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Poetry Canadian

The Illustrated Journals of Susanna Moodie

illustrated by Charles Pachter

by (author) Margaret Atwood

Cormorant Books
Initial publish date
Sep 2014
Canadian, Women Authors, Nature
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
    List Price

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The Journals of Susanna Moodie, arguably Margaret Atwood’s finest work of poetry, was first published by Oxford University Press in 1970. In it, she adopts the voice of Susanna Strickland Moodie, an English woman who came to live in the rural area near Peterborough, Ontario in the mid-nineteenth century, and who wrote about her experiences for English readers in her classic account of Canadian pioneer life, Roughing it in the Bush. Atwood’s poetry, based on the Moodie prose, covers Moodie’s arrival in Canada in 1832 and ends with a prophetic commentary by a dead Susanna Moodie on twentieth-century Canada.


Charles Pachter began illustrating the poems in 1968, when Atwood sent him a first manuscript. Of his first reading, he has written: “It was a fateful moment. I was so stunned by its beauty and power that I realized that every early Atwood folio I had done up until now (there were five) must be a rehearsal for this.” The thirty images were completed within a year, but the original folio was not produced until 1980, when 120 copies were hand-printed in a boxed edition, which is now in public and private collections around the world. In 1997, Macfarlane Walter & Ross published a small-format edition in hard covers.

About the authors

One of Canada’s leading contemporary artists, Charles Pachter is a painter, printmaker, sculptor, designer, historian, and lecturer. He was born in Toronto, studied art history at the University of Toronto, French literature at the Sorbonne in Paris, and painting at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. His work has been exhibited at the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the McMichael Gallery. He is represented in public and private collections in Canada, the U.S., Europe, Japan, and India. His murals of Hockey Knights in Canada are featured in the College Subway Station in Toronto.

He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Member of the Order of Ontario, and a Chevalier of France's Order of Arts and Letters. He holds honourary doctorates from Brock University, OCAD University, and the University of Toronto where he is a Senior Fellow at Massey College. He is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden & Diamond Jubilee medals.

His images of the queen, moose, and maple leaf flag are icons of Canadian contemporary art. Mr. Pachter lives and works beside Grange Park in downtown Toronto in an award-winning residence and studio designed by Canadian architect Stephen Teeple. He has built a second home and studio, Moose Factory of Orillia, in a quiet lane in this historic Canadian city.

His paintings hang in Canada House in London, in the Canadian Embassy in Washington, in the Parliament Buildings, the Prime Minister’s residence, and in the Embassy of France in Ottawa. Pachter’s steel and granite moose sculptures have been installed across Canada.

Charles Pachter's profile page

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

Editorial Reviews

“Literary and visual art seldom come together to such satisfying effect.”

Montreal Gazette

“A beautiful gift for that cultivated anyone imbued with true patriot love.”

National Post

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