Survival: a thematic guide to Canadian literature

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Anansi, 1972 - Literary Criticism - 287 pages
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"'Survival' is the most startling book ever written about Canadian literature. It is...a book of criticism, a manifesto, and a collection of personal and subversive remarks. Margaret Atwood begins by asking: 'what have been the central preoccupations of our poetry and fiction?' Her answer is twofold: 'survival and victims.' Atwood applies this thesis in twelve brilliant, witty and impassioned chapters. From Moodie to MacLennan to Blais, from Pratt to Purdy to Newlove, from Godfrey to Gibson, she lights up familiar books in wholly new perspectives." The themes are: survival; nature the monster; animal victims; early people (indians and eskimos); ancestral totems (explorers and settlers); family portrait: masks of the bear; failed sacrifices (the reluctant immigrant); the casual incident of death; the paralyzed artist; ice women vs. earth mothers; Quebec: burning mansions; and, jail-breaks and recreations.

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User Review  - libraryhermit - LibraryThing

I agree with jtho. A book from this far back in time could be considered for a re-write, but from what Margaret Atwood herself says, enough has changed that the original premise/theme/framework of the ... Read full review

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User Review  - jtho - LibraryThing

I was required to read selections of Atwood's study on Canadian literature as part of my own CanLit classes. At the time, I found the book dry. Years later, I read the book as a whole and loved it ... Read full review


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About the author (1972)

Born November 18, 1939, in Ottawa, Canada, Margaret Atwood spent her early years in the northern Quebec wilderness. Settling in Toronto in 1946, she continued to spend summers in the northern woods. This experience provided much of the thematic material for her verse. She began her writing career as a poet, short story writer, cartoonist, and reviewer for her high school paper. She received a B.A. from Victoria College, University of Toronto in 1961 and an M.A. from Radcliff College in 1962. Atwood's first book of verse, Double Persephone, was published in 1961 and was awarded the E. J. Pratt Medal. She has published numerous books of poetry, novels, story collections, critical work, juvenile work, and radio and teleplays. Her works include The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970), Power Politics (1971), Cat's Eye (1986), The Robber Bride (1993), Morning in the Buried House (1995), and Alias Grace (1996). Many of her works focus on women's issues. She has won numerous awards for her poetry and fiction including the Prince of Asturias award for Literature, the Booker Prize, the Governor General's Award in 1966 for The Circle Game and in 1986 for The Handmaid's Tale, which also won the very first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987.

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