Margaret Atwood’s Voices and Representations

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Abstract

Atwood is, needless to say, one of the most acclaimed authorial voices of our time: Atwoodian critics unite in saying that Margaret Atwood offers an intriguing and compelling body of writing as well as a rich epitext. This study which explores her voice and its representations, leads us on a journey to question the very nature of “a voice” and its different meanings according to critics and poets. Atwood’s literary work (more than forty books – a dozen novels, numerous collections of poetry, children’s books, and countless essays) is attributed a unique voice-print. Atwood’s epitextual voice is also described as typically Atwoodian although it comprises a wide range of voices to be heard through many different media and occasions (public appearances, countless radio and television programs, many webpages, published articles and even documentaries, not to mention her transcribed voice in press articles or on blogs and web sites). Exposing “the voice that speaks” (in poetry or in fiction) and giving this voice-persona many guises are trademarks of Atwood’s poetic writing. From The Circle Game to The Door, Atwood plays with a range of images representing the poetic voice, giving the reader representations of an incarnated voice with unflattering “physical” characteristics. The present volume argues that these poetical representations are connected with the persona’s struggle in voicing her identity. Furthermore, while many critics highlight an interplay of voices in Atwood’s writing, Professor Evain stipulates that, beyond the vocal plurality, the reader distinctly hears the voice of a persona-soloist who sings out her particular truth. Lastly, this study questions the connections between Atwood’s poetic voices and representations, her works of poetry and fiction and, finally, her “autobiographics” and epitext.