Dire Cartographies: The Roads to Ustopia and The Handmaid's Tale

Dire Cartographies: The Roads to Ustopia and The Handmaid's Tale

by Margaret Atwood

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Overview

In honor of the thirtieth anniversary of The Handmaid’s Tale: Margaret Atwood describes how she came to write her utopian, dystopian works.
 
The word “utopia” comes from Thomas More’s book of the same name—meaning “no place” or “good place,” or both. In “Dire Cartographies,” from the essay collection In Other Worlds, Atwood coins the term “ustopia,” which combines utopia and dystopia, the imagined perfect society and its opposite. Each contains latent versions of the other. Following her intellectual journey and growing familiarity with ustopias fictional and real, from Atlantis to Avatar and Beowulf to Berlin in 1984 (and 1984), Atwood explains how years after abandoning a PhD thesis with chapters on good and bad societies, she produced novel-length dystopias and ustopias of her own. “My rules for The Handmaid’s Tale were simple,” Atwood writes. “I would not put into this book anything that humankind had not already done, somewhere, sometime, or for which it did not already have the tools.” With great wit and erudition, Atwood reveals the history behind her beloved creations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101972007
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/08/2015
Series: A Vintage Short
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 32
Sales rank: 731,597
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

MARGARET ATWOOD, whose work has been published in thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid's Tale, her novels include Cat's Eye, short-listed for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; Oryx and Crake, short-listed for the 2003 Man Booker Prize; The Year of the Flood; and her most recent, MaddAddam.She is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Innovator's Award, and lives in Toronto with the writer Graeme Gibson.

Hometown:

Toronto, Ontario

Date of Birth:

November 18, 1939

Place of Birth:

Ottawa, Ontario

Education:

B.A., University of Toronto, 1961; M.A. Radcliffe, 1962; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1967

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