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Literary Criticism Canadian

The Burgess Shale

The Canadian Writing Landscape of the 1960s

by (author) Margaret Atwood

introduction by Marie Carrière

Publisher
The University of Alberta Press, Canadian Literature Centre / Centre de littérature canadienne
Initial publish date
Mar 2017
Category
Canadian, Composition & Creative Writing, Humor
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781772123012
    Publish Date
    Mar 2017
    List Price
    $12.99
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9781772123043
    Publish Date
    Mar 2017
    List Price
    $8.99

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Description

“The outburst of cultural energy that took place in the 1960s was in part a product of the two decades that came before. It’s always difficult for young people to see their own time in perspective: when you’re in your teens, a decade earlier feels like ancient history and the present moment seems normal: what exists now is surely what has always existed.”

Margaret Atwood compares the Canadian literary landscape of the 1960s to the Burgess Shale, a geological formation that contains the fossils of many strange prehistoric life forms. The Burgess Shale is not entirely about writing itself, however: Atwood also provides some insight into the meagre writing infrastructure of that time, taking a lighthearted look at the early days of the institutions we take for granted today—from writers’ organizations, prizes, and grant programs to book tours and festivals.

About the authors


Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.
Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than fifty volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction and is perhaps best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1970), The Handmaid's Tale (1983), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood's dystopic novel, Oryx and Crake, was published in 2003. The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short stories) both appeared in 2006. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, part of the Massey Lecture series, appeared in 2008, and her most recent novel, The Year of the Flood, in the autumn of 2009. Ms. Atwood's work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian. In 2004 she co-invented the Long Pen TM.
Margaret Atwood currently lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson. 

Margaret Atwood's profile page

Marie Carrière dirige le Centre de littérature canadienne de l’Université de l’Alberta, où elle enseigne aussi en études anglaises, françaises et comparées. En 2012 a paru sa deuxième monographie, Médée protéiforme, aux Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa ; elle a rassemblé, avec Patricia Demers, les textes de Régénérations : écriture des femmes au Canada (University of Alberta Press, 2014).

Marie Carrière's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"[Her talk] ranges from ladies’ undergarments to the All-Star Eclectic Typewriter Revue, from schooling in the bible and Shakespeare and comics to starting a publishing company. Atwood’s talk is, as Atwood ever is, dryly amusing.... Atwood’s talk tries to sum up a decade from various angles, finally coming to the question: 'What did we think we were doing, we young writers of that decade?' Experimenting. Describing the landscape in new ways." https://canadianwritersabroad.com/2018/10/31/tell-us-a-story]

Debra Martens

#3 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, April 30, 2017

"Through this lecture, Atwood provides an account of the past that is shaped by her signature wit, humour, and insight that readers have to come love and to equate with Canadian Literature. As a Canadian icon herself, Atwood provides a window into her own early writing days which will draw a lot of readers to this work.... It is a treasure for readers interested in Canadian Literature because this is where it all began." [Full review at http://www.prairiefire.ca/burgess-shale-canadian-writing-landscape-1960s-margaret-atwood/

Prairie Fire Review of Books

#1 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, March 19, 2017

"Covering amazing geographical, literary, and temporal sweeps in single witty comments, this work allows the reader a brief glimpse into the mind of a great writer and her perspective and experience living through what would now seem to many the Stone Age of the Canadian writing scene... [A]n invaluable and very readable assignment for students. I equally recommend this short work for a person looking for a light literary frolic through times past in Canada." Canadian Literature 237 (Summer 2019) [Full review at https://canlit.ca/article/rock-of-ages]

Shoshannah Ganz

Other titles by Margaret Atwood

Other titles by Marie Carrière

All the Feels / Tous les sens

Affect and Writing in Canada / Affect et écriture au Canada

edited by Marie Carrière, Ursula Mathis-Moser & Kit Dobson
contributions by Nicole Brossard, Matthew Cormier, Nicoletta Dolce, Louise Dupré, Margery Fee, Ana María Fraile-Marcos, Smaro Kamboureli, Aaron Kreuter, Daniel Laforest, Carmen Mata Barreiro, Heather Milne, Eric Schmaltz, Maïté Snauwaert & Jeanette Toonder

Cautiously Hopeful

Metafeminist Practices in Canada

by (author) Marie Carrière

Writing Beyond the End Times? / Écrire au-delà de la fin des temps “

The Literatures of Canada and Quebec / Les littératures au Canada et au Québec

edited by Ursula Mathis-Moser & Marie Carrière
contributions by David Boucher, Nicole Côté, Piet Defraeye, Nicoletta Dolce, Danielle Dumontet, Ana María Fraile-Marcos, Marion Kühn, Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink, Carmen Mata Barreiro, Dunja M. Mohr, Émilie Notard, Daniel Poitras, Véronique Porra, Srilata Ravi & Marion Christina Rohrleitner

Les littératures franco-canadiennes à l’épreuve du temps

edited by Lucie Hotte & François Paré
contributions by Marie Carrière, Grégoire Holtz, Kathleen Kellett, Louise Ladouceur, Jean Morency, Pamela Sing, Jimmy Thibault & Emmanuelle Tremblay

Ten Canadian Writers in Context

edited by Marie Carrière, Curtis Gillespie & Jason Purcell
contributions by Lynn Coady, Ying Chen, Michael Crummey, Jennifer Bowering Delisle, Kit Dobson, Caterina Edwards, Marina Endicott, Lawrence Hill, Daniel Laforest, Alice Major, Don Perkins, Julie Rodgers, Joseph Pivato, Eden Robinson, Gregory Scofield, Winfried Siemerling, Pamela Sing, Maïté Snauwaert, Kim Thúy & Angela Van Essen

Regenerations / Régénérations

Canadian Women's Writing / Écriture des femmes au Canada

edited by Marie Carrière & Patricia Demers
contributions by Nicole Brossard, Susan Brown, Louise Dennys, Cinda Gault, Lucie Hotte, Dean Irvine, Gary Kelly, Shauna Lancit, Mary McDonald-Rissanen, Juliet McMaster, Mary-Jo Romaniuk, Julie Roy, Susan Rudy, Chantal Savoie, Maïté Snauwaert, Rosemary Sullivan & Sheena Wilson

Médée protéiforme

by (author) Marie Carrière

Un art de vivre par temps de catastrophe

by (author) Dany Laferrière
edited by Marie Carrière

Writing in the Feminine in French and English Canada

A Question of Ethics

by (author) Marie Carrière