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Life and Poems of Margaret Atwood



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    “There is so much silence between the words…”

    An Overview of Works, Styles, and Themes

    Margaret Atwood has written a great number of novels and other forms of literature. The

    major press editions are as follows:

    ¨1970, The Journals of Susanna Moodie

    ¨1987, Selected Poems II: Poems Selected and New, 1976-1986

    ¨1969, The Edible Woman1985, The Handmaid’s Tale

    ¨1972, Surfacing1988, Cat’s Eye

    ¨1976, Lady Oracle1993, The Robber Bride

    ¨1979, Life Before Man1996, Alias Grace

    ¨1995, Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut

    ¨1972, Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature

    ¨1977, Days of the Rebels 1815-1840

    ¨1982, Second Words: Selected Critical Prose

    ¨1995, Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature

    ¨1982, The New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse in English

    ¨1986, The Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English

    ¨1989, The Best American Short Stories

    ¨1995, The New Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English

    Although many have used Margaret Atwoods style of writing poetry, not one has yet to

    compete with her words. Typically, Margaret sticks to formal style of poetry, using

    original text with separated stanzas. Margarets stlye of writing gives an overwhelming

    effect to the reader; moreover, her style of writing adjusts to the theme of the particular

    The essential features of Atwood’s fictions and poetry has been described as a search for

    a personal and national identity. Survival is a central theme throughout her works, as is

    Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario, on November 18, 1939. Because her

    father was a forest entomologist, Atwood spent most of her childhood living in the

    Canadian Wilderness. During the eight months of each year that her father did insect

    research in the forest, the Atwood family lived in “a cabin with a wood stove and several

    kerosene lanterns. There were bears and wolves and moose and loons” ( qtd. in “Author

    While this lifestyle was exciting, she did not have most modern conviences and

    technology. To entertain herself, Atwood read books. They became her only means for

    entertainment and escape. “I read them all, even when they weren’t supposed to be for

    children” (qtd. in “Author Profile”).

    During this childhood of reading, Atwood also began to write. By the age of six,

    ATwood was writing poems, morality plays, comic books, and an unfinished novel about

    an ant. Ten years later, Atwood decided that she only wanted to write. She wanted to

    live a double life; to go places she had not been before; to examine life on earth; to come

    to know people in ways, and at depths, that were otherwise impossible; to be surprised;

    and to give something of what she had received.

    Two years after this life-altering decision, Atwood entered Victoria College at the

    University of Toronto. She received her bachelor’s degree from Victoria College in

    1961, and then went on to receive her Master’s degree from Radcliffe College in

    Cambridge, Massachusetts. Atwood also received education from Harvard University in

    Cambridge, Massachusetts, during 1962-63 and 1965-67.

    Atwood began her career through self-publication. She sold these books for fifty cents

    each. During this period, Atwood married Graeme Gibson, a fellow writer who was born

    in London, Ontario, in 1934. Togehter, they have three grown children and two cats.

    Although Atwood both grew up and resides presently in Canada, she ahs lived in

    numerous cities throughout the world. The Canadian residences include Ottawa, Sault

    Ste. Marie, Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Alliston, and Vancouver. In the United States,

    Atwood has lived in Boston, Massachusetts, and in Alabama. She has also lived and

    travelled in England, France, Italy , and Germany.

    Geographical, Historical, Political and Social Influences

    With respect to the fact that Atwood was raised, and spent most of her childhood in the

    Canadian wilderness, it is safe to say that her geographical surroundings influenced her

    in several ways. While residing in the wilderness of Canada, Atwood discovered her ture

    passion – literature. Some say that if Atwood had not been in the wilderness, but rather

    around the arising technology others were surrounded by, perhaps we would not have

    such magical works in our presence today.

    Although Atwood has struck upon many touchy subjects in literature, she has yet to be

    significantly influenced by historical perspectives. She may look to her past for a

    historical standpoint, or other significant women of the past; however, Atwood is known

    well for her futuristic, and her ‘in the now’ approach to writing.

    As far as literature and internet resources today, it appears the Atwood was not influenced

    in any means by a political outlook. The closest that one may come to assuming her

    political influence would be in her 1979 novel, “Life Before Man”.

    For many individuals in todays society, it is quite hard to avoid being socially influenced

    in everyday life; therefore, to believe that no one author is socially influenced in their

    Margaret Atwood has received a great number of awards and honarary degrees:

    1965, President’s Metal, University of Western Ontario

    1966, Governor Generals Award, Circle Game

    1967, Centennial Commision Potry Competition, First

    1969, Union Poetry Prize, Poetry ( Chicago)

    1974, The Bess Hoskins Prize, Poetry (Chicago)

    1977, The City of Toronto Book Award

    1977, The Canadian Bookseller’s Association Award

    1977, Periodical Distributors of Canada Short Fiction

    1981, Companion of the order of Canada

    1982, Welsh Arts Council Internationl Writer’s Prize

    1983, Periodical Distributors of Canada and the Foundation for The Advancement of

    Canadian Letters Book of the Year Award

    1986, Governor General’s Award, The Handmaids Tale

    1986, Los Angeles Times Fiction Award

    1986, Ms. Magazine, Woman of the Year

    1987, Shortlisted for the Booker Prize (England)

    1987, Shortlisted for the Ritz Hemingway Prize (Paris)

    1987, Arthur C. Clarke Award for best Science Fiction

    1987, Commonwealth Literary Prize, Regional Winner

    1987, Council for Advancement and support of Education, Silver Medal, Best Article

    1987, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

    1988, National Magazine Award for Environmental Journalism, First Prize

    1988, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Foreign Honorary member,

    1989, Torgi Talking Book (CNIB), Cat’s Eye

    1989, Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters in conjuction with the

    periodical Maketers’ of Canada Book of the Year, Cat’s Eye

    1989, Shortlisted for the Booker Prize of the Year, Cat’s Eye, (England)

    1990, Centennial Medal, Harvard University

    1992, Trillium Award for Excellence in Ontario Writing, Wilderness Tips

    1992, John Hughes Prize, from the Welsh Development Board

    1992, Book of the Year Award from the Periodical Marketers of Canada, Wilderness

    1993, Canadian Authors’ Association Novel of the Year, The Robber Bride

    1994, Commerative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation

    1994, Trillium Award for Excellence in Ontario Writing, The Robber Bride

    1994, Government of France’s Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts st des lettres

    1994, Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence, (London, UK)

    1995, Swedish Humour Association’s Internatioinal Humerous Writer Award

    1995, Best Local Author, NOW Magazine Readers’ Poll

    1995, Trillium Award for EXcellence in Ontario Writing, Morning in the Burned

    1996, Norwegian Order of Literary Merit

    1996, Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Alias Grace, (England)

    1996, Best Local Author, NOW Magazine Readers’ Poll

    1996, The Giller Prize; for Alias Grace

    Life and Poems of Margaret Atwood. (2018, Sep 30). Retrieved from

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