People today are often afflicted with a sense that they
cannot change things for the better. They feel helpless, constrained,
caught -- in a word, fatalistic. Beyond Fate, Margaret
Visser's 2002 CBC Massey Lectures
, examines why.
In her characteristic lively and highly engaging prose, Visser
investigates what fate means to us, and where the propensity
to believe in it and accept it comes from.
She takes an ancient
metaphor where time is "seen" and spoken of as though
it were space; she examines how this way of picturing reality
can be a useful tool to think with -- or, on the other hand,
how it may lead us into disastrous misunderstandings. There
are ways out. We begin by observing how fatalism expresses
itself in our daily lives, in everything from table manners
and shopping to sport. Having learned to detect the signs
by which fatalism begins to manifest itself, we can go on
to consider how to limit its influence over us, thereby gaining
new perspective on our lives and our cultures.
was born in South Africa, studied at the
Sorbonne, and received her doctorate in Classics from
the University of Toronto. She writes on the history,
anthropology, and mythology of everyday life. She is the
author of four bestselling books: The Geometry of
, finalist for the Charles Taylor Prize; Much
Depends on Dinner
, winner of the Glenfiddich Award
for Food Book of the Year; The Rituals of Dinner
which won the
Association of Culinary Professionals' Literary Food Writing
Award, and the Jane Grigson Award; and The Way We
, a collection of essays. Her books have been
translated into French, German, Portuguese, Dutch and
Chinese. She appears frequently on radio and television,
and has lectured extensively in Canada, the United States,
Europe, and Australia. She divides her time among Toronto,
Barcelona, and South-West France.
is published by House of Anansi.