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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: June 2012

Chapter 3 - Works

Summary

Atwood is the author of over thirty-five books, ranging from novels to poetry, short story collections, books of essays and books that defy easy classification (in lists on the inside of her books, Atwood tends to classify them under the wider category of ‘fiction’). Atwood is also the author of six children's books, from her first, Up in the Tree (1978) to Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda (2004) and her visual art and photography have been used in her own books as well as in books about her. Atwood welcomes the challenges of genre writing but always infuses those genres with a political slant that offsets the ‘conventions’ and boundaries that the genres initially suggest. Several images and ideas recur throughout her oeuvre, across genres; she experiments with a range of styles; and she challenges readers with her comic wit as well as her fierce intelligence. She is thus an author with a wide range of outputs that offer a number of avenues for exploration. In what follows I will aim to give an overview of her main outputs, exploring first her novels, then her short story collections, before finishing with her poetry. Her children's books are relatively unexplored critically and rarely feature on course syllabi; as a result, I have taken the decision to exclude them from sustained analysis here.

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