Margaret Atwood: Vision and Forms

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Kathryn Van Spanckeren, Kathryn VanSpanckeren, Jan Garden Castro
Southern Illinois University Press, 1988 - Literary Criticism - 269 pages
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A prolific writer and versatile social critic, Canadian novelist and poet Margaret Atwood has recently published Bluebeard’s Egg (short stories), Interlunar (poetry), and The Handmaid’s Tale a critically acclaimed best-selling novel.

This international collection of essays evaluates the complete body of her work—both the acclaimed fiction and the innovative poetry. The critics represented here—American, Australian, and Canadian—address Atwood’s handling of such themes as feminism, ecology, the gothic novel, and the political relationship between Canada and the United States.

The essays on Atwood’s novels introduce the general reader to her development as a writer, as she matures from a basically subjective, poetic vision, seen in Surfacing and The Edible Woman, to an increasingly engaged, political stance, exemplified by The Handmaid’s Tale. Other essays examine Atwood’s poetry, from her transformation of the Homeric model to her criticisms of the United States’ relationship with Canada. The last two critical essays offer a unique view of Atwood through an investigation of her use of the concept of shamanism and through a presentation of eight of her vivid watercolors.

The volume ends with Atwood presenting her own views in an interview with Jan Garden Castro and in a conversation between Atwood and students at the University of Tampa, Florida.

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About the author (1988)

Kathryn Van Spanckeren is Associate Professor of English at the University of Tampa, Florida. With Robert A. Morace she edited John Gardner: Critical Perspectives (Southern Illinois University Press), and she edits the Margaret Atwood Society Newsletter.

Jan Garden Castro is on the Communications faculty at Lindenwood College. The founder of the Margaret Atwood Society, she introduced Atwood at the 1984 MLA National Convention. She has published numerous essays, interviews with writers, poetry, and the illustrated critical biography The Art & Life of Georgia O'Keeffe.

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