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Waltzing Again: New and Selected Conversations with Margaret Atwood

Overview

"I don't mind being 'interviewed' any more than I mind Viennese waltzing—that is, my response will depend on the agility and grace and attitude and intelligence of the other person. Some do it well, some clumsily, some step on your toes by accident, and some aim for them."—Margaret Atwood

This gathering of 21 interviews with Margaret Atwood covers a broad spectrum of topics. Beginning with Graeme Gibson's "Dissecting the Way a Writer Works" ...
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2006 Trade paperback New. No dust jacket as issued. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 280 p. Audience: General/trade. Small Remainder Mark, Very Minor Shelf Wear

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Overview

"I don't mind being 'interviewed' any more than I mind Viennese waltzing—that is, my response will depend on the agility and grace and attitude and intelligence of the other person. Some do it well, some clumsily, some step on your toes by accident, and some aim for them."—Margaret Atwood

This gathering of 21 interviews with Margaret Atwood covers a broad spectrum of topics. Beginning with Graeme Gibson's "Dissecting the Way a Writer Works" (1972), the conversations provide a forum for Atwood to talk about her own work, her career as a writer, feminism, and Canadian cultural nationalism, and to refute the autobiographical fallacy. These conversations offer what Earl Ingersoll calls "a kind of 'biography' of Margaret Atwood—the only kind of biography she is likely to sanction." Enlivened by Atwood's unfailing sense of humor, the interviews present an invaluable view of a distinguished contemporary writer at work.

From the Interviews:
"Let's not pretend that the interview will necessarily result in any absolute and blinding revelations. Interviews too are an art form; that is to say, they indulge in the science of illusion."
"I don't think you ever know how to write a book. You never know ahead of time. You start every time at zero. A former success doesn't mean that you're not going to make the most colossal failure the next time."
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Ingersoll has authored and edited a number of books of interviews and literary criticism, including an earlier collection of interviews with Atwood, Margaret Atwood: Conversations (1990). Owing to Atwood's increased literary output and decidedly more international reputation in 2005, Ingersoll felt that an updated collection was needed. Through these "new" chronologically arranged conversations (conducted over four decades), we get a good sense of Atwood's take on literary critics (pedantic), her process of writing (lots of revisions), and her aversion to being labeled (she is informed by her Canadian sensibilities but resists being pigeonholed as a Canadian writer). Echoing throughout the conversations are the same careful choice of words, style of language, sharp wit, and sense of humor that one finds in her writing. Ingersoll's selection supports his thesis of her importance as a major writer and her worldwide renown, with perhaps a bit too much emphasis on her disdain for critics. Not essential reading for Atwood aficionados but certainly informative, this collection is recommended for academic libraries and larger public libraries.-Gina Kaiser, Univ. of the Sciences Lib. in Philadelphia Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865381179
  • Publisher: Ontario Review Books
  • Publication date: 4/10/2006
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret  Atwood
Earl G. Ingersoll has published a number of critical books and edited Margaret Atwood: Conversations and Doris Lessing: Conversations for Ontario Review Press. He lives in Churchville, New York.

Biography

When Margaret Atwood announced to her friends that she wanted to be a writer, she was only 16 years old. It was Canada. It was the 1950s. No one knew what to think. Nonetheless, Atwood began her writing career as a poet. Published In 1964 while she was still a student at Harvard, her second poetry anthology, The Circle Game, was awarded the Governor General's Award, one of Canada's most esteemed literary prizes. Since then, Atwood has gone on to publish many more volumes of poetry (as well as literary criticism, essays, and short stories), but it is her novels for which she is best known.

Atwood's first foray into fiction was 1966's The Edible Woman, an arresting story about a woman who stops eating because she feels her life is consuming her. Grabbing the attention of critics, who applauded its startlingly original premise, the novel explored feminist themes Atwood has revisited time and time again during her long, prolific literary career. She is famous for strong, compelling female protagonists -- from the breast cancer survivor in Bodily Harm to the rueful artist in Cat's Eye to the fatefully intertwined sisters in her Booker Prize-winning novel The Blind Asassin.

Perhaps Atwood's most legendary character is Offred, the tragic "breeder" in what is arguably her most famous book, 1985's The Handmaid's Tale. Part fable, part science fiction, and part dystopian nightmare, this novel presented a harrowing vision of women's lives in an oppressive futuristic society. The Washington Post compared it (favorably) to George Orwell's iconic 1984.

As if her status as a multi-award-winning, triple-threat writer (fiction, poetry, and essays) were not enough, Atwood has also produced several children's books, including Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut (1995) and Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes (2003) -- delicious alliterative delights that introduce a wealth of new vocabulary to young readers.

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    1. Hometown:
      Toronto, Ontario
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 18, 1939
    2. Place of Birth:
      Ottawa, Ontario
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Toronto, 1961; M.A. Radcliffe, 1962; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1967
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

Dissecting the way a writer works 1
A question of metamorphosis 18
My mother would rather skate than scrub floors 37
Dancing on the edge of the precipice 43
Defying distinctions 55
Articulating the mute 66
Using what you're given 79
Tightrope-walking over Niagara Falls 90
Waltzing again 119
There are no texts without life 125
Opening a door onto a completely unknown space 139
The beaver's tale 153
The ancient mariner experience of writing, and reading 164
Struggling with your angel 172
Finding the inner silence to listen 177
To write is to wrestle with an angel in the mud 186
Not a cash crop 200
Starting with the back shelves of the museum 209
Letting the words do the work 222
Fifty-two ways of making butter 236
Awaiting the perfect storm 253
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