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Here's one that caught my eye this morning, from an interview in 1976. Found in Waltzing Again.
Q. (with regards to Surfacing). Were you trying to create a positive heroine, the way George Eliot did in Middlemarch?
Atwood: Is Dorothea so positive? Look where she ends up. What you have in Middlemarch is an idealistic young woman living in a society which will not permit her to be so. Saint Theresa achieved sainthood, but what happens to somebody in the nineteenth century who has similar impulses? So Dorothea ends up marrying this rather simpy young man.
The question is, why did George Eliot not write about a successful female writer? Why did she kill off Maggie Tulliver and marry off Dorothea? Perhaps Eliot was attempting to portray the fate of the average woman in her society---the average intelligent woman with no options. You could ask the same question of me. Why am I not writing about a successful female writer? Why isn't she a poet? Instead she's a rather mediocre illustrator of children's books. What point is that making about my society?
I think everybody should go out and get themselves a set of colored pencils and play with them. They will have fun. I think one thing about being an adult is that the role definition that we have made up for adults is that they have to be very serious and boring all the time. So, I think that if we expanded the role definition of adults to include more play---and I don't mean just golf --- probably people would be happier and would enough their stay on earth more than they do.
From Waltzing Again: New & Selected Conversations with Margaret Atwood, edited by Earl G. Ingersoll. Excerpted from a 1994 interview with Gabrielle Meltzer.
I'm off to play with my colored pencils, how about you?
The Literary Review of Canada published a list of the most important books in Canada, the LRC 100, and Margaret Atwood wrote the introduction. In it she comments on heavy criticism of her 1972 book Survival: a thematic guide to Canadian literature, and she predicts that the new list will be just as controversial. She challenges all Canadians to get reading and to argue over the List, to prove that Canada really exists as a nation, and has a history and literature worth arguing over. It's pretty funny.