwood on her career “From Survivalwoman to Literary Icon.”

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Cover Page

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. ix-xi

I still remember when I taught my first course ever on Margaret Atwood, back in 1982. I was thrilled with this new author from Canada, whose literary styles, whose language and themes, and whose personality I found intriguing. Here was literature that I felt...

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pp. 1-15

One important aspect of Margaret Atwood’s extraordinary creativity and productivity over the past five decades—her first book, the poetry collection Double Persephone, appeared in 1961—has been the wide range of genres in which she has been...

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1: Power Politics Or, The End of Romantic Love Poetry?

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pp. 17-47

Margaret Atwood’s career as a creative writer began during her student days in Toronto and at Harvard University, and her first major published works were volumes of poetry. The Circle Game(1966), her second poetry collection, won her the...

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2: Murder in the Dark Atwood’s Inverse Poetics of Intertextual Minuteness in Her Short Fictions and Prose Poems

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pp. 49- 70

The dichotomy between small and large is a motif that recurs frequently in the works of Margaret Atwood. This is particularly evident in her various cartoons (see chapter 7), but she also makes repeated use of the small/large dichotomy in her literary texts,...

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3: “Untold Stories, Fresh Beginnings” Atwood’s Short Stories

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pp. 71- 95

Considering earlier criticism of Margaret Atwood’s short fiction, one becomes aware of a seeming critical paradox: Atwood is a major figure on the contemporary literary scene, and she is the figurehead of Canadian literature. The short story, in turn, has been...

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4: “Nomenclatural Mutations” The Development of Forms of Address and Referencefor Female and Male Characters in Atwood’s Novels

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pp. 97-129

Historically one of the first areas to be investigated by scholars interested in institutionalized gender differences was language. From the 1970s onward, North American, British, and German scholarship in particular revealed the extent to which the English and...

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5: How Atwood Fared in Hollywood Atwood and Film (Esp. The Handmaid’s Tale)

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pp. 131-167

Margaret Atwood is a strikingly intertextual and intermedial writer, constantly involved in probing and intermingling different textual formats and media. She frequently discusses and even incorporates other media, especially the visual arts, into her...

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6: “On Being a Woman Writer” Atwood as Literary and Cultural Critic

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pp. 169- 193

For such a prolific writer of fiction and poetry, Margaret Atwood has an astonishingly large output of expository prose on diverse literary, cultural, and political issues to her credit. She is a poeta doctus if ever there was one. Her expository prose extends from reviews...

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7: “Survivalwoman, Survivalcreature, Womanwoman” Atwood as Cartoonist

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pp. 195- 252

This chapter represents the first extended publication on Margaret Atwood’s comics.1 I want to introduce her comics oeuvre here, paying specific attention to the question of how far gender is also an important aspect of her comics with respect to content, theme,...

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8: From Survivalwoman to Literary Icon An Interview with Margaret Atwood

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pp. 253-276

This interview (shortened for publication) took place in Toronto in a caf

List of Margaret Atwood’s Comics

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pp. 291-279


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pp. 281-294


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pp. 295-315

E-ISBN-13: 9780776618913
E-ISBN-10: 0776618911
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776607245
Print-ISBN-10: 0776607243

Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 9 black and white illustrations
Publication Year: 2010