Lecture Date: 4-18-1994
Click the link below to listen ot his celebrity's lecture:
Interview: Author Margaret Atwood is introduced by Dean John Eadie and Professor Anita Skeen. Skeen describes the intertwining of human love and cruelty in Atwood's works. Atwood commences the lecture by discussing the nature of being a writer and details that her lecture is to be about the bad behavior of female characters in novels. In her writing, she represents both females and males as they are in real life, not as the roles assigned to them, and she defines novels by what they are not. The author discusses the difficulty of being a novelist, as compared to being a literary critic. She lists the questions that a novelist must ask her or himself in order to write a successful novel. Art, in general, and the novel, specifically, is "what you can get away with," says Atwood. Female characters are now able to take on different roles in novels and are able to "get away with" more. This change reflects the change of women's roles in society. The introduction of the bad female character has added interest and variety to literature. Atwood talks about the different kinds of the bad female characters as well their possible motivations. When questioned by the audience, Atwood discusses what it is like to be a writer, which writers she enjoys reading, and gives advice to young writers. She concludes her lecture by sharing her personal connection to some of the characters in her novels, the movie adapted from her book The Handmaid's Tale (2000), the male response to her works, and her poetry.
Biography: Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto, Canada. She is best known as the author of editions such as The Handmaids Tale (1985) and The Edible Woman (1969). Each work addresses popular contemporary issues such as feminism and the nature of mass society. Her most recent novel, The Blind Assassin (2000), won the Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood has lectured in a variety of universities, released more than twenty-five volumes of essays, poetry, and novels, and currently resides in Toronto with novelist Graeme Gibson.