Canadian author Margaret Atwood may be best known today for her 1986 dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale and its television series spin-off, but she is the author of an extraordinary body of work that continues to expand in her ninth decade. Atwood is the prodigiously brilliant author of 17 novels, 10 short story collections, 18 volumes of poetry, 7 children’s books, and 10 non-fiction books.
This course will begin with Atwood’s 1991 short story collection, Wilderness Tips, and some of her poems that treat similar themes. Atwood’s prose, like her poetry, is witty, ironic and grounded in the material and social realities of the worlds she brings to life. In response to questions about her motives as a writer Atwood has compiled a long list that begins this way: “To record the world as it is. To set down the past before it is forgotten. To excavate the past because it has been forgotten.” For Atwood, storytelling is the way we make sense of our lives and access the past. In our last class meetings, we will turn to her more recent group of stories, Stone Mattress (2014).