In 1981, Margaret Atwood questioned what a country is without its culture

In this video from the CBC Archives, Atwood shares an important piece of wisdom: 'It's the expression of the culture that lasts.'

'It's the expression of the culture that lasts'

In this video from the CBC Archives, Margaret Atwood talks about where culture meets country. 1:18

In 1981, beloved Canadian writer and activist Margaret Atwood sat down for a CBC interview with Russ Patrick to share her thoughts on the power of expression — and how the survival of a country is intimately connected to its culture.

"Well, what is a country?" she asks. "If you look back and think of Egypt, ancient Egypt, what do you think of? You don't think of who was the Prime Minister. You think of what they made. If you think of Britain in the 19th century, you probably don't know a lot about statistics on who had bathrooms — although that is interesting. You think of Charles Dickens and you think of George Eliot, do you not? It's what people made. It's the expression of the culture that lasts."

As we look ahead to next week's Canada Reads 2017, CBC Arts is digging through our archives to find a few gems and share a bit of wisdom from some of the nation's most treasured writers. Stay tuned for more this week!

For more throwbacks like this one, visit the CBC Digital Archives.


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