Margaret Atwood

(18 November 1939 / Ottawa, Ontario)

Quotations

  • ''Popular art is the dream of society; it does not examine itself.''
    Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), Canadian novelist, poet, critic. repr. In Conversations, ed. Earl G. Ingersoll (1990). "A Question Of Metamorphosis," no. 41, Malahat Review (1977).
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  • ''If a stranger taps you on the ass and says, "How's the little lady today!" you will probably cringe. But if he's an American, he's only being friendly.''
    Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), Canadian novelist, poet, critic. repr. In Conversations, ed. Earl G. Ingersoll (1990). "A Question Of Metamorphosis," no. 41, Malahat Review (1977). Interview.
  • ''I feel that the task of criticizing my poetry is best left to others (i.e. critics) and would much rather have it take place after I am dead. If at all.''
    Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), Canadian poet and novelist. As quoted in Contemporary Poets, 3rd ed., by James Vinson (1980).
  • ''Everyone thinks writers must know more about the inside of the human head, but that is wrong. They know less, that's why they write. Trying to find out what everyone else takes for granted.''
    Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), Canadian novelist, poet, critic. Dancing Girls, "Lives of the Poets," (1977).
  • ''The beginning of Canadian cultural nationalism was not "Am I really that oppressed?" but "Am I really that boring?"''
    Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), Canadian novelist, poet, critic. repr. In Conversations, ed. Earl G. Ingersoll (1990). "Dancing On the Edge of the Precipice," Ontario Review (Fall-Winter 1978). Interview with Joyce Carol Oates.
  • ''Men are not to be told anything they might find too painful; the secret depths of human nature, the sordid physicalities, might overwhelm or damage them. For instance, men often faint at the sight of their own blood, to which they are not accustomed. For this reason you should never stand behind one in the line at the Red Cross donor clinic.''
    Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), Canadian novelist, poet, critic. "Significant Moments in the Life of My Mother," Close Company: Stories of Mothers and Daughters, eds. Christine Park and Caroline Heaton (1987). Said of her mother's beliefs.
  • ''The basic Female body comes with the following accessories: garter belt, panti-girdle, crinoline, camisole, bustle, brassiere, stomacher, chemise, virgin zone, spike heels, nose ring, veil, kid gloves, fishnet stockings, fichu, bandeau, Merry Widow, weepers, chokers, barrettes, bangles, beads, lorgnette, feather boa, basic black, compact, Lycra stretch one-piece with modesty panel, designer peignoir, flannel nightie, lace teddy, bed, head.''
    Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), Canadian novelist, poet, critic. repr. In The Best American Essays, 1991, ed. Joyce Carol Oates (1991). "The Female Body," Michigan Quarterly Review (1990).
  • ''We yearned for the future. How did we learn it, that talent for insatiability?''
    Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), Canadian novelist, poet, critic. The Handmaid's Tale, ch. 1 (1986).
  • ''As all historians know, the past is a great darkness, and filled with echoes. Voices may reach us from it; but what they say to us is imbued with the obscurity of the matrix out of which they come; and try as we may, we cannot always decipher them precisely in the clearer light of our day.''
    Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), Canadian novelist, poet, critic. The Handmaid's Tale, "Historical Note," (1986).
  • ''She even had a kind of special position among men: she was an exception, she fitted none of the categories they commonly used when talking about girls; she wasn't a cock-teaser, a cold fish, an easy lay or a snarky bitch; she was an honorary person. She had grown to share their contempt for most women.''
    Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), Canadian novelist, poet, critic. repr. In Dancing Girls (1984). "The Man From Mars," Ontario Review (1977).

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