Margaret Atwood

“Margaret Atwood: (1939-) Canadian novelist, poet, and critic. Atwood’s critical work, Survival (1972), argues that victimization is a major theme of Canadian literature and identity; she elaborates this motif in her own writings. Atwood first gained recognition as a poet with The Circle Game (1966), This and later collections of poetry, The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970), Procedures for Underground (1970), and Power Politics (1971), bitingly expose the myths of everyday life from various perspectives. Atwood’s early novels, The Edible Woman (1969), Surfacing (1972), Lady Oracle (1976), Life Before Man (1979), and Bodily Harm (1981), develop these themes as she describes women’s struggles to cope with a male-dominated society and consumerism. A futuristic dystopia, The Handmaid’s Tale (1984) depicts one woman’s chilling struggle to survive in a society ruled by a misogynistic fascism, by which women are reduced to the condition of property. In Cat’s Eye (1988) and The Robber Bride (1993), Atwood returns to a Toronto setting. Her short stories, Dancing Girls (1973), Murder in the Dark (1983), Bluebeard’s Egg (1983), and Wilderness Tips (1991), are less well known than her novels, but the form is well suited to Atwood’s sardonic humor and use of startling imagery. Good Bones (1992) is a potpourri of eclectic writings.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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