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Margaret Atwood on Canadian literature

The Story


"A literature is produced by a culture and exists within a culture." In this poignant interview from 1973, Margaret Atwood talks about the struggle of Canada's literature to find its identity in the world. She also talks about her writing style and the hours of effort it took her to write The Edible Woman and Surfacing. Atwood also discusses Survival: A thematic guide to Canadian Literature, a book of literary criticism for the non-academic. It is her first book of criticism.

Medium: Television
Program: Impressions
Broadcast Date: July 22, 1973
Guest: Margaret Atwood
Interviewer: Ramsay Cook
Duration: 24:42
The poems Game After Supper and Interview with a Tourist are from Margaret Atwood's collection Procedures for Underground published by Oxford University Press, 1971.

Did You know?


• Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa in 1939. By the time of this interview, she was best recognized for her poetry and the bestselling novel, The Edible Woman.

• Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature sold over 30,000 copies in its first year of publication. It was republished in 2004.


• Ramsay Cook was born in Alameda, Sask. in 1931. When he hosted this program in the summer of 1973, he was recognized as one of Canada's best scholars in Canadian history. In 1966 he published Canada and the French Canadian Question.  He died July 14, 2016.


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